Dentist who raised a smile among students honoured by University
A kind-hearted student who has dedicated his time at university to enriching the lives of others is being honoured by the University of Sheffield.
Kieran Bhakta, who is graduating from the University’s School of Clinical Dentistry today (20 July 2015), is being awarded the prestigious Chancellor’s Medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to his school, the University and communities throughout Sheffield.
Since starting his studies back in 2010, Kieran has played an important role in promoting activities which encourage his fellow students to make the most of their time at University – supporting them towards a career in dentistry while also using his expertise to raise awareness of mouth cancer.
As President of the Sheffield University Dental Students’ Society (SUDSS), he has overseen the establishment of ‘dental families’ which provide help and support to first year students to help them settle into life at university. He also played a key role at Dental School Open Days helping to attract hundreds of talented students from across the UK and overseas, who are now training to become the next generation of world class dentistry professionals.
Under Kieran’s direction, SUDSS adopted the Ben Walton Trust as its chosen charity and he led and organised a series of events in Sheffield to raise awareness of mouth cancer. This included taking the society onto the streets of the city centre to highlight the symptoms of the disease to the people of Sheffield – an initiative which also raised over £300 for the trust.
Kieran, who will be awarded the medal at his graduation ceremony today said: “I was in complete shock when I found out I had been awarded the Chancellor’s Medal, I had to read the letter twice to double check!
“It’s such an honour to receive such a prestigious award from such an amazing university which is voted number one for student experience. This is a testament to that; I have thoroughly enjoyed my five years here where there is just so much to get involved in and it is thanks to everyone I have worked with at the University, Students' Union and School of Clinical Dentistry, both staff and students.”
Professor Paul Speight, Dean of the University of Sheffield’s School of Clinical Dentistry, said: “Kieran's exceptional contribution is a fine example of why the Dental School is so proud of its students. Not only has he led the students’ society to great successes, he has also contributed to the life of the University and to his local community.
“In the School, he has been a model student and has worked hard to enhance the role of the student body in helping us develop excellence in teaching. All staff in the School congratulate Kieran and thank him for his outstanding contributions to the School.”
Kieran added: “I've always loved organising and getting involved, particularly with the dental society which I believe enhances our students' university experience tremendously, not only relating to academic studies but also with our own personal development and employability.
“We have one of the best dental schools in the UK with great support from staff and students and I was inspired by this to become President, to bring the society to new heights with more events and opportunities for everyone at the dental school to get involved in.
“One aspect close to my heart is charity and volunteering which the society is very much involved in. I think it's important to support others, whether that is raising awareness of mouth cancer through public information stands or helping future dental students to pursue their aspirations in higher education, whilst providing help and advice to them along the way.”
The Chancellor’s Medal was founded by the University’s sixth Chancellor, Lord Dainton of Hallam Moors, who held office from 1978-1997, and is awarded to a final year student or recent graduate who has achieved outstanding attainment in academic, sporting or personal achievements. Previous winners of the award include Olympic gold medal-winning athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill and Jahaan Abdurahman, a recent graduate from the University who has improved the lives of people from across the world through her exceptional voluntary work.
Kieran has also supported the University’s Access to Dental Occupation: Practice and Tutoring scheme (ADOPT) which is working to reduce inequalities in access to higher education in dentistry. This included mentoring aspiring dental students, working as an ambassador, and helping students and their parents who are involved in the scheme.
Alongside his other activities, Kieran was appointed President of Sheffield Students’ Union’s Hindu Society in 2011, during which he coordinated all aspects of the society’s activities including festivals, sports and events. During his presidency, the society also won the ‘Best Faith Society’ award and also finished in the top four of the 300 societies at the Students’ Union.
The University of Sheffield
With almost 26,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
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In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
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