Three Nigerians awarded Gates Cambridge Postgraduate Scholarship - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Friday, April 23, 2021

Three Nigerians awarded Gates Cambridge Postgraduate Scholarship

Fifty-four of the world’s most academically exceptional and socially committed young people from 28 countries, including two Nigerias, have been selected as Gates Cambridge Scholars.

They will begin their postgraduate courses at the University of Cambridge this October.

The Nigerians scholars are Chiedozie Ibekwe, who will do an MPhil in Public Policy and Chioma Ngonadi, enrolled for a PhD in Archaeology.

The 54 successful candidates were selected from a total pool of 3,535 applicants on the basis of their intellectual ability, leadership capacity, academic fit with Cambridge, and their commitment to improving the lives of others. Departments in Cambridge nominated candidates for the Scholarships and, of these, 106 were interviewed in Cambridge in late March (in person, by Skype or by telephone) by four panels of interviewers drawn from across the Schools in the University.

Forty one of these were for PhDs and 13 for MPhils [masters]. The Scholarships were split evenly between genders.

Ibekwe says the technology infrastructure deficit he observed growing up in Nigeria motivated him to study engineering at the University of Mississippi.

His honours thesis, which proposed a strategy to develop an affordable portable generator for the Sub-Saharan Africa market, exposed him to the problems of manufacturing in countries like Nigeria due to infrastructure and human capital challenges. His passion for manufacturing attracted him to the Operations Management Leadership Program at General Electric (GE) where he spent two years training in manufacturing and supply chain management.

In 2013, he had a rewarding experience in Nigeria supporting the local supply base development for GE in preparation for a new manufacturing plant. This experience helped him to appreciate the multiplier effect of manufacturing in terms of job creation.

He is currently pursuing a master’s in supply chain management at Pennsylvania State University while working for GE Oil & Gas in procurement. After studying public policy at Cambridge, he plans to advise African policymakers on crafting and executing effective industrial policies to boost manufacturing and diversify African economies.

He says: “My career goal is to use manufacturing, with localised supply chains, to drive development in Africa.”

Ngonadi was born and raised in Anambra State and got a First Class Honors in Archaeology from University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In 2010, she completed my MA in Archaeology from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania funded by SIDA/SAREC through African Archaeology Network.

Her MA research was on a comparative study of the pottery from sites in coastal Tanzania.

She focused on Mwangia pottery, a variant of Early Iron Working pottery (EIW) and compared it to the subsequent Triangular Incised Wares (TIW) tradition. Analysis of pottery showed that TIW has closer cultural affinities to Mwangia than the preceding traditions (Limbo and Kwale). She says: “My love for archaeology has taken me to Comoros Island, Uganda and Tanzania.

” At Cambridge, my PhD thesis seeks to examine the origin and development of farming over the longue duree in Lejja, southeastern Nigeria. Through ethnography, survey and excavation, my study will establish andoutline a cultural sequence with focus on the last 3,000 years and thus analyse broad scale changes in agricultural practices of these communities over this period.”

The subjects of the research of the scholars range from aortic aneurysms, breast cancer and childhood leukaemia to sexual violence in India, bilingualism and autism, identity and nationhood in Ukrainian modernist writing and sustainable development.

The 54 Scholars chosen in the International selection round will join 40 new American Gates Cambridge Scholars who were selected after interviews in the USA in February.

Professor Barry Everitt, Provost (CEO) of the Gates Cambridge Trust, said: “We are delighted to have awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarships to 54 outstanding individuals from such a wide spread of countries and backgrounds. The Scholars are truly remarkable and inspiring individuals and showed at interview that they fit the mission of the Scholarship by their commitment to using their academic skills and leadership capacity to improve the lives of others. We look forward to welcoming all 94 new Scholars to Cambridge in October and to seeing their future impact as Gates Cambridge Alumni”.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship was established by the generosity of a $210m donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, the largest single donation to a UK university.

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