Momentous move pays dividends for graduand Aanchal

Aanchal Udaynath Pareri’s decision to give up her job and move 5,000 miles to study would have been life-changing at any time, but doing so at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic made the switch even more momentous.

Her choice to relocate from Mumbai has certainly paid off, however, as Aanchal (26) is about to undertake a PhD at the University of Dundee as she aims to fulfil her dream of becoming a cancer researcher.

Aanchal moved to Dundee in November 2020, and will graduate with a MSc Biomedical and Molecular Sciences degree on Thursday 16 November. Dundee’s reputation as one of the world’s top centres for Life Sciences research persuaded her to make the move despite the challenges of the pandemic and says she will cherish her experiences in Scotland wherever her career leads her.

“I have always been passionate about science and public health,” said Aanchal. “After completing my degree in Bioanalytical Sciences, I worked as a Research Associate, but I missed the lab work so I decided to pursue something I love – cancer research.

“I arrived in Dundee during the lockdown period. Our lectures were all online, so I unfortunately couldn’t meet with course mates or other students on campus as I would have done otherwise but my flatmates were the friendliest bunch of people.

“I made friends with students pursuing different courses in the University and had amazing times with them and the people have been so sweet – friendly smiles and ‘hellos’ from strangers on the street. With lots of cafés, pubs, and places to roam about, it’s a great and safe city for a student to be in.

“Travel was restricted, but we visited places in and around Dundee and then to Broughty Ferry beach, St Andrews, Tentsmuir forest, and Dunnottar Castle. Recently my flatmate and I went to Inverness for a small holiday to celebrate the end of our Masters program. My favourite go-to place in Dundee is The Law – it’s always pleasant there and you can see the whole city from that point.

“I was always a little introverted, but my course has helped me gain confidence. I feel this has been instrumental in me securing a PhD position at the University. It has not only allowed me to experience the challenges of academic research, but also the joys and excitement that come with it.

“I am very excited to be starting my PhD, and I am sure it will give me the skills and training needed to be a successful cancer researcher.”

Aanchal is one of over 2000 undergraduate and postgraduate students receiving their degrees and diplomas at Caird Hall this week. Two ceremonies will be held on Thursday 18 November, with another taking place the following morning.

Graduands will be joined by family and friends to celebrate their academic achievements at the first such ceremonies the University has been able to host since November 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic, subsequent Government restrictions and the requisitioning of Caird Hall as a vaccination centre have meant Dundee’s last three Graduation ceremonies have had to take place online.

The University intends to offer ceremonies in 2022 for all those students who missed out on a physical graduation over the past two years

Measures will be put in place to ensure everyone’s safety during the ceremonies. The Caird Hall will be operating at a reduced capacity, and face coverings must be worn at all times, unless medically exempt.

Staff, students, and family are also encouraged to take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) before attending the ceremonies with track and trace procedures to be followed within the venue.

The ceremonies will be live streamed through the University’s YouTube channel to allow friends and family to tune in to the events.

Dundee University Student Association (DUSA) will host Graduation Afternoon Tea events from 12.30pm on each day. 

Follow #UoDGrad on social media to keep up with all the Graduation action.

Find out more about Caird Hall safety guidance.