Alltech Young Scientist - WaiFun Leong - Kentucky Here I Come!

May 17

It was a sunny day in September 2009. I stumbled across a poster that read "Alltech Young Scientist Competition" while on my way to the laboratory. It was another long day of sample analysis in my co-supervisor's laboratory. While waiting for the gas chromatography analysis results, I turned on my laptop and typed in the website address stated on the poster. Something caught my eye on the website.

"Register for the Young Scientist Competition Now and you stand a chance to win a USD 100 in our monthly lucky draw."

Wow - that is a good deal. Immediately I registered myself. Nothing happened for a couple of months. I should have known that luck was never on my side. Anyway, I continue to work hard for my PhD project and I sent in my paper for the competition. Nothing happened for many months. Well, that's life. I thought to myself.

On 19 May 2010, I received an email with the subject "Congratulation, you are the 3rd place national graduate winner of the Alltech Young Scientist Award". I walked away with USD 250, a medal, a certificate of recognition, self confidence and all the positive energy that money can't buy. I had also received an email from Inge, the Scientific Director Alltech Young Scientist Competition, congratulating me on winning the award. She gave me very positive feedback for my work and encouraged me to enter the competition again in the future. "I am glad that my work was appreciated, but I'll be graduating very soon." I replied. Inge wrote back to me saying: "As long as you submit before you graduate you will be able to compete in the next competition." Its good to submit early anyway as you have more chances to win the monthly prize drawing especially in the first few months when there are fewer names in the draw."

I had all the reasons to enter the competition again, therefore I registered myself again. I never want to believe that I am unlucky, but, again, I got nothing from the lucky draw. Instead, I walked away with USD 1000 for winning the first place in the Asia Pacific Graduate category, and a trip to Lexington, Kentucky, USA for the Alltech Young Scientist global competition. I am busy preparing my presentation for the global round and I am indeed very excited about the trip. Oh Kentucky, Here I Come!!



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