The Cummings Africa Foundation (CAF) has awarded its 2022-2023 Academic Year nine fully funded scholarships to students to pursue tertiary studies in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and Agriculture.
Stella Maris Polytechnic University, Starz College of Science and Technology, Smythe Institute of Science and Technology, and the Adventist University of West Africa are a few of the institutions that benefited. The program began in 2017 and has since provided approximately US$120,000 to more than 100 university and college students across the country.
CAF Country Director, Dr. Wede Elliott-Brownell said, “The Cummings Africa Foundation values education and believes that financial constraints should not limit a person from pursuing higher education.”
She noted that the scholarships provide opportunities to economically challenged students, but intellectually rich individuals. “This Program focuses on STEM and agriculture disciplines because of the dearth of these graduates in Liberia. Liberia needs more doctors, engineers, scientists, and agriculturalists to meet its development agenda.”
The Scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence, potential leadership skills, and demonstrated need. Students who are awarded the CAF Scholarships must maintain a “B” average and remain active in their communities.
The Scholarship Program has grown significantly since its inception. Over the next few years, as the scholarship recipients graduate from college and enter the workforce, CAF expects to see measurable and impactful results.
“We put out an application in all the newspapers and then you apply and we go through the applications and make sure you respond to all of the questions and then put you aside. After that, we shortlist and call you for an interview with our panelists. We have a question sheet; they look at your appearance, your diction, and your community service. Our scholarship is for the science program, STEM, Math, Technology, Engineering, and Agriculture, so those are the areas we are looking for because we have a real need in Liberia.”
Jeremiah Joshua Kekula, a past recipient and graduate, studying Civil Engineering at Stella Maris Polytechnic University, thanked the foundation for helping him accomplish his dreams.
“The scholarship is a challenging scholarship. We came from different universities and we had to compete. When I went for the interview, I can’t tell you what happened, standing before people who are knowledgeable about education and having questions across the table. It wasn’t easy to answer these questions,” he said.
In brief remarks, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, CAF Co-founder, said the scholarship is based on merit and not financial aid. He encourages the award recipients to work hard with integrity in order to be successful.
“We want to build Liberia on merits. Liberia will not change because we talk or wish to change it, but hard work and the efforts you apply.”