50 Young Nigerians Win 2023 Michael Taiwo Scholarship Award—–The Michael Taiwo Scholarship Programme has awarded scholarship to 50 young Nigerians and six others from other African countries in its 2023 scholarship award.
The founder of the programme, Dr Michael Taiwo, a Nigerian-born U.S.-based chemical engineer, disclosed this in a statement issued by his Press Secretary, Mrs Nneka Nwaogwugwu, in Port Harcourt on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the scholarship commenced on Oct. 1, 2019, with seven Nigerian beneficiaries.
The scope of the programme was expanded to include non-Nigerians in 2021.
Taiwo said that the 2023 application, which started from June 26 and ended on July 6, had 8,830 applicants from 49 countries.
According to him, the screening considers an applicant’s background, reason for applying, undergraduate GPA, performance at an administered written test, among other factors.
Taiwo said that 56 applicants from different countries emerged winners, adding that 50 of them are Nigerians, while the rest come mostly from other African countries.
He spoke on his inspiration for establishing the programme.
He said: “When I reflect on my own career from primary school through Ph.D to becoming a professional, the most challenging part was applying to a graduate school abroad.
“And what made it difficult was both the cost and the means to pay for the application.
“I decided to help those following me by easing their access to world class higher education.”
Taiwo further said that the objective of the scholarship was to financially support students with graduate school application to world-class universities.
He said that the programme included the payment of application fees to schools and payment of standardised tests like Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign student (TOEFL).
“We advertised “GRE Scholarship” on October 1, 2019, and were surprised by the outcome.
“In a little over a week, we received over 1,000 applicants, this showed there was a need for this service and thus we decided to make it annual.
“We have since held it annually even though the formal incorporation of the organisation came much later in September 2022,”.he said.
Taiwo said the goal was to run the scholarship “in perpetuity”, hoping that it should outlive him.
“As such, the scholarship team is working on different funding models to make this happen.
“l want to see more black people do amazing things on the global stage.
“lndians are running the biggest companies in the world, thanks to their attending good U.S. universities after completing their undergraduate studies in their home countries.
“I want to see Africans achieve something similar, this is how we can change the narrative.
“I know we have many brilliant minds; they just need the chance to prove themselves,” Taiwo said.
He called for partnerships with individuals, organisations and corporate bodies to achieve a 100 per cent success in placing the winners into the best universities in the world.
One of the beneficiaries of the programme, Miss Jennifer Hilejime, a First Class graduate from Benue State, expressed gratitude to the organisers of the programme.
Hilejime spoke about her poor background and how she could not fund her graduate school application after completing her undergraduate studies in 2022.
Another beneficiary, Mr Innocent Osuya, from Delta state, said he was reluctant at first to apply for the programme, when he heard that it was owned by a Nigerian.
Osuya said he feared that he stood no chance to make the scholarship but was surprised that he made it.
Osuya is currently running his Doctoral Studies in Biological Sciences at the Florida State University, where he got a Teaching Assistantship that was paying for his tuition and living expenses.
Another beneficiary from Kano State, Mr Abubakar Mohammed, said that the scholarship helped him to realise his life ambition for a Doctoral studies in Chemistry.
Mohammed is presently at the Stony Brook University, New York, U.S. courtesy of the scholarship.