PhD researcher Regional Student of the Year

22 November 2016

A Deakin PhD student has been recognised at the prestigious 2016 Victorian International Education Awards.

Balaji Narayanaswamy, a researcher with Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), has been named 2016 International Student of the Year – Regional at the Victorian International Education Awards.

The award recognises students studying outside of Melbourne who have demonstrated outstanding success both in and out of the classroom.

For Balaji, it was the perfect ending to an already perfect day.

‘It’s been a great day for me because I got my PhD results today,” he said.

“So I just got through my PhD and now winning this award is like ‘Yes!’ – it is all happening today!’

Balaji’s research at IFM has focused on creating novel processes for developing steel alloys that will resist wear and abrasion when used in the high-intensity environment of mining and excavation.

A former Senior Executive at Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Company in Chennai Area, India, Balaji has a Masters in Engineering in Industrial Metallurgy.

Since arriving at Deakin in 2013, he has packed a lot into life outside his research, volunteering for the Australian Red Cross “Good Start Breakfast Club,” sharing his passion for writing as a Deakin Writing Mentor and becoming an International Orientation Co-ordinator supporting new international students. He is also a learning support volunteer with EdConnect Australia.

In 2015, Balaji was nominated for Deakin’s Global Citizenship Award and has been a finalist at the international youth science event, the British Council’s “FameLab.”

Balaji said it was a huge honour to be representing Deakin at Victoria’s Government House and he was grateful for the support he received from the University and his supervisors at IFM.

“Having come all the way from India to do my PhD, I would like to thank Deakin for giving me such an opportunity to represent Deakin and India in such a global forum,” he said.

The annual Victorian International Education Awards are an initiative of the Victorian Government that reward outstanding achievement and excellence among students, education providers and other organisations involved in international education in Victoria.

Balaji was joined as a finalist this year by two other PhD students from IFM, Andreas Kupke (also up for the Regional Award) and Francois-Marie Alloux, finalist for Research Student of the Year.

Deakin student Elena Adams was a finalist for the Internationalisation Award.

Deakin was the top performer among Victorian universities, scooping the prize pool for International Education – University and for Excellence in Higher Education – English Language Training.

It is the second time in three years that Deakin has been named the top university in Victoria for international education.

In the citation accompanying the award, Deakin was praised for its commitment to engaging with international students overseas and work done to help international students more fully participate in campus life.

Deakin also received a special commendation in the Partnership category for the University’s unique relationship with the humanitarian organisation Save the Children.

The Deakin–Save the Children partnership has been key to developing unique courses that prepare humanitarian workers for leadership roles in providing disaster relief in the face of crisis.

“Having come all the way from India to do my PhD, I would like to thank Deakin for giving me such an opportunity to represent Deakin and India in such a global forum.”

Key Fact

“Having come all the way from India to do my PhD, I would like to thank Deakin for giving me such an opportunity to represent Deakin and India in such a global forum.”

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