Elif Karanis
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Elif nominated for Rising Star award

Fitzwilliam College student Elif Karanis has been shortlisted for a Rising Star award for her charity work.

The Directory of Social Change Awards are designed to celebrate the passionate individuals and effective organisations committed to make a positive impact on society.

Elif (MML 2019) has been shortlisted for her work with World-Class Schools. The awards ceremony takes place on Wednesday 22 January at the House of Lords.

“I didn’t know I was nominated until I made it to the finals - I was quite shocked,” Elif tells

“To think someone saw an award like that and that they wanted to nominate me, that’s lovely.

“Everything I’m doing is because I like doing it and it’s good for me. For someone to recognise that is really rewarding. I feel quite proud.”

Elif is one of two in contention for the award, with public voting closing at 5pm on Monday 2 December (vote here)

The first-year undergraduate says: “It’s quite fun – like Eurovision or something!

“To get that far, all these nominations, and to be in the final two, is quite a big thing.”

Elif was nominated by Fitz alumna Miranda Perry (English 1987), who is co-director of World-Class Schools, which awards a quality mark – above the Ofstead ‘outstanding’ label – to non-selective state schools that offer the best education to young people in the UK.

The assessment is student-led, and Elif led the process for her school, Chelsea Academy, in Year 10.

Following written, photographic and video submissions, Elif took part in an assessment day at a primary school which featured an unexpected task designed to test students’ collaboration, project managing and social skills – she had to dig a pond.

She adds: “The assessment day was quite fun – a physical task tested us in all ways. We didn’t expect it and had to work at it.

“I like to seize every opportunity. I enjoyed it and I progressed through.”

After passing the assessment, Elif then trained as an assessor, before becoming a lead qualified assessor and then she set up the alumni association, of which she is inaugural chair.

Elif Karanis


Elif choosing Fitzwilliam is also, in part, thanks to her work with World-Class Schools. 

“I always wanted to apply to a central, traditional, pretty college,” Elif adds.

“Miranda heard I wanted to apply to Cambridge, and she told me she went to Fitzwilliam and loved it.

“For me the community is really important and I wanted a community I was going to enjoy being in and the rest wasn’t my priority.

“She brought me and my friends from World-Class Schools to visit Fitzwilliam and I really, really liked it. You could sense there was this community and I really wanted to be a part of it.”

Asked if the experience has met expectations, Elif adds: “It’s so good. I couldn’t have thought of a better college.”

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