Organizers double value of award from $50k to $100k due to the extraordinary quality of applications
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Alex Kyabarango, a 24-year-old veterinary student at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, has been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2021. This is a new $100,000 award to be given to one exceptional student that has made a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society and beyond.
Kyabarango was selected from over 3,500 nominations and applications from 94 countries around the world.
The Varkey Foundation launched the Chegg.org Global Student Prize earlier this year, a sister award to its $1 million Global Teacher Prize, to create a powerful new platform that shines a light on the efforts of extraordinary students everywhere who, together, are reshaping our world for the better. The prize is open to all students who are at least 16 years old and enrolled in an academic institution or training and skills program. Part time students as well as students enrolled in online courses are also eligible for the prize.
Together, the Global Student Prize and the Global Teacher Prize will tell inspirational stories from both sides of education. The prizes will shine a spotlight on the great work teachers do in preparing young people for the future and the amazing promise some of the brightest students are showing in their learning and far beyond.
“Congratulations to Alex for reaching the final 50. His story clearly highlights the importance of education in tackling the great challenges ahead – from climate change to growing inequality to global pandemics. It is only by prioritizing education that we can safeguard all our tomorrows. Education is the key to facing the future with confidence,” said Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation.
Lila Thomas, Head of Chegg.org, also hailed Kyabarango.
“In this age of COVID, students like Alex have shown great courage to keep studying and keep fighting for a better future despite huge obstacles. The Global Student Prize has been launched to shine a light on their stories and listen to their voices. After all, it is their dreams, their insights and their creativity that will help solve some of the greatest questions humanity has ever faced,” Lila Thomas said.
“Our finalists this year have a made a huge impact in areas from the environment to equality and justice, from health and wellbeing to education and skills, from youth empowerment to ending poverty.
“We were so inspired by the achievements of these extraordinary students throughout the world that applied for the inaugural Global Student Prize that Chegg chose to double the value of the prize to $100,000.”
Following today’s announcement, the top 10 finalists of both the Global Student Prize and the Global Teacher Prize will be announced in October this year. The winners of both prizes will be chosen from the respective top 10 finalists by the Global Student Prize Academy and the Global Teacher Prize Academy, made up of prominent individuals. The winners are due to be announced at an awards ceremony in Paris in November.
Who is Kyabarango?
Kyabarango, a Veterinary Studies student at Makerere University, Kampala, was born into a farming family in Uganda.
At home, his family did not have electricity, only kerosene lamps. After primary school, Kyabarango was only able to continue to high school by going to live with his older sister in another town. With her help he got a bursary and surprised his classmates by becoming the best student in the school and one of the best in the region.
In high school, Kyabarango decided to become a veterinarian, working hard to become one of the best students in the country and winning a government scholarship. In 2018, while studying, he mobilised a team of young scientists to design a bacterium that can degrade plastics using synthetic biological technology.
Kyabarango now leads and coordinates a group of three iGEM Foundation Ambassadors who work together to promote synthetic biology in Africa and beyond. If he wins the Global Student Prize, he will develop a community laboratory in Uganda that would focus on promoting STEM research in the region.
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