i-Scholars Initiative (iSI) kicked-off a week-long orientation for its class of 2021 scholarship winners, aimed at ensuring that they take full advantage of the opportunities that have been made available to them.
The virtual, but well attended programme featured several speakers who encouraged the new scholars.
In her opening remarks, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Mrs. Tolu Ewherido told the scholarship winners to be proud of their achievements and work harder to give themselves better chances of securing graduate admissions into various universities abroad.
She thanked the partners who have contributed resources towards funding the organisation.
In his keynote, Professor Olayinka, challenged the winners to follow all the advice that would be given to them by their iSI assigned mentors. ore importantly, you too must strive to pay it forward by giving back to those coming after you.” The President of the organisation, Mr. Victor Ogunmola emphasised on the efforts it had taken to ensure resources being donated by partners were properly managed and accounted for.
He emphasized on the numbers of scholars iSI has funded till date, vis-à-vis the number of applications, saying, “we are doing this for the next generation of leaders. We want to do more. We want to offer full scholarships, sponsor visa fees, flight tickets and tuition.” To fund more qualified applicants, he appealed for increased resources from current and potential sponsors. In his remarks, the Vice President in charge of Operations, Dr. Kunle Ojeleye highlighted how iSI has evolved from its initial mostly manual- based process to an automated application review process. He assured the attendees that awardees were chosen through a qualitative process that considers several factors including the applicant’s statement of purpose.
Miss Fahidat Gbadamosi, a member of the 2019 beneficiary of the scholarship who currently volunteers as iSI operations manager, made a public presentation of a book authored by existing beneficiaries to enhance potential students understanding of the graduate school application process.
The book titled ,’The i-Scholar Guide: Your Grad School Journey Compass’, is available as a free download on the iSI website. Some of the scholarship beneficiaries, shared their journey and experiences with iSI.
Ismail Omowale, a first-class graduate of Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) who is a 2021 beneficiary of the organisation’s scholarships described the opportunity as a big motivation for him.
Miss Ayomide Akande, a 2019 i-Scholar who is currently a PhD student of Chemistry at the University of British, Columbia, Canada, urged new beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunities iSI has placed before them.
“The fact that you are here, means you are competent, out of over 800 applications only 50 were selected. So you have what it takes to ace it and so carry the confidence with you”, she said.
Responding on behalf of all partners, Mrs. Olufunmi Hector-Olukoya express excitement at the impact the organisation is making in the lives of young Nigerians. She challenged those in attendance and willing to join the initiative as partners, to do so without hesitation.
According to her, “for persons willing to join the initiative, I will please encourage you to listen to the testimonials of our scholars, if we collectively put in our resources, education will take a different turn.”
The programme featured the recognition of seven 2021 scholars. Announcing their names, the Secretary of the organisation, Mr. Olufemi Nelson Fajolu said the scholars were being honored for their consideration of others.
“These scholars won our scholarships but later realised that they have also won scholarships from other sources. They did not hesitate to ask us to award their scholarships to other well-deserving Nigerians. With such mindset, they have basically embraced the vision of iSI.”
i-Scholar Initiative continues to break new frontiers in its mission to empower and develop the next generation of leaders in Africa. With the organisation’s strategic investment in its scholars, the creative, innovative and healthy pipeline of talents is being built for the growth and development of Africa and indeed Nigeria.