Chancellor's Medal winner announced
The winner of the Chancellor’s Medal 2015 is Kieran Bhakta from the School of Clinical Dentistry.
The Medal is being awarded to Kieran in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the School of Clinical Dentistry, to the University of Sheffield and to the wider community of Sheffield in promoting widening participation, supporting others towards a career in Dentistry and raising awareness of mouth cancer.
Kieran was the President of the Sheffield University Dental Students’ Society (SUDSS) for the academic year 2013-14. SUDSS play an important role in establishing dental families for first year students at the start of their course, providing them with help and support. As President, Kieran has played a key role at Dental School Open Days and society events and went on to represent the University of Sheffield at Tongji University Summer School, Shanghai. SUDSS also went on to win ‘Society of the Year’, out of over 300 societies from the Students’ Union Activities Award, as well as ‘Best Departmental Society’ at the Annual Academic Awards.
During Kieran's year as Society President for SUDSS, the society were successful in a bid for Sheffield to host the annual British Dental Students’ Association (BDSA) Conference in 2014. Over 500 dental students from around the UK attended the three day conference, with Kieran playing a key role on the Organising Committee as SUDSS representative and Social Secretary. At the Students’ Union Activities Award 2014, SUDSS went on to win ‘Best Event of the Year’ at the University.
Under Kieran’s direction, SUDSS adopted the Ben Walton Trust as its chosen charity and he led and organised a series of events and lectures in Sheffield for Mouth Cancer Awareness Week 10-16 November 2013. This included a daily information stand in the Students’ Union and, on Saturday 16 November, a public information stall in Sheffield City Centre to raise awareness of the symptoms of mouth cancer. The stand also succeeding in raising over £300 for the Trust. As a result of this promotional exercise, Kieran and his team were awarded the national Ben Walton Trust Award 2014, for distinguished and effective work during mouth cancer awareness week.
Kieran's has been actively involved in projects that aim to reduce inequalities in access to Higher Education and Dentistry as a subject. His support over the past four years of the Access to Dental Occupation: Practice and Tutoring (ADOPT) scheme and associated Schools’ Outreach activities has been particularly recognised. As an Ambassador, he has helped to raise the aspirations of young people to inform them about Higher Education, University life and dentistry as a career. In addition to this, Kieran has mentored four aspiring dental students through the e-Mentoring Scheme between 2011-2014.
Alongside his other activities, Kieran was appointed President of Sheffield’s Hindu Society in 2011, coordinating all aspects including festivals, sports and events. During his Presidency, the Society won the Best Faith Society award and also finished in the top four out of the 300 societies at the Students’ Union. The following year, in the role of Treasurer, Kieran helped the society to clear a debt of £2000 in 12 months, winning the Best Faith Society award for the second consecutive year.
In his role as University of Sheffield Students’ Union Academic and Departmental Liaison, he received an Individual Outstanding Contribution Award for his management and support, acting as the voice of societies within the Students’ Union.
Kieran also demonstrated his outstanding contribution and commitment in the following roles: BDS Bachelor of Dental Surgery Course Representative (during 2nd, 3rd and Final Year), University of Sheffield Students’ Union Clinical Dentistry Councillor, University of Sheffield Medicine, Dentistry & Health Faculty Representative, and the University of Sheffield Students’ Union Disciplinary Panel.
In isolation, these roles demonstrate an individual with an incredible capacity and enthusiasm to help others. Holistically these demonstrate a student who has tirelessly worked to aid and support others, in widening participation, in team working and supporting colleagues in fundraising and in helping members of the public to improve their oral health.
He has undertaken these roles whilst studying for a BDS on a five-year programme of study with little free time in the normal working day.