Since 1991 the College has welcomed many outstanding young academics who win prestigious places on the programme in a national competition.
The Thai government fund the students through their A levels at the College and then through top UK universities. The scholars return home, often after completing doctoral study, and work in senior positions for the Thai government.
The College recently received this update from the three original Thai scholarship holders:
Dear Brian and Sue
This is Songphol from Thailand. I just browsed the website and am truly impressed with the achievement of the Thai flying pigs. However, I am quite annoyed not seeing “the original three” Thai flying pigs mentioned on the page. We deserve a few lines and I am writing on behalf of Apinunt and Nawin to reclaim our place in history.
Here’s an update of our lives *17* years after Rochester:
Dr Apinunt Thanachayanont (Imperial College 1998), associate professor of Electrical Engineering at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Bangkok. Also an assistant to the President of the University and a father of two beautiful girls.
Nawin Somyat (UMIST 2000), a lecturer at Thammasart University, Bangkok.
Dr Songphol Kanjanachuchai (Imperial College 1995, Cambridge 1999), the first Oxbridge Thai and now professor of Electrical Engineering at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. (Will be a father in Sep!)
I hope all is well in Rochester. Did you finally get married and learn to drive, Brian?
It is no disadvantage to have in your Chemistry class a student who struggles with English if that student has recently won a Gold medal in an international Chemistry Olympiad. Jiratheep ‘Boom’ Pruchayathamkorn (pictured above) got no fewer than 5 A*s in Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Physics and Statistics is off to Oxford to study Chemistry. Boom’s main worry was his English. Joe McManners, who joined RIC from Tonbridge School who achieved grades A* A* in Biology and Chemistry from scratch in one year, says of his Thai classmate “I’m not sure I would have done anywhere near as well without Boom in the class. And while there aren’t that many international students in the Halls, the Thai scholars really make it a great place to be. We help them with their English and they help the rest of us with our homework – it’s a great partnership”. Joe will join Boom at Oxford where he will study Medicine
Top RIC performer in 2014 was Methawi (Amy) Chomthong who notched up an astonishing 5 A* grades in only one year of study. Before coming to RIC Amy was a Gold Medallist at the 23rd International Biology Olympiad held in Singapore. Amy’s results saw her awarded A*s in Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths and Physics, dropping only 120 of the 5000 UMS marks available. She has a place at Trinity College, Cambridge, top of the Tompkins table that ranks the Colleges. Cambridge students score an average 567 UCAS entry points so with a record 700 Amy met her offer comfortably. Amy will be joined at Trinity by fellow academic Olympian Peerasak Sae-Ung (Tom) who won a Gold at the 44th International Physics Olympiad in Denmark last year.
RIC’s two top performing students in 2013 were both Royal Thai Government Scholars. Kla Karava and Puthipong Worasaran both netted 4 A* grades in one year of study and have places at Trinity College, Cambridge for Natural Sciences
Top performer in 2010 was Kenny Sirwatwerchakul who notched up an astonishing FIVE A STAR grades in only one year of study. Kenny’s results saw him awarded the new grade in Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths and Statistics. Kenny will continue his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, the most prestigious of the colleges, best for Maths and former home to Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage and Niels Bohr!
Former RIC student Teeradwj (Ping) Kittipassorn also won a place at Trinity in 2007. The standard offer when he applied was AAA at A level plus two 1s at STEP. Ping managed to exceed this dramatically with AAAA at A level, two ‘Outstandings’ (higher than a 1) on his STEP papers and an Advanced Extension award in Mathematics just for fun! Ping’s mark on STEP 3, the hardest Maths paper in the country was a stunning 120/120, the highest mark we have ever seen. The Mathematics department at Cambridge advise candidates:
“Do not worry if the STEP questions seem very difficult. It is aimed at the top 2% or so of all A-level mathematics candidates. The questions are much longer and more demanding than A-level questions (they are intended to take about 45 minutes, rather than the 10 or so minutes for an A-level question). They therefore look daunting; but you should not be daunted. In recent years, you only had to give good (not perfect) answers to four questions for a grade 1.”
Ping’s marks were sure to have dazzled the dons as he must have scored perfectly on 6 questions. He predictably won a first in all three years of his degree!
former thai flyers
There were two Oxford University success stories in 2009. Tanatorn Khotavivattana and Phakpoom Anpanitcharoen , both from Thailand who won matching places to study Chemistry after a one year A level programme at Rochester. Tanatorn will be at Merton College, Phakpoom just across the street at St John’s!
As the UK’s leading universities puzzle over different ways of differentiating between high achieving candidates Pichet Vanichchapongjaroen, a 2006 scholarship student celebrated superb results including 599/600 in A level Further Maths! His in Maths was achieved after only one term of study. Edexcel informed the College that Pichet’s performance was amongst the top 10 in the whole country and offered their congratulations. Pichet studied at Durham University after RIC.
Pakorn Aiewsakan, a one year RIC A level student 2007-8 was amongst the top ten A level students nationally according to Edexcel, the UK’s largest exam awarding body. Pakoran from Thailand was rated in the top ten nationally in not just one but two of his A level subjects, Further Maths and Biology. Pakoran studied Biology at Imperial College after RIC. Jerry Jarvis, Edexcel’s Managing Director commented:
“We send our congratulations to Pakorn on this excellent performance.”
2003 award holder Noppadol Mekareeya took every single module available for A level Mathematics and achieved 100% in every one of the hardest papers set. Noppadol secured an incredible A grade in 3 Maths A levels and one A grade in AS Maths as well as another two A grades in A level Physics and Statistics. Dr William Foster, Admissions tutor for Sciences from Clare College, Cambridge where Noppadol is reading Mathematics with Physics said:
“This is a superb achievement. Further, while A levels are important we put far greater emphasis on our STEP papers and to have achieved an S grade on STEP paper 3 is outstanding.”
To prove that he is not just a mathematician and to improve his English language Noppadol also studied for AS level Film Studies during his one year at the College and gained a B grade.
Another 2003 scholarship holder, Nattapong Paiboonvarachat also gained outstanding results with A grades in Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Physics. Particularly impressive was Nattapong’s 100% score in the synoptic paper the hardest paper in A level Physics and his distinction in the Advanced Extension Chemistry paper in which he scored one of the top marks in the country.
Rochester’s recent Thai scholars have won places to study Law at UCL, Politics at the LSE and Manchester, Natural Sciences at Cambridge, Chemistry and Biology at Oxford and Maths at Durham and Imperial.