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Alumni Profile: From EIC to Cambridge University

30 Apr 2018

As part of our series of alumni profiles, we are delighted to share this piece written by Vivek Badiani, who left the College in 2013 after achieving AAB in Biology, Chemistry and Economics. Since leaving the College Vivek has read Chemistry at University of Nottingham, completed a year working for a major pharmaceautical company in Italy, and is currently completing his Masters in Graphene Technology at Cambridge University.  

Alumni Profile: Vivek Badiani - from Ealing Independent College to pushing the frontiers of crucial research in the hugely important area of graphene development 

My time at Ealing Independent College has continued to bear a positive impact on me throughout my studies. Although it is difficult to say which factor played a major role in my academic journey thus far, one of the biggest lessons I learned was practice. Learning without practicing merely commits concepts to short term memory. EIC allowed me to realise this as it fostered informal relationships between the high ratio of teachers to students due to its small size and friendly environment. This allowed free expression between the students and teachers, and luckily in my case, although my grades from my first year AS-level grades suggested otherwise – it allowed my true potential to be seen. I entered the College with BBC in Biology, Chemistry and Economics, and with much hard work I left with AAB – the first thing I never thought I would achieve.

Upon leaving EIC I took up a place at the University of Nottingham to study initially a 3-year BSc in Chemistry. Using the principles of practice, I swiftly achieved above 70% in my first year which allowed me to switch to the 4-year integrated Masters course with a year in industry, which led me to spending my 3rd year working for a major pharmaceutical company in Parma, Italy, in the field of drug discovery research. This was a major influence in my chosen career path and I implore students who are deciding which course to take to choose courses with years in industry or abroad. I then returned to the University of Nottingham for my final Masters year, where upon spending my time conducting my research in the exciting field of nanotechnology and carbon nanotubes, I achieved a first-class degree with honours.

My wonderful experience in research in both industrial and academic settings led me to securing a place at the University of Cambridge, where I am currently reading my second Masters in Graphene Technology at the Department of Engineering. Currently, I am conducting research and sitting exams on condensed matter, theoretical, and quantum physics, as well as electrical engineering and nanotechnology.

Five years prior to now, if you found me at EIC, sitting in the break room next to the red lockers, I would never have imagined I would have achieved this, especially seeing as my highest qualification in Mathematics is a GCSE! However, I remained in touch with the idea of practicing everything I learn in order to cement my understanding, something which I owe credit to the college for.

Upon (hopefully) passing my Masters later this year, I will remain at the University of Cambridge to pursue my final qualification - a PhD in the exciting field of two-dimensional materials. My academic journey from having achieved low grades in my first year of my A-levels to where I am now is largely due to the principles I gained while at Ealing Independent College. I was lucky enough to have Dr. Ian Moores (Principal of EIC) realise my potential, and lucky enough to have an informal relationship with my teachers where I could maximise what I learn within and outside of a syllabus. This has helped me to continually challenge myself in fields I never imagined I would be able to attempt.

For current students who may be reading this, it is important to realise the idea that everything is learnable. Whether you are studying for GCSEs, A-levels, or in my case, graduate level Physics and Engineering at Cambridge, we all have the capacity to learn new things, and all concepts out there are ready for you to understand – you just have to practice.

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