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80 make presidential stem fellow USA programme

MOSES WALUBITA, Lusaka
EIGHTY Zambian graduates have been selected in the first phase of the Justina Mutale Foundation Presidential STEM Fellows Programme.
Under the programme, unemployed and under-employed graduates in Zambia, who hold a first degree in a STEM-based subject (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) can access an opportunity to study at Master’s degree level in the USA.
Under the US$10 million Programme, successful candidates of the Justina Mutale Foundation Presidential STEM Fellows Programme for Zambia, will access student finance of up to
US$100,000 per student to cover their Master’s degree study.
The Programme also offers the graduates a scholarship worth US$2,500 to cover a 12-week Preparatory Study with the Nekotech Centre of Excellence based in Ghana, says Dr Justina
Mutale, Founder and President of the Justina Mutale Foundation.
“My team and I at the Justina Mutale Foundation are honoured to run this programme for Zambia and to help our Zambian youth proceed to advanced education, by providing this unique opportunity to access the requisite student finance,” says Dr Mutale.
In a statement from London, United Kingdom, Dr Mutale says over 500 inquiries were received when the programme was first announced in November 2022.
This was followed by about 200 properly completed applications. After thorough review, 80 candidates have duly been selected in the first phase of the programme.
The selected graduates have been awarded scholarships to undergo preparatory study at Nekotech College in Ghana to adequately prepare them for Master’s level study at USA university.
“I’m thrilled, humbled and honoured to have been selected for the Justina Mutale Foundation Presidential Scholarship for STEM advancement in Africa to pursue a Master’s programme in the USA”, says Lucy Meleki, one of the selected candidates.
Lucy Meleki adds: “Ours is to learn and hope to leave a footprint to build smart and resilient communities”.
Another successful candidate, Buchizga M. Ndhlovu says: “Thank you for selecting me as one of the candidates”.
“I am deeply honoured to be given this opportunity and am excited to learn from it. I hope to grow in different areas the programme aims to impact us and the exposure it offers. I look forward to the next phase”, says Buchizga Ndhlovu.
A third candidate, Ivy Ndulu says, “Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this programme. I look forward to commencing and participating in the preparatory programme and completing all relevant phases of the programme”.
To proceed to the second phase of the programme, selected candidates will be required to undergo a 12-week online preparatory study programme with Nekotech College, which is based in Ghana, from January 2023-March 2023.
The preparatory programme is intended to assess the candidates’ academic suitabilities and to adequately prepare them for study at Master’s level in the USA.
Activities at the Preparatory School with Nekotech College will include ensuring that each candidate meets the university Master’s level entry criteria.
The activities will also provide guidance in preparation of documentation, including USA university admission applications; student finance application preparation; pre-departure orientation; USA life-skills boot camp; USA settlement services; and other relevant skills and information that the candidates will need before they can proceed to study at Master’s degree level at a USA university.
Upon completion of the two-year Master’s degree study, the Zambian STEM graduates will be placed in full-time high paying STEM jobs in the USA for three years with expected salaries ranging from between US$60,000-US$150,000 per annum, says Dr Justina Mutale.
Successful candidates will be required to open a dollar bank account, mortgage savings account and to register for a housing programme to enable them to have a stable financial base and own a house in Zambia while they are studying in the USA.
“The Justina Mutale Foundation Presidential STEM Fellows Programme aims to provide upward social mobility to Zambian youth, who would otherwise have no means of getting up the academic, social and economic ladder”, says Dr Mutale.
The Justina Mutale Foundation Presidential STEM Fellows forms part of the African Presidential STEM Fellows Programme, which is run as a Fellowships Programme for African Presidents, former Presidents; Vice Presidents; Royalty; Foundations; and Billionaires.
The African Presidential STEM Fellows Programme has been running successfully in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Malawi since 2018, says Dr Mutale.
According to Dr Mutale, the programme is now being rolled out to 10 more African countries including Zambia and the seven countries in the Eastern African Community.
The programme offers a unique opportunity for unemployed and under-employed graduates in Zambia to be enrolled in a USA university and placed in companies for professional work as part of the work-study programme after graduation.