NCS student Tafsia earns a place to study at the prestigious MIT (video)

Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre

NCS student Tafsia earns a place to study at the prestigious MIT (video)

The NCS is delighted to share the news that along with our 9 Oxbridge offers, year 13 student Tafsia Shikdar has received an offer of a place to study at MIT – the number 1 ranked university in the world.

“My WhatsApp messages were going off with loads of ‘congratulations’. My friends are really happy for me, which makes me even happier and helps me realise just how big this is. It’s a shared joy between me, my friends and teachers. It seemed like everyone was going to MIT today!” (Tafsia Shikdar, Year 13 student at The NCS)

When Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre (The NCS) in East Ham opened almost three years ago, core to our vision was the belief that achieving one’s high ambitions would be seen as the norm and where adults saw students not as they are but as what they could be; questioning the status quo, collaborating with other like-minded people, and developing a passion for their subjects so they could access some of the best universities in the UK. It’s therefore with great pride that we’re able to share the news that along with our 9 Oxbridge offers, everyone at The NCS is celebrating Tafsia Shikdar’s offer of a place to study Engineering and Physics at MIT. This is a truly remarkable achievement which we believe is a first for a young person in Newham and will see her follow in the footsteps of many of MIT’s notable alumni including Kofi Annan, Buzz Aldrin and Richard Feynman.

“MIT has had so many notable alumni, it’s going to be a huge inspiration just being there following in the footsteps of so many greats. It really makes you feel as though you could do something special as well. I want to do some meaningful research. Something that’s interested me for a long time is going into the renewable energy sector because I’m quite passionate about environmental issues. ”

Over the last two years Tafsia – who was awarded the prestigious Harvard Book Prize for ‘Outstanding Academic Achievement’ and is about to sit her final A Level exams in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology – has benefitted from a wide range of opportunities, experiences and support at The NCS which have all helped her to excel throughout the MIT application process. We have a large pool of ambassadors that guide our students through career and further educations choices and from this Tafsia was assigned a mentor who has studied at MIT and was perfectly placed to help her through the SAT exams and provide bespoke practice for her face to face interview in London at the end of last year.

During her first year she was invited to join the UCL Engineering Club – one of the many benefits our students have as part of our strategic partnership with the university – which gave her an insight into further academic study and afforded her a chance to practice engineering and coding skills alongside current undergraduates. Tafsia was also selected to be take part in the Bloomberg Financial Computing Masterclasses where she applied her strong mathematical skills in a financial context. Tafsia’s strong academic background and problem solving ability led to her being selected to attend the ‘Women in STEM Summer School’ at Cambridge University after scoring some of the highest marks in the pre-selection physics assessment. Tafsia was also selected from a national pool of very able, committed and talented students to participate in the Oxford Material Science Summer School.

On having the motivation and drive to want to apply, Tafsia commented:

“One of the things that people in Newham need to get out of their heads is ‘I can’t do it.’ The main thing is motivating yourself to reach the highest dreams possible. Think to yourself ‘why not me?’ All you have to do is work for it and take the necessary steps to get there. If you want to be an astronaut, just take physics, that’s the first step to getting there. The people that achieve these great things are no better than you.”

Tafsia visited Nagoya, Japan as part of the NCS Emerging Talent Programme to explore environmental sustainability where she compared British and Japanese efforts to tackle environmental issues. During her placement she worked with eminent Japanese scientists as well as students on a real life science project which she presented to a panel of esteemed judges. Tafsia has an avid interest in environmental issues and how science, engineering and technology can come together to find credible solutions to present day dilemmas.

The many guest speakers we welcome at The NCS have undoubtedly inspired Tafsia to reach for her dreams. One notable highlight for her was meeting the land speed record holder Andy Green, who visited the NCS to talk about the science and engineering behind his upcoming 1000mph car. On this she said:

“He drove the fastest car in the world and he’s doing it all here in the UK. The fact that he came in and showed us the engineering that goes into the car and linked it to the physics we do in class allowed me to see the steps you make to get from here to there. Having these people come in makes you realise that there’s not much difference between them and you.”

Central to all of the support The NCS provides are our enthusiastic and talented teaching staff. Tafsia has also noted the approachability of our teachers, always willing to help outside of lessons and providing additional material to stretch her studies via our iTunes U platform.

“The teachers have been really great. Whenever I want to see them they always help.”

On the letter confirming her offer, MIT noted that Tafsia, “stood out as one of the most talented and promising students in one of the most competitive applicant pools in the history of the institute… We think that you and MIT are a great match.”

Principal of The NCS, Mouhssin Ismail, said of Tafsia’s achievement:

“Newham and East London has always been full of talented students like Tafsia and our role was to unlock the potential that exists is one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse places in the world.  By securing a place at Cambridge and MIT Tafsia symbolises what is possible when high ambition, community support and high quality educational provision combine.  Tafsia will undoubtedly inspire other students in East London to follow in her footsteps as studying at an Ivy League University just became a little more believable”  

Congratulations Tafsia from all your teachers and friends at The NCS. We look forward to celebrating your A level results in August.

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