From the time they could crawl, twins Neeranjali and Swaranjali Jain have had an affectionate sibling rivalry, spurring one another on to ever-greater things.

The sisters, who are enrolled in Honours in Medicine at UNSW, were jointly awarded this year’s Jamieson Award by the Australian Federation of Graduate Women NSW — a special exception by the judges due to their equally impressive applications.

It’s not the first time they have shared such honours, graduating as joint dux of Canberra Girls Grammar School and each winning multiple Dean’s awards at university.

Both are violinists in the UNSW Orchestra and they share a passion for community work and volunteering. Across their endeavours, as in life, they are inseparable.

“We have always supported and motivated each other and it is always exciting to achieve things together,” says Neera.

“We are not really competitive but enjoy a bit of light-hearted sibling rivalry, which helps us to push each other and learn from each other. This has always been there -- ever since we were little and had crawling races down the corridors,” she says.

This is the first time the prize has gone to members of the same family, and the first time it has been jointly bestowed since being restricted to single recipients in 2010. The judges ruled that the Jains’ achievements were “so significant and close — shared to a certain extent — that they were both deserving of the prize”.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award, it’s inspired us to continue striving to help others and support the community,” says Swara. The prize acknowledges women students who completed the final year of their first degree the previous year.

The sisters have volunteered with organisations supporting medical aid abroad, cancer patients and carers.

They are taking part in academic outreach encouraging disadvantaged students to consider university as an option after high school, something they describe as very rewarding.

After completing their honours the sisters hope to specialise, though they are yet to decide on an area of medicine and admit being captivated by different disciplines.

“Who knows though, in the future we may end up having practices right next door to each other,” says Neera. 

By Amy Coopes

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media, 0422 934 024

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Swara, left, and Neera Jain (Photo: Grant Turner)