From repairing computer games to working on satellite
NTU's Electrical And Electronic Engineering graduate gets a kick out of troubleshooting faulty equipment
In 1998, seven-year-old A Saravanan was interested in faulty computer games that could not be played on an old computer his father had bought.
He found out how they worked and started troubleshooting them when he was eight.
Mr Saravanan, now 25, spent many years tinkering with gadgets and, last Friday, graduated from Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Electrical And Electronic Engineering department as one of his cohort's valedictorians.
During his course of study, he also helped repair a faulty satellite sensor after being one of two Singaporean students selected to work with the US Air Force Academy.
LAUNCHED: The satellite was placed in a high-altitude balloon and launched over 100,000 feet into the air. PHOTO: SARAVANAN/ YOUTUBE
Mr Saravanan scored good grades last year, earning him the chance to represent NTU at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. This was part of a collaboration between the two schools.
He researched and worked on a code to repair a faulty sensor in a satellite that had been launched by the US Air Force Academy.
But the launch was delayed by two weeks because of bad weather and Mr Saravanan wondered if he would be in Colorado Springs long enough to witness the eventual launch.
Now a software engineering analyst with Accenture, he said: "It was uncertain whether we could launch it. At the very last minute, we had a 30-minute window to do it.
"It was a great thing. I'm so proud of myself."
HIGH-FLYER: A Facebook photo showing Mr A Saravanan at the launch of a satellite sensor at the US Air Force Academy. PHOTO: PHOTO: SARAVANAN/ YOUTUBE
The satellite was placed in a high-altitude balloon and launched over 100,000 feet into the air.
Mr Saravanan, whose passion is in computer engineering, had an early start in the world of programming.
In 1998, his father bought an old computer with a nine-in-one set of games. Some of the games were faulty and could not work.
Mr Saravanan said: "My older brother would play all the games that worked while I would try to fix the games that didn't work.
"I guess what was boring for other people was fun to me."
In 2011, Mr Saravanan graduated from Singapore Polytechnic with a diploma in computer engineering, achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA.
He chose NTU's Electrical and Electronic Engineering course because of its broad-based design.
He worked with NTU's Satellite Research Centre for his final-year project. The project, which is still being tested, determines whether a smartphone-based satellite can function in space.
NTU Professor Low Kay Soon, supervisor for Mr Saravanan's US Air Force Academy stint and project, said he was a good team player.
Prof Low said: "He is one of my top students.
"He is independent, self-disciplined and resourceful. He is also passionate about this."
But Mr Saravanan did more than just study.
He participated in an overseas community involvement project to Myanmar in 2014, where he installed lights and fans in classrooms.
Six months later, he organised a trip to Nepal with 16 other students to teach local children and to paint their classrooms.
The group even took a telescope to Nepal to teach the children astronomy.
Mr Saravanan said: "What's more important than the books is the complete experience.
"The trip taught us a lot about how fortunate we are here.
"I planned the Nepal trip to inspire NTU students to adopt families there and mentor the children rather than to just provide financial support."
On what he learnt while at NTU, Mr Saravanan said: "Do not follow other people's definition of success.
"Find what makes you proud and happy, and do that."
Do not follow other people's definition of success. Find what makes you proud and happy, and do that.
- Mr A Saravanan