Singaporean Faculty at US universities

November 13, 2005 at 2:05 pm 18 comments

This blog is still getting hits from readers who keyed in “Tracey Ho” (with “MIT” thrown in at times) on google and yahoo. If you don’t know what I am talking about, see this and this.

It has got me thinking. She is definitely not the first Singaporean to get an academic appointment in a US university, nor will she be the last to do so. So, the question now becomes: How many Singaporean (or someone with extensive Singaporean roots) faculty are there teaching/researching in the US?

I obviously do not have the answer, but just to start the ball rolling, I will put those I know in the list below; I encourage readers to submit addenums/ point out errors that you see and I will edit this post accordingly.

Why: Every year, a number of Singaporean students decide to head to the US for graduate studies. Encounters with peers at a certain local research institute applying to the US universities showed that while ‘hard’ information about the universities’ research (and the *USnews rankings*) is readily available online, ‘soft’ factors such as the local living conditions, congeniality among the various research groups in the school (an important factor that is most often overlooked by incoming grad students) are not easily forthcoming. So, in having this list, Singaporeans coming over here will have an additional resource in asking opinions about their fields of study and the school/city where they will spend the next 2 – 5 years of their graduate studies. What better advice than someone who shared your social/academic background and understand where you are coming from? They can also serve as some kind of model figure (*for those of you thinking of getting a faculty job here, ie quitters :P*)

This list is pathetic not exhaustive very short for now, and I look forward to expanding it.

List of current Singaporean faculty at US schools, broken down according to disciplines (Not exhaustive)

Linda Y.C. Lim – Professor of Corporate Strategy and International Business; Director of the Center for South East Asian Studies, University of Michigan (tip: L’oiseau rebelle)

Xuanming Su – Assistant Professor, Operations and Information Technology Management, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

Teck-Hua Ho – William Halford Jr. Family Professor of Marketing; Chair, Marketing Group; Acting Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, UC Berkeley

Mawder Foo – Associate Professor, Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado – Boulder

Chemical Engineering
Simon Ng – Professor and Co-Director of Alternative Energy Technology Program, Wayne State University

Jackie Ying* – Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT

Pauline Hope Cheong – Assistant Professor, SUNY – Buffalo

Bee-Yan Aw-Roberts – Professor of Economics, Penn State

Electrical Engineering
Changhuei Yang – Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering & BioEngineering, Caltech

Tracey Ho – Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Caltech

Shirley Geok-Lin Lim – Professor of English, UCSB

Jessie P. Poon – Professor, Director of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Study Center, SUNY – Buffalo

Melvin Leok – T. H. Hildebrandt Research Assistant Professor of Mathematics, University of Michigan

Chek Beng Chua – Combinatorics & Optimization, Department of Mathematics, University of Waterloo**

Boon Wee Ong – Lecturer, Penn State Erie, Behrend College

Mechanical Engineering
Kok-Meng Lee
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech

Chee Wei Wong – Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University

Plant Molecular Biology
Nam-Hai Chua – Andrew W. Mellon Professor, The Rockefeller University

Michael Goh – Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota


*Taiwanese, but did her secondary education in Singapore. Concurrent Executive Director of IBN.

**Canadian institution


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Hooked on WB’s Related Backdoor entry to the Ivies (sort of); dual MBA – MS/PhD degrees

18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. L'oiseau rebelle  |  November 13, 2005 at 5:20 pm

    There’s also Dr Linda Lim, University of Michigan business school.

    There’s another physics guy I heard about, but I can’t remember his name and location. If I find it I’ll post it here.

  • 2. Angeline  |  November 14, 2005 at 11:22 am

    No one in the arts faculty (econs doesn’t count as hardcore arts)? is it telling or what. That

    1) few singaporeans venture into arts;

    2) even fewer singaporeans doing grad studies in arts;

    3) singaporeans are not on par in the academic arts circle;

    4) the arts grads in singapore are disinterested;

    5) most likely reason: singapore provides neither the sponsorship monies nor nurturing opportunity and environment to blast an arts grad into the US universities and to make “big”

    i’ll be glad to see the list expanding to include those researching and teaching the arts ie literature and philosophy.

