A 16-year-old female student of Top Faith International School, Akwa Ibom, Orevaoghene Whiskey won this year’s edition of the Interswitch National Science competition among secondary school students nationwide.
She is the first female student to win the annual competition, which entered fourth edition this year.
Interswitch Spark science competition is an initiative of Interswitch Nigeria, integrated payments and digital commerce platform company as part of its social intervention projects on education in Africa.
By winning the star prize, Whiskey received N7.5 million in scholarship to study at any university of her choice, among other exciting prizes.
Adesayo Elumaro of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State, and Precious Akinyemi of Rhema Chapel International School, Oyo State won the second and third prizes and went home with N4 million and N1 million respectively also in scholarship.
The Chief Customer Experience Officer of Interswitch Nigeria, Oremeyi Akah, who announced the results in a statement, said the essence of the competition is to identify and reward excellence among secondary school students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and encourage many more students into STEM education.
She said over 20,000 students across the country sent in applications this year for the completion and that all of them went through many stages starting with a pre-qualifying stage to preliminary, quarter, semi-final and final stage where the top three winners emerged.
While recalling that the quiz competition were held on some television stations in the country, she said prizes were presented to winners at an award ceremony held in Lagos.
She explained that research particularly by African Development Bank has shown that less than 25 percent of African higher education students are pursuing STEM-related career fields and that this development could hinder many talents to acquire the necessary tech skills to drive innovation on the continent now and in the future.
She said such huge gap could be reduced significantly through initiatives such as the InterswitchSPAK science competition.
She congratulated the winners and urged them and those who couldn’t make it to the final to continue to give their studies deserved attention.
She disclosed that the total N12.5 million in scholarship won by the top three winners was to help them to fund their higher education.
She said the company had so far given out N50 million as prizes to this course and to 12 students in the last four years, adding that it would sustain the contest and other contributions made towards lifting the economy of Nigeria and Africa by extension.