31 August 2015 Volume :3 Issue :40

Dreams Really Come True for Cecil Renaud Overseas Scholarship Recipient

Dreams Really Come True for Cecil Renaud Overseas Scholarship Recipient
Ms Kalina Naidoo with the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research, Professor Jonathan Blackledge.

It’s an exciting year ahead for Ms Kalina Naidoo, recipient of the prestigious Cecil Renaud Overseas Scholarship, who will study towards her Masters degree in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford in England.

The 23-year-old from Chatsworth has proven herself as a high-achiever at UKZN where she completed both her undergraduate and Honours Medical Science degrees cum laude.

‘Neuroscience has always been an area of complete fascination for me as the workings of the mind are still veiled in the unknown. I am very eager to be a part of the generation of researchers which pulls back that veil a little further,’ said Naidoo.

‘In my opinion, neurological pathologies represent the most debilitating disorders, where one’s memory, cognition and identity are stolen - it is my life’s ambition to help fight against these cruel diseases.’

Naidoo said her anxiety quickly turned to excitement and gratitude towards the Cecil Renaud Trust when she heard her dreams of studying abroad would suddenly become a reality.

‘It’s one thing to have dreams I suppose but it’s quite another thing when they become reality!

‘I have never been abroad to study or for personal vacation, hence this opportunity is all the more fruitful as it will be an adventure.’

Naidoo has received funding to study for a year in the UK. She has applied to a few universities and is awaiting feedback. ‘I have applied to Oxford University, and will also be applying to Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh,’ she said.

Nadoo said everyone around her had been incredibly supportive - ‘and by everyone I mean everyone, from neighbours to distant relatives to my immediate family.

‘My grandmother used to relay this one quote to me: matha pitha guru deivam, which is a popular adage in Sanskrit meaning Mother Father Teacher God. This is the order that reverence should be offered in one’s life, and I have always remembered this. This would have been entirely impossible without my parents, who instilled the confidence to dream big.’

Naidoo also said she was grateful to her supervisor, the Dean and Head of the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, Professor William Daniels, as well as Dr Duran Ramsuran. ‘Both have spent such time and energy in ensuring my junior years in research had a great foundation.’

Naidoo is passionate about academia and said UKZN was her institution of choice. After completing her studies aboard she intends to return to South Africa and spread the knowledge she will have garnered in practical research as well as in the lecture room.

Naidoo is the events coordinator for the College of Health Science initiative, Women in Leadership and Leverage, and she was on the winning team for the College’s general knowledge quiz of 2014.

Lunga Memela

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