Cathum becomes university's youngest to gain first-class degree
A NEW Forest student who started a university degree aged just 16 has emerged with a first class honours degree.
Cathum Safi, from Ashurst and now 19, helped score a family hat-trick with his qualification in biomedical science as his twin sisters also achieved first class honours degrees in physics six years ago.
All three went to Portsmouth University, with Cathum becoming its youngest ever student to secure a first-class honours degree. Hannah and Emmal were dubbed “Britain’s brainiest twins” by newspapers when they graduated in 2014.
Cathum, who wants to be a doctor, intends to study medicine with his main interests being in neuroscience and immunology.
He said: “Being home taught, I’ve never had lessons or lectures, so university was a challenging environment to adapt to, but I managed to integrate well.
“Most of the other people there were older, but I was made to feel very welcome. I now feel ready for my next challenge.”
All three siblings were home schooled by their parents.
Proud mum Pam said: “Cathum went to the same university as his sisters but was only 16. His first-class honours degree is quite an achievement considering his age”.
The twins went onto further studies, with Hannah going to University College London to focus on biosciences. She is now working in cardiology at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.
Emmal did a degree in astrophysics at Keele University and is now a senior scientist at the National Physical Laboratory, working on planetary and environmental issues.
During Cathum’s degree course he completed placements at the A&E department at Southampton General Hospital and the pathology department at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.
His tutor Dr Qian An, senior lecturer at Portsmouth University, paid tribute, saying: “He has been a proactive and focused student who had a clear idea of where he wanted to go in his future career.
“It is very rare for someone to have received a first-class honours degree at such a young age. I am of course impressed by his achievements, but not entirely surprised. I wish him every success for the future.”