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 fitz.cam.ac.uk.
“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.”
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 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.”