Arts and Social Sciences student named 2020 Singapore Rhodes Scholar

Brendan speaking at an event organised by his non-profit organisation Advisory (Photo: Brendan Loon)

NUS Arts and Social Sciences final-year student Brendan Loon was recently named the 2020 Singapore Rhodes Scholar. With this scholarship, he will study a Doctor of Philosophy in English at Oxford University, matriculating in October 2020.

A Literature major, Brendan started studying in NUS in 2016 with a Public Service Commission Scholarship (Teaching Service), and will later join the Public Service Leadership Programme.

Passionate about education, in his free time he guides students with special educational needs like autism or attention deficit and hyperactivity. He teaches them English and Literature in English, with the aim of helping them enjoy and develop confidence in these subjects.

Self-directed learning

Brendan’s journey in literature began when he studied in Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary) on an Olson’s Scholarship where he read a triple science with English Literature subject combination at O Levels. This unconventional subject combination meant that he could not attend the timetabled English Literature classes, but through self-directed learning he still managed to achieve an A1 in the subject.

Upon graduating, he went on to Anglo-Chinese Junior college on a Ministry of Education Humanities Scholarship, and for his good work later became the Anglo-Chinese Schools Old Boy’s Association Gold Medal Awardee for his cohort.

Community service

Beyond his studies, Brendan is active in service to the community. He is the Co-Founder and Deputy President (External) of Advisory, a non-profit organisation that empowers Singapore’s youth to make informed decisions about their futures. He is also very involved in the Singapore Boys’ Brigade. As Captain of the largest company he mentors nearly 200 primary school boys annually, and serves as a Committee Member of both the Local Development and Juniors Programme Committees.

“I am humbled to receive the Rhodes Scholarship for Singapore for 2020, and am excited to steward this privilege in service of the causes of education and youth development, about which I've always been passionate,” said Brendan.

The Rhodes Scholarship is a prestigious international scholarship programme established at Oxford University since 1903 and aims to select creative young leaders with a commitment to serve others. Singapore resumed the conferment of one Singapore Rhodes Scholar per year from last year, after a 14-year hiatus.