Student Award

Category Description

Student Award

This prize is to reward students who excel not only in their studies, but shine in other areas as well. This can be sports, volunteering, a contribution to society or anything else that is nothing short of impressive! Any student who fits the criteria below can be nominated. The list of nominees will also be used as input for the VU Central awards.

Criteria:

  • Grade average 7.0 or higher

  • Excels in an extracurricular activity or;

  • Contributes to society in a meaningful way or;

  • Contributes in some other meaningful way (as long as you can exemplify!)

2020-2021 Nominees Student Award (Bachelor):

Aafke Essen

What drives you?

My mission is to improve and optimize education. As a pre-service teacher I try to provide my pupils the best education possible by bringing scientific evidence into the classroom. Moreover I am constantly looking for ways to improve my own courses and (combination of) bachelor(s) in general.

How do you integrate it in your (extra) curricular activities?

As a member of the educational committee I am involved in discussions with teachers about the content and structure of the courses. Furthermore I took part in the Honours programme to deepen and broaden my knowledge about education, which I directly integrate in my own teaching methods.

Gabriel Zanella

What drives you?

I’m a passionate student who believes that psychology is a powerful tool for transforming lives. We can make a real positive impact on society by promoting mental health and expanding scientific knowledge. My career goal is to research diversity and inclusion of socially vulnerable populations, such as the LGBTQIA+ community.

How do you integrate it in your (extra) curricular activities?

During my studies, I joined the VU Pride network to organize events and contribute to making the VU a more inclusive place. I also helped many students as a private tutor for Statistics and worked as a research assistant, studying health care for transgender people and HIV prevention.

Gijs van der Pijl

What drives you?

What drives me is pure fascination by everything that this universe is made of and wanting to learn more about it. Followed by the hope and desire that gaining new knowledge will enable me to get in a position where I can help society and humandkind so that everybody can live a happy life.

How do you integrate it in your (extra) curricular activities?

At VSPVU I'm an active member so our association can organise events that everybody can visit and enjoy. In my academic career I am going to combine a neuroscientific master with a philosophical one in order to gain knowledge on human well-being and how this can be implemented in policies for society.


Kerem Özel

What drives you?

I want my years at the VU to mean something, to me and to others. I received so much support and appreciation through the years and as an international student, I cannot explain how much these mean to me. That is why I always tried to share what I received.

How do you integrate it in your (extra) curricular activities?

I was a member and the chair of the Introduction Committee of the VSPVU with the goal of helping new students to feel at home just like I did. I then became a board member of the VSPVU and I am currently the vice-chairman of the Faculty Student Council FGB.

Nanda Jafarian

What drives you?

I want to excel and be someone that supports and motivates others. University can be a difficult life stage and I want to help the people around me as much as possible. I can do this only because I experience support and care from my friends, like Olivia Bartnicki.

How do you integrate it in your (extra) curricular activities?

I am finishing my bachelors within two years with cum laude. I was a member of the VSPVU yearbook committee in 2019-20. I spend a large amount of time helping my classmates with questions in WhatsApp groups or individually and share documents giving further explanations to complicated exams or assignments.

2020-2021 Nominees Student Award (Master):

Christina Palantza

What drives you?

I am driven by my crystal-clear goals that I find emotionally meaningful and existentially fulfilling. These are: making a substantial difference in the lives of people with adverse experiences, such as intimate partner violence (IPV) and suicidality, by contributing in the improvement of healthcare for them through high quality research.

How do you integrate it in your (extra) curricular activities?

I tirelessly strive to make the most of courses, carefully choose electives, gain as much knowledge as possible and perfect my methodological skills through workshops and seminars. More importantly, I take up additional projects, such as voluntarily continuing to work on a meta-analysis (suicidality), and actively seeking an optional internship (IPV).

Michael Gasior

What drives you?

I am driven by a desire for everyone to have the space and opportunity to be successful, and I strive to be a person who is supportive and worthy of my peers’ trust. The hope for greater awareness of childhood adversity, its consequences, and its prevention drives my work.

How do you integrate it in your (extra) curricular activities?

I integrate what drives me into activities by connecting with and supporting others, such as mentoring and operations work I do within HLAB Japan for Japanese high schoolers. Regarding adversity, I educate myself and others through extracurricular classes, activism, research with prof. dr. Sijbrandij, and a Humanity in Action Fellowship.

Suraj Harylallsingh

What drives you?

I am driven by a passion for education. As I believe that educating others empowers them to change the world around them, I am committed to helping others learn. I cannot think of a greater joy than aiding those around me in advancing their understanding of something they feel matters!

How do you integrate it in your (extra) curricular activities?

Over the years, I have voluntarily tutored students, served as year representative, been part of a program committee, organized excursions to a top research institute and even set up a trip to a foreign university. Contributing to the education of others in such varied ways has been a wonderful experience!