Neharika’s Story: From Shoolini to Oxford… Unplugged!

Neharika Ann Mann, a star alumna of Shoolini University, has been accepted into the Master’s program in Genomic Medicine at the prestigious Oxford University. Originally from Gurgaon, Neharika’s academic journey began at Shoolini University, where she completed her BSc in Biotechnology with flying colours. 

Securing a place at Oxford University proves one’s academic excellence and perseverance. The institution is known for its rigorous selection criteria and global reputation for outstanding faculty, resources, and opportunities for intellectual and professional development. Candidates are expected to showcase exemplary academic records and relevant coursework, and present persuasive personal statements and letters of recommendation, alongside excelling in interviews or assessments. 

Talking to Shoolini IMPACT, Neharika shares her inspiring journey, discussing her dreams, aspirations, and the exciting prospects of exploring genomic medicine at one of the world’s most esteemed academic institutions. 

What does being accepted into Oxford University’s Master’s program mean to you, and what are you most looking forward to in this new academic chapter?

Oxford has always been my dream, just like many others. When I started my application, a consultant told me everyone applies to Oxford, but hardly anyone gets in. So, when I received my offer letter, I was in disbelief. Oxford’s reputation is unmatched, and it was my ultimate goal. I’m thrilled about the opportunity to study and work there, especially meeting people from all over the world and gaining diverse perspectives. I plan to fully immerse myself in the research culture and work diligently in the laboratory. 

What sparked your interest in biotechnology research, and how has Shoolini University supported your development in this field?

I was eight years old when I had a watershed moment, learning that a classmate’s parent had died of cancer. My young and naive mind couldn’t grasp why, in a world of advancing medicine and extensive research, people were still losing lives to diseases. This deeply impacted me, leaving me frustrated yet determined. I decided to join the fight against such illnesses. Growing up, I realised that biotechnology would help me work on finding cures for diseases that are still incurable. Specifically, research and lab work interested me. At Shoolini, the academic curriculum further piqued my interest and intensified my passion for this field. I was given ample opportunities to work in the lab and write review papers. I am extremely grateful to my teachers and the laboratory staff for their guidance, encouragement, and support. 

Can you share key experiences or projects from your undergraduate studies at Shoolini that helped prepare you for your Master’s at Oxford?

During my time at Shoolini, professors encouraged me to work in the lab and gain research experience. Assistant Professor Nitika Thakur was particularly instrumental in connecting me with supportive seniors who taught me lab skills and how to write review papers. I spent a lot of my free time in the lab, published three review papers with Assistant Professor Thakur, and completed my dissertation project in Professor Saurabh Kulshrestha’s lab under the guidance of Assistant Professor Chandresh Kumari. I am extremely grateful for the support and guidance from all my teachers at Shoolini. 

What motivated your application to Oxford University for the Master’s in Genomic Medicine, and how do you see it impacting your career goals?

Oxford’s collaboration with AstraZeneca to develop one of the first COVID-19 vaccines strengthened my interest in studying there. The vaccine highlighted the importance of genomics and pharmacogenomics, as many deadly diseases have genetic roots, and drug discovery often lies in understanding these genetic factors. I want to contribute to this field by working on novel therapies and uncovering new cures. The course at Oxford will provide me with learning and exposure, helping me identify a specific area of interest for further pursuit during my PhD. Most importantly, I want to be part of a community that actively finds solutions in emergencies.

What advice do you have for Shoolini students aiming for prestigious international institutions like Oxford?

My advice is to dream big and believe in yourself. Have passion, work hard, and seize every opportunity to shape your future. Push boundaries, explore, and show initiative. If you work sincerely towards your goals, you will achieve what you deserve or even more.

Neharika’s selection is a truly exciting moment, signalling the beginning of a new chapter filled with learning and discovery. It’s a chance for her to collaborate with some of the brightest minds, delve into groundbreaking research, and make a real difference. We’re rooting for Neharika and can’t wait to see all the amazing things she’ll accomplish!

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Ciba Kanwar
Ciba Kanwar
Ciba is a Digital PRO. Responsible for creating and gathering informative content for the university's digital platforms. Also, Responsible for building and maintaining valuable relationships with the stakeholders.

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