As part of the efforts to promote quality science education in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, Chevron co-sponsored the inaugural edition of the Summer Engineering Academy (SEA) virtual conference, organized by the Africa Leadership Academy (ALA). This initiative is designed for highly motivated and talented high school students from Nigeria and Angola, who are interested in a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
A total of 18 students (15 Nigerians and 3 Angolans) from various high schools participated at the event and generated proposals for which they tried to gain investment support by tackling the “Engineering Design Challenge” question: What technology would help my community navigate an epidemic?
Chevron has partnered with ALA since 2016 to support the AfriSTEM programme which is designed to establish an AfriSTEM center of excellence through the recruitment and funding of STEM scholars into ALA’s Diploma programme. A group of Nigerian students at the virtual event won the best presentation award.
Highlighting the objectives of the event, Monday Ovuede, director, CNL/NNPC Joint Venture, who was one of the judges at the conference’s final presentation, conveyed Chevron’s continued commitment to the development of STEM education in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.
“I think the Nigerian students’ performance at the event shows that Nigeria has young talents with the drive and ability for critical thinking. What we need is to continue to support and replicate events like this by providing the necessary artisan and technical support to enable our talented youths to bring their ideas into reality,” he stated.
Ovuede, who described Chevron’s involvement in the programmes as apt and valuable, advocated the establishment of technical competition among Nigerian and African universities in different fields related to STEM to further boost development of the country and the continent.
Also speaking at the gathering, Pedro Cesaltino, Manager, Chevron South Africa Business Unit and the guest Speaker at the closing ceremony of the event, noted that the Summer Engineering Academy represents for the young people a very unique opportunity to be part of what’s going on in the world, and set themselves up to make a big difference.
Explaining further on Chevron’s commitment to STEM, CNL’s general manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Esimaje Brikinn highlighted some of the initiatives embarked upon by Chevron and its partners to advance STEM education in Nigeria. According to him, these efforts include the investment by Chevron and the Agbami parties, of about N8.4 billion on the Agbami Medical and Engineering Professional Scholarships (AMEPS). “Since inception, over 16,300 students from all the states of Nigeria have benefitted from the Agbami Medical and Engineering Scholarships, which has recorded a total of 715 first class graduates. The Agbami parties have also donated 39 science laboratories and nine hybrid libraries to schools in different parts of the country,” he noted.
Brikinn stated that since 2016, Chevron and its Agbami parties have been organizing STEM symposiums and exhibitions in Nigeria with the objective to identify challenges and opportunities in Nigeria’s STEM education reforms and provide strategies to ensure that STEM education is elevated to a national priority.