Wellington student in line for global education award

Nehara Pandey announced as the only Southern Hemisphere finalist

A 20-year-old UP International College graduate has become the only Southern Hemisphere student shortlisted for the PIEoneer Awards International Alumni of the Year.

The award celebrates international students who have made a significant contribution to their institution and the wider community.

Originally from Goa in India, Nehara Pandey, who is proudly neurodiverse, is one of just seven students from across the globe who made the final cut – going up against the UK, US, Canada, Australia and more. See the category finalists here.

Nehara completed her foundation studies at UP Education’s Wellington International College in 2021 where she proved her drive for academic success, scooping up the Overall Excellence Award at the Wellington International Student Excellence Awards that same year.

Nehara is now furthering her education at Victoria University of Wellington with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in marine biology.

Growing up in the coastal Indian state of Goa, Nehara was surrounded by rich flora and fauna and white sand beaches – sparking her interest in environmentalism.

She is a dedicated conservationist, climate correspondent and aspiring marine biologist who already has a long list of achievements to her name; from making headlines for numerous environmental issues, joining a network of youth leaders advocating for ocean protection, winning the Sanctuary Nature Foundation’s Young Naturalist of the Year Award and working on major environmental campaigns, her passion knows no bounds.

Nehara is also a strong advocate for the neurodiverse community. In the podcast Bridging Worlds (Episode 5 ADHD Life Hacks) she opens up about her own experience navigating ADHD in school and everyday life to encourage open conversations about neurodiversity. By doing this she believes negative stereotypes about learning disabilities will become a thing of the past.

Her knack for helping others doesn’t stop there, after completing part of her foundation studies online from India due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, she became a mentor for other international students completing their studies remotely – helping them to complete coursework and connect with their peers online.

She also worked as a residential advisor and collaborates with school principals in India to understand how they can help their students qualify for university-level study in Aotearoa.

Professionals in International Education is a trusted leading voice in the sector that holds the PIEoneer Awards annually. The awards honour innovation and achievement across the global education industry and will be held later this year in London.

Nehara Pandey’s achievements to date:

  • Received the ‘Overall Excellence Award’ at the 2021 Wellington International Student Excellence Awards.
  • Consistently scored 80 – 90 per cent of marks during her Foundation Studies programme at UP International College.
  • Supports other international students through her role as a Residential Advisor.
  • Featured on the podcast Bridging Worlds (Episode 5 ADHD Life Hacks) discussing her own experience with ADHD.
  • Was awarded the 2019 Sanctuary Nature Foundation’s Young Naturalist Award in recognition of her conservation efforts.
  • Worked on major environmental campaigns: World Wildlife Day, The Save Mollem Movement, and #DownToEarthWithDee.
  • Published meaningful articles about hyperlocal environmental issues as one of the youngest climate correspondents for the Youth Ki Awaaz.
  • Landed media coverage in three newspapers to promote the annual World Oceans Day, created a series of films, and held online webinars to educate local schools.
  • Represented India on the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council from 2016-2018.