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UA Alumni - Yi Shee Gerald Teng

Gerald was the Asia Regional Winner in the Philosophy category in 2020.

Since he was awarded, he has worked as a volunteer tutor and is currently completing his Master's in Philosophy at Tuft's University.

What are you doing now and what has happened since you were awarded?

I am currently doing my Master’s in philosophy at Tufts University, and I am loving it! Before I started on my Master’s, I worked as a volunteer tutor, and also assisted in the production of a stop motion film (the film was a contemporary interpretation of an ancient Daoist legend— super cool!) Moving forward, I aim to pursue doctoral studies in philosophy.

Has receiving an award for your hard work helped? How?

Absolutely! The recognition gave me confidence in my ability to produce work that is insightful and interesting to professional philosophers. The award was also instrumentally beneficial for my career as an aspiring philosopher— I was empowered to present my commended essay at various conferences, and I even submitted a version of the essay as a writing sample in my applications for postgraduate studies last year.

What advice would you give current undergraduate students or recent graduates?

It is good to pursue research trends, but it is important to take the time to develop your own voice in your work. As one of my undergraduate professors taught me: valuable contributions often come from a protracted attempt to think against the grain.

Why should students submit their work?

I feel that one of the key barriers in the pursuit of recognition is imposter syndrome— many of aspiring academics suffer from an irrational belief that our work is not “good enough.”

Instead, why not let professionals in your field decide that for you? You really never know where your capabilities lie until you put your best work out there. Perhaps you might make a valuable contribution to the literature!

Ultimately, even if you don’t receive an award, I assure you that you would find this experience incredibly edifying.