Working in a cancer research laboratory in Switzerland was one of the advantages of studying at The University of Queensland for Akash Boda.
The international student from India, who lives at Chermside, will graduate on Thursday 18 July with a Bachelor of Biotechnology with honours, and with the honour of being the first recipient of a UQ Advantage Award.
The UQ Advantage Award recognises student involvement in different activities outside of their academic commitments, a key part of the university experience.
“Academic studies are important, but it’s also necessary to make the most of the undergraduate years of university life and become involved in all the facets of professional, personal and academic development,” Akash said.
The UQ Advantage program opens the door to leadership and overseas opportunities. It is available to undergraduate students and combines participation in a variety of co-curricular activities with a tailored symposium series designed to recognise experiences beyond the classroom.
One of the activities that counted towards Akash’s award was an eight-week internship in a skin cancer laboratory at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
He was the only student selected to represent the Oceania region for the Summer Undergraduate Research Program in 2012.
“Apart from the cancer research that I’m fascinated about, meeting new people from all over the globe was a fantastic experience and a good networking opportunity,” Akash said.
“Interacting with people from around the world shapes your personality by broadening your cultural, social and scientific outlook.”
As well as experiencing an overseas internship, Akash also attended the UQ Advantage Award Symposium on Global Citizenship.
“I believe we are moving towards a highly interdependent world through cooperation and collaboration among people and states, and towards a society of unified diversity, with increasing exchange of cultures, traditions and languages,” he said.
Dr Jessica Gallagher, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Education, said the UQ Advantage Award program was launched in mid-2012 to ensure students could derive as much benefit as possible from UQ’s extensive global networks, research opportunities and alumni and industry connections.
“For many students, some of the most formative university experiences occur outside of the lecture theatres,” Dr Gallagher said.
“This program provides a platform for students to follow their ambitions, and participate in activities which complement their academic studies, and can significantly enhance their employability post-graduation.”
Akash also served the UQ community as a Thrive@UQ Student Leader, an e-mentoring program in which leaders assist first-year students with the transition to university life.
He also volunteered as a Science Mentor for the Faculty of Science, a program that aims to engage undergraduate science students in academic and social activities.
He joins more than 4000 students who are graduating from UQ this week, 100 years after the university graduated its first five students.
For more on the UQ Advantage Award Program, click here.
Media: Georgia Mitchell, Student Engagement Officer, 3346 0626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.