Sagithjan Surendra is ‘Student of the Year’.

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Sagithjan Surendra is presented with his Student of the Year award. Photo (from left): Uwe Scheer from Student Services Erlangen, Sagithjan Surendra, Prof. Max-Emanuel Geis Chairman of the Bavarian branch of the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers. (Image: FAU/Erich Malter)

Prize-giving ceremony in the Orangerie

Sagithjan Surendra, who is studying molecular medicine at FAU, has been awarded the title ‘Student of the Year’ by the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (Deutscher Hochschulverband) and the German National Association for Student Affairs (Deutsches Studentenwerk) for establishing the ‘Aelius Förderwerk’. The formal prize-giving ceremony planned for April had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The award has now been presented instead in a smaller and more personal ceremony in the Orangerie. The value of the prize awarded to the winner is 5000 euros.

The organisation supports young people in pursuing their academic career irrespective of their background or social and financial situation of their parents. Within a very short period of time, a wide range of professional development seminars, workshops and advisory services have been made available. One special element aimed at promoting personal development is the mentoring programme ‘Dialog Chancen’ (dialogue and opportunity). In this programme, school pupils can benefit from individual coaching provided by a mentor from a political, cultural or academic background.

By offering this support tailored to the needs of children and young people from disadvantaged families, Surendra and his team are making a significant contribution to fair educational opportunities in Germany, where a child’s social background still has a more decisive impact on their academic success than in other countries.

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