21 bright students sent to US

HARARE - Twenty-one academically-talented but economically disadvantaged Zimbabwean students have received over $5,6 million in scholarships from various American colleges and universities where they will pursue studies over the next four years.

US ambassador Bruce Wharton made the announcement last week during a send-off ceremony for the students, all of whom are graduates of the United States Achievers Programme (Usap), entering its 14th-year of assisting academically gifted student leaders from economically disadvantaged backgrounds negotiate the application process to top US colleges and universities.

“This group represents over 300 Usap students who have received scholarships after successfully completing the United States Achievers programme. And their achievements represent the United States has committed over $70 million to provide quality higher education to Zimbabwean Usap students who have made an impact in various aspects of Zimbabwean life,” said Ambassador Wharton.

Since the establishment of Usap at the US Embassy in Harare in 1999, over 300 Usap students have earned full scholarships covering tuition and fees, room and board, books and other expenses for four year bachelor degree studies.

Award-winning human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa was guest of honour at the event which was witnessed by the students and their parents and relatives. Usap students who have graduated from the US and have returned to work in a variety of capacities in Zimbabwe were on hand to witness the event.

This year, 21 students are being recognised for completing the programme. The students earned a combined total of $5,6 million in scholarships over four years.

Among them are five MasterCard Foundation Scholarship recipients who will study at Michigan State University, Arizona State University and University of California at Berkeley.

The United States Achievers Programme (Usap) is a year-long learning experience for economically disadvantaged but academically gifted Zimbabwean students in their Upper Sixth-year who exhibit leadership potential and an ethos of giving back to their community. 

Through seminars and workshops, Usap empowers the students to negotiate the application processes and gain scholarship funding to top American universities and colleges.

Usap finances all costs of the application process, including registration fees for required standardised examinations, visa fees and air tickets and provides free membership to the Education USA Advising Centre.

“The experience of Usap students studying in the United States over the past 13 years has been exceptionally positive,” said Rebecca Zeigler Mano, Education USA country coordinator.

“Academically, they have performed extremely well, and many have worked with professors as teaching assistants or in academic research, especially in Maths and Science fields. Socially they have been engaged in, and have spearheaded, a wide variety of initiatives — clubs, sports, music and dance troupes, and community service and leadership activities on campus and in their surrounding communities.

“We are very proud of their collective accomplishments and look forward to the positive change they have already started to implement in Zimbabwe.”


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