SUDBURY – it’s safe to say Meet Thakkar, a second-year Dental Hygiene student, is a high achiever. The international student from India was recently awarded a $1,000 scholarship recognizing student leadership from The College Student Alliance (CSA).
The accolade is well-deserved. Thakkar is highly engaged in academic and student life at Cambrian College. In addition to maintaining a perfect GPA of 4.0, he is the class representative for his program and the first international student representative on the College’s Board of Governors. Thakkar also volunteers as a peer tutor on campus and at a local church.
“Since I’ve been here, I try to involve myself more and more in campus life,” he says. “When new students arrive, I try to help them by guiding them and introducing them to others. When I came, I didn’t know anything about this country or city. I don’t even have relatives in Canada.”
Ever the savvy student, Thakkar found out about the scholarship on the CSA’s Facebook page.
Geoffrey Dalton, Director of Cambrian International, contends Thakkar is an exceptional student.
“Wow! What an asset he is to the campus. Meet has gone out of his way to make other international students feel welcome,” Dalton says. “He’s a really kind person. Everybody who knows Meet likes him.”
Despite the recent recognition, Thakkar remains modest. His motivation, he points out, lies in his desire for the full Canadian experience.
“I’m a bit ambitious,” he says. “Whenever I go somewhere, I try to involve myself as much as possible. I wanted to immerse myself into the community, to learn what Canadian culture is about; I wanted to excel in each aspect of college, not just dental hygiene.”
Despite hitting a few obstacles during the first couple of months, Thakkar says the experience has been positive thus far – he even likes the weather. He attributes some of his good memories to a local family he met soon after arriving, saying he’s become part of their family. Thakkar, a Hindu, even attended Christmas mass with his “new relatives.”
“I’ve had many positive forces,” he says whimsically. “What I’ve found here is that if you want to achieve anything – if you try, people will notice. It’s been pretty smooth for me.”
Thakkar was featured in December in International Student Voice magazine, in which he was lauded for his academic achievements and extra-curricular activities. He won a national student essay contest in August 2013, sponsored by the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA). He wrote on student-led oral health advocacy efforts.
Thakkar studied dentistry for five years in India and is certified in his homeland. He chose to pursue studies at Cambrian College because he wanted an international experience, and he hopes to work in the field of public health with the World Health Organization (WHO).
About the College Student Alliance:
The CSA, founded in 1975, is an advocacy organization that currently represents more than 135,000 full-time student members in the province of Ontario. The scholarships are awarded to college students who demonstrate leadership on campus and in their communities, who demonstrate an ability to motivate others, and who are in good academic standing.
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Mary Katherine Keown
(705) 566-8101, ext. 6876
Director, Cambrian International
(705) 566-8101, ext. 7417