  • 3. chainsawieldinun  |  November 15, 2005 at 2:33 pm

    big holla to angeline – i’m not quite professor material for a while yet, but yes, i am pursuing grad studies in the humanities in the Midwest. i’m not sure if we are “not on par” though, it’s hard to see how numerical scarcity translates to inferiority. or maybe it’s just me drawing tangential inferences.

    FOCUS: there is a ed psych guy at UMN by the name of Michael Goh. i *did* hear about a dude floating about carlson, but that is unverified, so. 🙂

  • 4. Angeline  |  November 15, 2005 at 5:53 pm

    Don’t read me wrong, as an arts grad myself in/from Singapore, I’ve always been annoyed by its constant show of strong, strong endorsement for sciences and mathematics through the many campaigns, sponsorships and competitions that nurture people who have an edge in the hardcore subjects here. Arts always seemed relegated to the sidelines and thus, “inferior” (if at all) in that sense, even though we are obviously, superior beings 🙂

    With this external lack of public and governmental support (contributing largely to numerical scarcity in my opinion), I am always pleased, and very, very proud of any Singaporean who ventures into the local and international arts academia/circles and rises into a respectable position. It’s not an easy process. At all. chainsawieldinun, I salute you!

    Apologies to maths and science junkies/academics, but you really had it easier in Singapore.

  • 5. chainsawieldinun  |  November 16, 2005 at 12:30 pm

    I remember now: Shirley Geok-lin Lim, English, UCSB. although: she has always been treading the singapore / m’sian line, i’m not quite sure where she *really* is from now. hee.

  • 6. chainsawieldinun  |  November 16, 2005 at 12:37 pm

    ackchwerly takchek… no need to uh, cite me lah. i very the shy one — got a shock when i logged on statcounter this morning. 😛 would you be as kind as to remove my 大名, thanks. 😀

  • 7. Kevin  |  November 16, 2005 at 11:48 pm

    Hello takchek, great idea compiling a list of fellow Singaporeans teaching in US instituitions.

    There are two Singaporean faculty members at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) where I study.

    Dr. Pauline Cheong
    Communication department

    Jessie Poon
    Department of Geography

  • 8. Blain  |  November 17, 2005 at 11:23 pm

    ah sorry this is out of point, but i’m headed to chicago! yourself?

  • 9. Melvin Leok  |  December 18, 2005 at 1:41 am

    Other Singaporean faculty at institutions in North America include:

    1. Wong Chee Wei
    Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University

    2. Chek Beng Chua
    Combinatorics and Optimization, University of Waterloo

    Chee Wei was a former International Fellow, before the scholarship board in question decided to discontinue the bond-free version of the fellowship.

    Chek Beng received a SIAM student paper prize the same year I did.

  • 10. Melvin Leok  |  December 18, 2005 at 1:50 am

    Interestingly, with regards to international fellowships, in addition to Chee Wei, Yang Changhuei (currently at Caltech), and I also received this, presumably in the bond-free version.

    Perhaps it’s because of the relatively small number of the international fellows who decided to work in the research institutes that prompted the change in policy with regards to international fellowships.

  • 11. Anonymous  |  December 21, 2005 at 10:26 pm

    Here’s two more to add to the list:
    Su Xuanming
    Amos Ong

  • 12. Heavenly Sword  |  December 27, 2005 at 7:16 am

    Hi Takchek, Prof Chia is a management studies guru.


  • 13. thecrazzybugger  |  March 19, 2006 at 9:46 am

    i suppose its too late now but theres

    prof. chua nam-hai
    at rockefeller university

    a big shot in the plant field

  • 14. Anonymous  |  June 8, 2006 at 8:15 am

    Knew xuanming’s brother…heard some interesting things about him, hehehe.

  • 15. Jay  |  June 6, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    I believe Christina (Hiu Yeung) Fang, who graduated from Wharton is from Singapore. She current teaches at NYU Stern.

    She did not list her undergraduate affliations but I think should be either NTU or NUS

  • 16. Jay  |  June 6, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    oh, chrsitina’s URL is

  • 17. Jay  |  June 6, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    there’s also Leonard Lee

    I first heard about him from a marketing prof at INSEAD.

  • 18. Jay  |  June 6, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Rahul Kapoor from INSEAD is on the academic job market this year

    He might get a tenure-track job in USA so you might want to keep track.


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