Orevaoghene Whiskey of Top Faith International School, Akwa Ibom State, has been crowned the best STEM student in Nigeria, following the conclusion of the fourth edition of the InterswitchSPAK National Science Competition, a CSR initiative of Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company, Interswitch.
Whiskey, 16, won the grand prize of N7.5 million in scholarship, among other exciting prizes, making her the first female winner of the national competition show in its four-year television run.
Coming in second and third-place were Adesayo Elumaro of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State, and Precious Akinyemi of Rhema Chapel International School, Oyo State, who won N4 million and N1 million scholarships respectively.
With over 20,000 applications nationwide from secondary school students who were knocked out during several pre-qualifying stages of the competition, the lucky winners emerged tops owing to their outstanding performances in the competition at different levels including the preliminary and semi-final stages.
The 13-week show, which aired on both domestic and terrestrial television stations, is a platform through which brilliant young Nigerians are encouraged and rewarded for their quest for excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.
Speaking on the essence of the initiative, Oremeyi Akah, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Interswitch, emphasized on the need for more young Africans to tow the STEM path, thereby underscoring the goal ofthe InterswitchSPAK National Science competition.
According to Akah, “Research by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) reveals that less than 25% of African higher education students pursue STEM-related career fields.” Based on this premise, she expressed concern about the retrogressive impact this could pose on Africa’s talent pool which may not be opportune to acquire the necessary tech skills to drive innovation on the continent in the near future.
However, she submitted that through initiatives such as the InterswitchSPAK National Science competition, hope holds sway because, “Interswitch is inspired by its vision of a prosperous Africa, driven by the exchange of value and commerce; an Africa where Africans are equipped with the requisite knowledge to solve the unique challenges faced on the continent.”
She added that the reward and prizes totaled at N12.5 million was a way to fund the “dreams and aspirations” of the winners, as they work towards creating an impactful future for Nigeria and Africa in general.
Last season, 16-year-old Jubril Dokun of Brainfield College, Salolo, Lagos State who snagged the first prize, also emerged among the top ten (10) highest scorers in the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exam (UTME).
With a vision of a prosperous Africa, Interswitch has pledged to provide enabling platforms that encourage the future generation of STEM professionals who will contribute to the growth of Nigeria and Africa at large. This has been evidently demonstrated with InterswitchSPAK rewarding 12 outstanding STEM studentsss with a total of N50 million over the last four years.