With your help, we’ve managed to whittle down the number of applicants for Graduate of the Year from over 1,000 to the final six, one each from Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia and the UK. These candidates are still in with a chance of winning the title of Graduate of the Year, along with a cash prize, a top internship and more. The winner will be announced next Monday, the 15th of September. Read all about our global finalists below!
Name: Renato Tadeu Rodrigues
University: The Faculties of Campinas (FACAMP), Brazil
Proudest Achievement: Alongside the academic commitments of his degree, Renato spent much of his time at university engaged in entrepreneurial projects. He developed a way of improving the delivery of food at the university, jointly reducing the usage of plastic bags and benefiting local producers, communities and the environment. Inspired by a passion for technology and the start up world, Renato also worked tirelessly to promote student engagement in innovative technology projects by building connections between universities and businesses.
Name: Thomas Laszczynski
University: Pantheon-Sorbonne University, France
Proudest Achievement: Thomas graduated in Business Economics and Management at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University in 2014, at the top of his year. He has now been accepted to do a Masters in Finance at Paris Dauphine University this year. Thomas is a natural entrepreneur: as a child, he began to earn money by selling coins and celebrity autographs on eBay and started his first company at the age of 16. Heavily involved in student politics, he founded his own association within the university and was a member of the central council of La Sorbonne to defend the student cause. He was also a member of the Paris Council of Youth until June 2013 and appeared on a France 4 documentary about entrepreneurship. Thomas is also a real globetrotter, who enjoys traveling off the beaten track and has visited North Korea twice, as well as South Korea and Iran.
Name: Kirsten Romme
University: VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Proudest Achievement: Growing up in a small town in the south of the Netherlands hasn’t stopped Kirsten from completing her MSc in Business Administration with honours at a top Amsterdam university this year. And she hasn’t wasted the scarce free time that was left either: in addition to her studies, she has completed an Honours program, participated in numerous student committees, worked as a research assistant and travelled across South America. Regretfully, she couldn’t quite find the time to learn how to tap dance just yet. Kirsten’s dream is to work as a management consultant for a Big Four firm. Always one to look to the future, Kirsten informs us that working as a dog walker in New York City and swimming in a pool of spaghetti are both near the top of her bucket list. After winning the Graduate of the Year competition, that is.
Name: Teresa Domaszewska
Name of university: Wrocław University of Technology, Poland
Proudest Achievement: Teresa studied Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and finished the Masters programme with a distinction for her dissertation. Teresa’s academic portfolio is very impressive: she completed internships, participated in research studies (the results of which she presented at conferences), took part in in Stem Cells Summer School and Winter School of Immunology and learned about various biotechnological companies’ projects in Europe. The pinnacle of her experience in the scientific field was a year-long internship at the University of Virginia, USA during her Masters studies. There, Teresa worked on the development of new drug options for treating dengue fever, as well as influenza. In September she is starting her PhD, in which she will be working on the drug-resistant tuberculosis mycobacterium which plagues Third World countries and keeps on returning to Europe. Outside academia, Teresa has also been very involved in her local community: volunteering with the Wrocław Philharmonic and organising charitable collections on behalf of the Kairos Foundation.
Name: Ekaterina Mavrina
University: National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Russia
Proudest Achievement: Proudest achievement: Ekaterina has entered the competition while studying at the University of A Coruña’s International Summer School where she is taking a Multivariate Statistical Analysis course. Some might say that it is a rather unusual way to spend summer but for Ekaterina constant self-development and following a dream has become a way of life. A couple of years ago she got inspired by fellow students who enrolled into international exchange programmes despite of being afraid of cultural differences & language barriers. A year later she secured a placement at the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain to broaden her knowledge in International Economics. Ekaterina believes that a dream job should be interesting, dynamic and bring value to the society, while constantly forcing to use your abilities and develop new skills. Finding this type of job might prove challenging for a graduate in Nizhny Novgorod, especially when you hold a degree with merit from a top tier research university, speak English, Russian and Spanish fluently and have a number of successful projects in your portfolio. Graduate of the Year competition is a stepping stone for Ekaterina towards getting her dream job!
Name: Hannah Donkin
University: University of Sheffield, UK
Category: Creative Arts
Proudest achievement: Known affectionately as ‘Donk’, Hannah was recently awarded a first class honours degree in music as well as the BMus prize for highest overall mark and a Pro Vice Chancellor’s commendation. She also received the Philip John Lord prize for best composition portfolio. Whilst studying for her degree, Hannah fundraised over £4,000 and undertook expeditions to Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro for a children’s charity as well as volunteering as a team leader in which she recruited and managed a team that raised a further £32,000. Hannah was also Secretary of the Music Society and worked part time as a piano teacher, in addition to regular performances as a soloist, an accompanist and with various University ensembles.