Cancer is a disease that nearly all of us have some link to - whether it's a friend, family member or colleague who's been affected.

For Nerthiga Kandasamy, her dream has always been to help find a cure for the disease. “To a girl who was dreaming about her future, the scholarship showed the pathway to achieve all my dreams. I had a vision, but I was finding difficulties in achieving them before I got my scholarship. I really lack words to explain how much it means to me. It has given me the opportunity to identify my own self, to become the independent, bold girl that I am today. It's a dream that has come true.”

After recently graduating with an MSc in Molecular Medicine, and a visit home to India to celebrate her achievements with her family, she's now actively pursuing PhD opportunities.

“My ambition is to do research cancer and to become a scientist - I love researching.

"I had failures. It took years to overcome but my hard work never failed. I never wanted to waste my time. Never missed any opportunities.

"Essex has shown me the future. I loved studying at Essex, it has given me the life and has shown me the future. I cannot explain how much Essex means to me.

“Dream big. Never miss opportunities. Work hard. And the best comes to you. As international students, we are going to have hard times, but trust me you are going to overcome them with smiling faces. The University is going to make you the best candidate, who is ready to fight for the future”.

Through Essex Futures, we’re raising £1m to fund even more scholarships to enable students like Nerthiga to pursue their passions and go on to make their mark on the world.

This blog was written by Student Philanthropy Assistant, Jeswin Joseph.