In this edition of Student Focus Nottingham Trent University spoke to us about one of their alumni – Umamaheshwaran Panneerselvam.
Umamaheshwaran Panneerselvam, of Chennai, India, studied MRes in Applied Biosciences at Nottingham Trent University and he graduated in 2010.
Student Focus Nottingham Trent University’s high-achiever alumnus
Last year Umamaheshwaran was named as Nottingham Trent University’s Alumnus of the Year. This was in recognition of Umamaheshwaran, who risked his life to help save hundreds of people after heavy flooding hit India.
He helped to save more than 500 lives across the city of Chennai and provided food and shelter to more than 3,000 people.
Chennai was submerged in high levels of water during the floods of 2015 and official help from the state government and the army was delayed for weeks.
Umamaheshwaran and his friends decided to take action and set up a ‘help hub’ in his home. Using social media they organised a rescue team consisting of swimmers and fishermen.
The rescue team collected food and water from all over India and they swam across the water-clogged rivers to distribute it.
They moved disabled children, the elderly and hospital patients and liaised with other cities to find medical supplies.
With the help of local community leaders and businessmen, Umamaheshwaran arranged shelters for all over Tamil Nadu and relocated those affected by the floods.
Nottingham Trent University’s Alumnus of the Year award recognises former students’ distinctive attainments, professional successes, and contributions to society.
Umamaheshwaran – who graduated with an MRes in Applied Biosciences- received his award during a University graduation ceremony in December 2017.
Study abroad helped Umamaheshwaran launch a successful career
Since leaving university, Umamaheshwaran has made himself a career in the mainstream media and now works for News7 Tamil. He has also worked as a political analyst and social media strategist for various political parties in India.
Umamaheshwaran said: “To receive a prestigious award from the university which has made me who I am today, will push me to do more service. I feel this award will inspire people back home to help others.
“It has been more than seven years since I left the University and it will be the first time I have visited since graduating. It will be a wonderful feeling to return to the place where I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience.
“I owe everything to NTU. The University broadened my horizons and more than education, I took with me a paradigm shift from an introvert into an open and outspoken social worker.”
Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, said: “We are immensely proud of Umamaheshwaran for his courage and his resourcefulness in helping his fellow citizens during this terrible situation. His was the outstanding nomination this year, but he also represents the character and commitment that is demonstrated by all our alumni around the world”
Nominations for the Alumnus of the Year award are invited from students, staff, and graduates as well as employers, employees, colleagues, families and friends of alumni.
Umamaheshwaran was nominated by Dr Shiva Sivasubramaniam, a principal lecturer in pharmacology, in the university’s School of Science and Technology.
Want to join Umamaheshwaran and the many Indian students who built their careers by studying abroad? Start your search here.