A UNIVERSITY of York PhD student has won a Yorkshire Asian Young Achiever award (YAYAs).

Kenyan-born STEM mentor and PhD student Ruhee Dawood, 23, has won the ‘Achievement in School or College’ award for her educational success.

She was presented the award before more than 300 guests at the Cedar Court hotel in Bradford on Thursday, November 4.

Ruhee moved to York after being awarded a Sharifah Sofia Albukhary Scholarship to study Chemistry at the University of York, winning a Whinfield medal, then went onto secure funding towards her PhD in making a ground-breaking discovery in organic chemistry.

She supports ethnic minority students in undertaking STEM subjects and mentors girls from Africa pursuing STEM subjects as part of the Women Kuongoza programme.

The YAYAs, launched in 2020 by QED Foundation and headlined with York St John University, are open to young people aged 18-30 of South Asian heritage who were born, work or live in Yorkshire, aimed at socially-mobile achievers who have broken through barriers.

Dr Mohammed Ali, founder of QED Foundation, said: “We hope this event will leave people feeling inspired - we want other young people to follow their examples, aim high and know that with hard work and determination anything is possible.”

The other 10 award categories included Healthcare, Media, Arts and Creative, and Not-for-profit.

The awards were hosted by BBC TV and radio presenter and comedian Noreen Khan, and keynote speaker professor Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington DC and former Pakistani high commissioner to the UK.