Thiban Sandramuti

Biotechnology students say he chose Nilai U for the affordability and the campus environment.

Thiban Sandramuti says he had decided he wanted to be a biotechnologists since he was active in the Innovation and Creation Club as a Form III student at SMK Seri Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. A teacher had noted his active participation in the club and advised him to look at possible careers which would feed his passion for the sciences.

“I read up on all the possible science-related careers and I was very interested in biotechnology and its many applications in modern life,” says the well-mannered Cheras resident. When it came to applying for a place in a tertiary education centre, Thiban says he narrowed his choices to three institutions which offered an honours degree programme. “I chose Nilai University (Nilai U) because its fees were much more affordable compared to the other places. It was big difference and I did not wish to burden my parents. It also means the repayment of my PTPTN loan will be less stressful” says the 22-year old, who modestly admits he is on track to score First Class Honours to get a waiver on the repayment. “Although Nilai University’s biotechnology facilities may not be as impressive as other institutions, it is sufficient to give students the solid foundation they require for a career in biotechnology. Besides, it is more than made up for by the very dedicated and experienced lecturers who do plenty to ensure we understand our lessons,” adds Thiban who first joined Nilai U’s Foundation in Science programme as a means to fast track him into the BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology.

Thiban plans to continue his studies onto master’s level saying that he believes many employers in the research and development sector will look for such qualified staff. “Having a master’s degree will clearly show that you are capable of running a project and have the requisite knowledge to handle tough assignments,” says Thiban who is hoping to join the pharmaceutical industry.

In the meantime, Thiban is busy enjoying his varsity experience. “I know some students who grumble about the lack of entertainment but I think that is a bonus as that means fewer distractions,” he reasons. He occupies his time with a variety of extra-curricular activities. Besides helping to co-ordinate the Campus Games and the Masiswa (Central Zone II) Games at Nilai U, he is the current President of the Life Sciences Society and also the Vice-President of the Indian Cultural Society. He says that being involved in such activities has taught him many valuable lessons, not least the ability and willingness to “always listen to others with an open mind”.

The young scientist spoke enthusiastically about the eco awareness project the Life Sciences Society carried out – Dawn of the Greenage. It was a week-long programme designed to create awareness of an eco-friendly lifestyle and also to inculcate some environmentally-friendly habits among the student and staff. “Joining the biotechnology programme is unlike any other because you will have the knowledge to improve people’s lives and also do things which will safeguard the future of the planet. If you are strong in your biology and chemistry and have a natural affinity for laboratory work, this is the programme for you,” smiles Thiban.