South Thames College Student Reaches National Final of Achievement Awards

Shani Fernando from the Merton campus acknowledged for outstanding achievements

Shani is studying an Electrical Engineering qualification at South Thames College and is one of three students to be short listed for the final of the Association of Colleges’ Student of the Year Award 2010. Sri Lankan-born Shani has battled with a heart deficiency called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) for most of her life, and was initially given a life expectancy of only four years.

Now aged 20, Shani is a model student, literally, modelling for charity in her free time as well as achieving distinctions on her college course. Shani’s lifelong battle with her condition has not stopped her from doing the things that she has wanted and she hopes to study a challenging Aeronautical Engineering degree after completing her Engineering course. She said
“I want to study aeronautical engineering because it’s a unique career path and I know it is going to open up a lot of doors for me. Most cars use aerodynamics nowadays and I want to be the one who designs them.”

The winner and runners-up will be announced at the AoC Annual Conference and Exhibition in Birmingham on 17 November when all three finalists will be presented with their prizes by John Bingham, Chair of the AoC Board.

Shani said of the nomination “I feel overwhelmed. I’m happy I have been short listed for this award and it’s good that all my hard work has paid off.”

South Thames College Principal Sue Rimmer said
“Shani was nominated for the prestigious AOC student of the year award because she has shone throughout her time at South Thames College. She has achieved outstanding grades in the face of adversity and has succeeded in all that she has done despite battling illnesses. We are delighted that Shani has been shortlisted for this award and we are extremely proud of her achievements.”

The competition, now in its fourth year, aims to highlight outstanding student achievement, often in adversity, while celebrating the amazing success stories so common to the sector. 

October 29, 2010