Very best of UKZN’s best

2013-09-09 00:00

SETTING goals, living a balanced lifestyle and a drive for excellence, has paid dividends for Durban resident Ridwaan Amod (22), who was acknowledged as the top student among 28 000 undergaduates at the University of KwaZulu-Natal last week.

Having studied for a B.Sc. in electronic engineering, Amod received two of the highest awards — the Lawrence and Constance Robinson Scholarship, which is awarded to the best single undergraduate in the entire university, and the Townley Williams Scholarship, awarded to the best student entering the final year of study. He entered the university in 2010.

A former pupil of Al Falaah College in Cato Manor, Amod received an entrant merit scholarship, awarded to all new undergraduate students who score six As in the matric examination. This he did, and ended up the third best matriculant in KwaZulu-Natal in 2009. Amod’s results throughout his undergraduate years averaged above 90%.

Amod said in a written reply to questions yesterday the secret to success is goal-setting, a balanced lifestyle and having the confidence to achieve excellence. He said he was grateful for the award and for the opportunity to embark on a journey that will not just groom him as an engineer, but as a person as well.

The top student in KZN in 2009, he has been recognised by the university for his exceptional academic talent since 2010.

He and over 70 other top students were honoured at a special ceremony held last week at the university.

Deputy vice-chancellor for teaching and learning Professor Renuka Vithal, said Amod’s exceptional performance proves anything is achievable.

“Ridwaan attained certificates of merit for 41 of the 42 modules he has taken, was top of the class for 36 of these modules, scoring 100% in two modules; and was awarded Dean’s commendations in every semester since he has been registered; this is a phenomenal and rare achievement that makes him one of the very best students at UKZN,” said Professor Vithal.

• TheuUniversity also recognised Basheerah Mohamed, a summa cum laude student majoring with a BA Honours in community development, and Lukhona Afika Mnguni, a cum laude student in BA Honours in social science, through the Distinguished Students Award, which is a unique scholarship that rewards students who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in engaging with communities.

• Twenty special prestige equity scholarships, named for activist Frene Ginwala, were awarded to the top black African female undergraduates.

Professor Vithal said it was “heartwarming” that some of the recipients come from less fortunate backgrounds.

• Another scholarship that acknowledges and encourages top-performing female students is the Emma Smith overseas scholarship, a substantial complete scholarship provided by the family of C.G. Smith.

This year’s recipient, Rachel Morrow (22), has been awarded the opportunity to study towards a masters degree in global governance and diplomacy at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Morrow, graduating with a bachelor of social science degree in politics and economics and an honours degree in B.Com. economics, said she feels particularly blessed as she acknowledges that scholarships are difficult to attain.

“I’ve applied for many and can never be sure of the outcome, the calibre of students is extremely high, the competition is fierce and the differences between results and achievements are marginal,” said Morrow.

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