Our Driver-Partners spend many hours on the road working hard. In 2020, the merit-based Ryde Study Awards, was conceived to give the high-performing children of our Driver-Partners recognition and support with their educational expenses. The mission of this award was to set out to look for talented individuals who are passionate about creating a sustainable future through technology. When RYDE first spoke to Vanessa, it was evident that she is indeed an outstanding individual who not only performs well in the aspects of her education but also in her external pursuits. At just the tender age of 14 (now turning 15), she left a lasting impression on us with her tenacity and maturity. Despite having strong competition, Vanessa was consistent throughout all the interviews. The Ryde Study Awards panel were impressed with Vanessa’s remarkable academic improvements over the last two years, scoring in the top 10% of her cohort the year 2019 and finishing 3rd in class in 2020. She received the Boon Soon Neo Academic Excellence Award 2020 (Gold). She also received the Edusave Scholarship Award 2019 and the Academic Achievement Award 2020. She shared that although she has a passion for history as a subject, she had still chosen to focus on her sciences as it would bring her a step closer to her dream career. It was her forward thinking mindset and perseverance that left us in awe. Vanessa values the importance of being selective with her time, balancing between being social and academic pursuits. As someone that motivates her peers and steps in as a mediator should conflict arise, she demonstrates a great deal of self-awareness. A problem-solver, Vanessa naturally takes the lead and derives satisfaction from a job well done. These are just some of the many qualities that makes her an excellent candidate for this award. Going beyond her regular academic curriculum, Vanessa’s also has a passion for sports activities that includes taekwondo and tennis. However, these activities have been put on a hold after sustaining a knee injury. Spurred by her sudden injury and the drive to improve the lives around her, Vanessa aspires to work in the medical field, specifically as a surgeon – specialising in the orthopaedic field. The healthcare workers who played a part in caring for her opened her eyes to the medical field, inspiring her to provide care for others. Her aspirations also stems from her desire to provide and support her family in the future. Vanessa’s departure from sports though incredibly challenging, allowed her to turn to music, using it as a coping mechanism during these difficult times. She even joined her school’s choir and enjoys her newfound passion outside of her studying hours. Apart from liking popular genres like Kpop, she also enjoys music genres like Classical and Jazz – citing Jacob Collier as one of her favourite artists! With all things considered, Vanessa is a well-spoken individual beyond her years. She possesses a great personality, an amazing attitude towards life, while still being a humble and down to earth being, well deserving of the award. When asked how she would use her winnings, she explained her intentions to use the cash award to help with finances at home and to keep the laptop for her studies as she acknowledges that the world is quickly moving into a predominantly digital-led age. Vanessa recognises how the development of technology has increased convenience and drastically improved the quality of our everyday lives. She has hopes to further reduce the invasiveness of surgery techniques such as keyhole surgeries, for Artificial Intelligence to aid the process of vaccine creation and surgeons to remotely perform surgeries through robots! Her belief that technology not only plays a big part in the present, but will continue to develop and be more ingrained in shaping our futures, is what made her a deserving recipient of this award. Her father, a Ryde driver, encouraged her to apply for the awards. When asked about how she felt about his job, she shared that it is a tough job that requires concentration for long periods of time and that she is very appreciative of his efforts, especially during these unprecedented times. She has also expressed thankfulness for her family’s shared support towards her during this entire journey of this award. We would like to end off by thanking Vanessa and her family for their involvement in participating in the Ryde Study Awards 2020, and Driver-Partners can look forward to applying (again) in the Ryde Study Awards 2021! Stay tuned for more information.