Starting at Stanford: a QE first

Year 13 pupil Valavan Ananthakumaraswamy is the first QE boy to be offered a place at Stanford University in the USA – one of the world’s leading teaching and research institutions. 

Valavan plans to follow a mixed Liberal Arts programme for the first two years of his four-year degree and will then probably major in Economics for the final two years.

He is currently studying A-levels in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Economics with Business. Valalvan’s interests at School have included the Combined Cadet Force and he has been involved in drama productions and in senior rugby.

He has also been heavily engaged in charitable work: he is the trustee, and one of the five QE founders, of a charity called The Youth Project (TYP), which ‘engages young people to make a change’. TYP initiatives range from projects in the slums and orphanages of India to a UK mentoring scheme helping children with disabilities develop computer skills. So successful has TYP been that other QE boys are now involved and links to other schools such as Westminster, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ and St Albans, have been established.

""Valavan has been interested in studying in the States for a while and he duly applied to the Sutton Trust’s US Programme. This scheme, which is delivered by the educational charity in partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission, gives bright British state school pupils a taste of life at an American University.

After his application was successful, Valavan attended one of the programme’s all-expenses-paid summer camps last year. Although these camps are held at East Coast Ivy League universities, Valavan was attracted by the courses offered by Stanford and by the fact that the Californian university’s courses seem to allow extensive opportunity for extra-curricular activities.

Term starts in mid-September, although Valavan is planning to go out to California in the summer. He is already thinking ahead and believes he may end up staying in the US on a longer-term basis.