Nika the Pianist

Nika also founded TAFU – Nature Conservation Organisation


Nika S UNDERWOOD, 16 years old, was born to a Croatian mother and English father, and is the youngest of four children, therefore loved and adored by everyone. Presently with parents living in France during academic year, Nika started with her official piano education only as recently as February 2018.

Her professor, Ms Raminta has finally arrived and immediately saw Nika was talented. This meant the whole world to Nika and she is the happiest person to be able to learn from Prof. Raminta Neverdauskaité who pushed her from a beginners level to do exams in front of a commission of many professionals to pass straight to cycle 2 in Solfeggio and Piano, with which she made a jump of 3-5 years at the very least. This year Nika has finished 1st year of the 2nd cycle.

In this short time Nika has participated in five competitions, three of international standing and two French nationals:

Nika is a native speaker of three languages – Croatian, English and French, and also now learning Italian and German – and always smiling with a sunlit passion for fun and play. She loves nature and everything about it, enjoys drama, horse-riding, free-diving, photography, fossil hunting, mushroom hunting and loves exploring heritage of all environments and countries whilst travelling with her parents. Nika also enjoys an unlikely mix of ballet and judo, contemporary dance as well as folk dancing, ice-skating, artistic roller-skating, inline skating too, skiing ,handball, swimming, baking and “caking”, and enjoys school a lot, especially math and science. Music is great love, being, living. Nika also plays classical guitar, little bit xylophone and percussions, she sings and has also participated in a musical in production and unique representation of Agnès Brosset’s “The Jungle” in Pontivy, Bretagne, France. Piano though is Nika’s greatest love and passion!


Nika, Post-lockdown

Nika has completed her GCSE exams in summer 2021 and has since then completed three A-level subjects this summer (2022), French, Geology and Latin.

In September 2022, Nika joined a 6th form college, where she is pursuing an intensive two-year course to complete eight A-levels. Nika is excelling in her studies, taking a challenging course load that includes Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Computer Science, English Literature, English Language, Maths, and Music. With her dedication and excellent time management skills, Nika is poised to enter one of the top universities in the world, with a goal of potentially attending Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford, or Yale, with 11 A-levels under her belt by the age of 16. Despite her young age and demanding course load, Nika is proving to be a little miracle, consistently ranking among the top students in her class. 😊

Now, at 15, Nika is also beginning her undergraduate journey studying Artificial Intelligence and Robotics BSc (Hons). After which, Nika plans to study Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge and then combine these two fields of study, as well as music, in the hope of making groundbreaking discoveries to help preserve and recover the Earth.

A note from one of Nika’s teachers:

Nika is an exceptional individual. Her drive and capacity for work are unique amongst the students I have taught. Nika is relentlessly hardworking and engages deeply in her study of physics.
Nika sets an example for her peers. She can always be relied upon to make meaningful contributions and ask questions that do not necessarily occur to others. She is naturally curious and has a desire to fully understand the world around her. This, coupled with her ability to think critically makes her highly suited to the study of science.

The way she approaches her study of physics is not limited to this subject. She applies herself with the same rigour across her subjects. Her ability to do so speaks volumes about her organisation. She follows an extremely detailed and extensive timetable in order to keep up with all her commitments. To follow this, and to self-manage these demonstrate a maturity that is rather unusual for someone her age. This is further exemplified by her decision to pursue her 8 additional A-Levels in an online learning environment. This model of education requires a great deal of independence from students – a trait Nika possesses in abundance.

This is also evidenced in her extracurricular endeavours. Her passion and drive extend to a wide range of interests outside the classroom. A prime example of this is her act of founding TAFU – an organisation created to encourage people to take responsibility for the environment. A truly impressive organisation that carries out a wide range of interesting and meaningful projects. Her role as president of the organisation demonstrates her leadership ability.

In addition to her impressive undertakings, Nika is also a genuine and very likable person. She is down to earth, sociable, and always willing to help others. People like Nika are rare. To have the opportunity to work with her and support her on her journey is special.

Chris Dobie
Teacher of physics Minerva Virtual Academy

Nika, the Pandemic & lockdowns

It’s difficult to describe Nika’s life of smiles and interest so we have tried to put summary of her life and interest in the photo gallery below.