Mumbai scholar named Student of the Year
The University of Birmingham has named Pranay Shah as Indian Student of the Year. Pranay received this prestigious award shortly after graduating with a Masters in Biochemistry from the institution.
Pranay, from Mumbai, India, initially joined the University on a three-year Biochemistry course in 2009, but his tutor encouraged him to upgrade to the flexible undergraduate Masters degree course (MSci). Pranay said that this extra year of study helped him be more independent and gain more lab-based experience.
Away from his academic studies, Pranay carried out many voluntary activities, including a role as a Peer-Assisted Study Session (PASS) leader for his department, the School of Biosciences. PASS is a peer support scheme where higher-year students, who have already passed the year or module that the scheme supports, lead study sessions for lower-year students. These informal, relaxed and active sessions help students to understand their subject better and improve their approach to learning.
Pranay was part of the University’s Bharat Parivaar (Indian Family) society and in his spare time he enjoyed playing football, reading and cooking. Pranay also worked as a Student Ambassador whilst at Birmingham, showcasing the University’s campus to visitors and prospective students during open days. As well as this, he was a Mentor Welcome Team Member, helping new students settle in to life at university, and worked for Cleaning Services.
The award comes in the same month that Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea has been installed as the University’s seventh Chancellor. The India-born founder of Cobra Beer was installed during an official ceremony held at the University on Thursday 17 July. Lord Bilimoria is the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in England. Pranay received his award in front of esteemed guests at Lord Bilimoria’s installation, at which members of his family were present, including his mother, who had travelled from India for the occasion.
Pranay was born in Mumbai, India in 1992 to a Gujrati family. Prior to his university studies Pranay completed his GCSEs at Utpal Shanghvi School and his AS and A-Levels at Prabhavati Padamshi Soni International Junior College, both in Mumbai. After securing a 2:1 with Honours in his MSci at Birmingham, Pranay plans to remain in the UK and look for a job that will help him further develop his skills.
On receiving the award, Pranay Shah said: “Winning the Indian Student of the Year award is a remarkable feeling. It was a complete surprise for me; my heart skipped a beat when I was told I had won. This award means a lot to me because this will help me gain confidence and get me on to the employment ladder.
“This award belongs not only to me but it goes out to my entire family who prayed and worked so hard for me to get me to this stage where I am. My family has been very supportive and always encouraged and motivated me to do well. My family are my pillar of strength and did their best to ensure I had a good start in life. I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful family.
“I chose the University of Birmingham because it is an internationally renowned institution with a vibrant and global community, as well as always being at the forefront of research that benefits everyone worldwide. Furthermore, the opportunities offered at the University of Birmingham provide a broad range of learning experiences and encourage students to take a lead in their studies. They also help in honing your skills to perfection by providing many opportunities in terms of part-time work, internships, summer placements and voluntary activities. Being an international student I always thought that it is important to get support from your university and I was amazed by the amount of support I would receive from this University when I first visited with my uncle and aunt. At that time, I was sure that University of Birmingham was the right choice for me.”
Professor Steve Busby was Pranay’s tutor throughout his time as a student at Birmingham and nominated him for his award. He said:
“I am absolutely delighted that Pranay has been awarded Indian Student of the Year. As well as being a very talented student who always went the extra mile with his studies, Pranay was always polite, reliable and would often help out during open days.
“Within my tutorial group he would always offer positive contributions, pushing the boundaries of his own knowledge and of his fellow students. It was as his tutor that I got to know Pranay over four years and saw his skills as a biochemist develop throughout. I am sure that now, with both his degree and award, he will go out in to the world and do extremely well.”
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• Previous Chancellors of the University of Birmingham include: The Rt Hon Joseph Chamberlain, 1900-1914; The Rt Hon Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, 1918 -1944; The Rt Hon Anthony Eden, the Earl of Avon, 1945-1973; Sir Peter Scott, 1973-1983; Sir Alex Jarratt, 1983-2002; and Sir Dominic Cadbury, 2002-2013.
• The formal responsibilities of the Chancellor are set out in the University’s Legislation. They chair the Annual Meeting of the University Court, preside at Degree Congregations and confers degrees of the University.
• The University of Birmingham has been named The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year 2013/4.
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