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iSI tasks scholars on academic excellence

A non-governmental organisation, the i-Scholar Initiative (iSI) has tasked scholars with the need for academic excellence as they take on and utilise international opportunities.

The scholars were admonished at a recent meet-and-greet event organised by the initiative in Lagos.

About thirty-three (33) scholars from various universities across Nigeria were in attendance.

The gathering also had in attendance some members of the Board of Trustees, Management Committee and Partners for the initiative.

Over 40 of the 2023 cohorts have already secured fully funded graduate programs at various world-class universities.

iSI inspires academic excellence
iSI inspires academic excellence and provides scholarships for young Nigerians seeking overseas education

Narrating his journey in life, President of the initiative, Victor Ogunmola who is trained as a Geoscientist at the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom, recalled how as a young student he was able to maximize international opportunities.

Ogunmola said: “It is important to leverage the available opportunities offered by iSI as a community. In this community, we look after ourselves. We are our brother’s keeper. Please don’t keep to yourself.

“Powered by the generosities of our partners and teaming volunteers, this is an efficiently run organisation. Please don’t be distracted. In your area of career interest or study, we have people with relevant experience within the iSi community who can provide you with the needed assistance in your admission process and graduate programmes. You need to start orientating yourself. You need to collaborate more with other equally self-driven scholars.

“We have the vision to have awarded 1000 plus scholarships by the year 2030.

Since 2019, our focus has primarily been on Nigeria, achieving an impressive 5X growth in sponsorships within the first four years. With an investment of about $160,000, we’ve sponsored over 255 scholars, accessing scholarships totalling over $30 million.  We need to build more capacities to support our continued growth. We will need more mentors, financial donors, and application reviewers. As i-Scholars, you are part of a community that is passionate about your career.

Speaking on the initiative’s scholarships, he noted that: “Our scholarship provides an end-to-end mentorship, covers the cost of standardised tests that are required by foreign universities to qualify for their funded graduate school admissions. iSI also pays a predetermined amount for graduate school application fees for all scholarship awardees.”

A board member, Mrs. Titilayo Olujobi, a banker and certified professional coach, admonished the scholars. She said: “Appreciate what I-Scholar Initiative is doing. Also, replicate what the initiative is doing. Many of you never thought you’d have this opportunity.

“The donors in this initiative are committing their time, finances, and also investing because they believe in you. She urged them to pay it forward. Any assignment you’ve chosen to be part of, do it diligently.”

Also, Mrs. Iyabode Attah, an engineer and a coach for i-scholars on international opportunities, advised the scholars to be self-motivated, confident and passionate while seeking foreign opportunities to advance their careers.

Attah, an iSI board member, urged the scholars to be prepared for challenges as they move to the next phase of life.

The beneficiaries, in their separate remarks, thanked the iSI for access to international opportunities while assuring them to make judicious use of the opportunities.

A graduate of Economics from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Chibuzor Obi said: “I-Scholar is a vibrant community of talented young people who are passionate about the success of African students.

“I see it as a pipeline to build and nurture talents interested in pursuing advanced education in the diaspora. I especially like the fact that the organization doesn’t leave you once you begin graduate school, they’re there every step of the way. I am proud to be part of the movement and am enthusiastic about giving back in ways that will expand the organization’s footprint. I look forward to international opportunities that will help me meet and connect with other young talents like me committed to shaping the future of Education in Africa.”

Another graduate of Industrial Chemistry from Redeemer’s University, Lese Esther, said: “Isi is a wonderful platform that gave me a crucial boost of confidence during this application process and I look forward to what YPCA has to offer even as I start grad school.”

A Lagos State University graduate, Adekola Oluwaseun Oluwafemi who recently got admitted to the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA (fully funded PhD program in Electrical and Computer Engineering) said: “iSI’s level of commitment and dedication to ensuring that Nigerian graduates become successful is indeed incomparable. I’m grateful to God, to the i-Scholar Initiative, to the Board of Trustees (BoT), and to all iSI partners for their financial support and mentorship given to each of us.

“The all-round support is immense and of great benefit to myself and other selected scholars. Being one of the selected winners of the iSI scholarship award 2023 edition remains one of the best things that have happened to me between 2023 and 2024.

“From the standardized test fee sponsorship, graduate school application fee sponsorship, and end-to-end mentorship from the iSI family, all these saw me through my admission into my graduate school and program of choice.”


This article was originally published in the Nation Newspaper, a Nigerian national daily newspaper.

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