Monday, July 9, 2007

SURVIVAL of the fittest is the belief of 23-year-old Mayuri Chandra, a science student at the University of the South Pacific.
Mayuri, a strong career-focused person has never doubted her capabilities but striving high is what she has always believed in.
What is more important for her is believing in oneself and trying to stand out in the crowd by trying to be the best in the field she chooses.
She is majoring in chemistry for her Masters but to complete her degree she majored in biology and chemistry at USP.
Mayuri's passion for chemistry is quite evident.
She was once offered an AUSAid scholarship but turned it down.
"I was offered the scholarship for my MBBS but because of some family commitment, I had to turn the offer down," she says.
Mayuri comes from Ba.
She finished her degree and post-graduate diploma in chemistry at USP before she was offered a Taiwan-sponsored scholarship in February to complete her Masters.
"I was looking for work after completing my degree but found none and then this scholarship came and I am able to further my studies."
Mayuri was the only student in her lot to be awarded the Taiwan scholarship for students in her research field.
She sees it as a great achievement for her but more as a reward for her hard work in her chosen field.
Her research project is aimed at detecting and isolating bioactive compounds in a marine sponge and a terrestrial plant and characterising isolated compounds using spectroscopic analysis.
According to Mayuri, choosing the marine research field was her way out of the family tradition where arts and not science dominated.
She says she was inspired by scientists since her childhood and choosing a science field was her way of exploring new and exciting things.
"I have always admired scientists since they come up with new and interesting things every now and then," she says.
"I feel it is through them that we have progressed in technology and medicine and it was what pushed me to join the research side."
She was awarded a scholarship by the French Embassy to do research in marine and plant natural products in New Caledonia.
Mayuri says she would later travel to France for further analysis of her samples.
She prefers to remain in the research field in future as she finds it challenging and exciting.
"This field is not like some of the other jobs where everything is set to a routine and you have to do the same thing over and over again," she says.
Mayuri feels all one needs to be successful is motivation and belief in oneself and God.
"My parents and supervisors have been my mentors who have inspired me and made me realise what I am capable of," she says.
"My inquisitive nature and self-drive has been my formula."
Mayuri has had a nomadic school life as her father retired manager of the Bank of Baroda took them where he was posted around Fiji.
She is the younger of three siblings.
Her older brother and sister are abroad.
She likes people who are fun-loving, cheerful and friendly.
Her hobbies include reading, travelling, socialising, listening to music and swimming. Standing out in the crowd is her advice to all the young scholars.
"Since everyone these days are competitive, I would advise them to go for the highest competition they can get," she says. "It is the best person who always wins in the end and so being the best."