I, Onuh Haruna, was among the fortunate few Africans to bag the prestigious AUST M.Sc. & Ph.D. degrees on full scholarship from the AUST in 2009 and 2016 respectively. I came from a very humble background in Kogi state, Nigeria, and the AUST full scholarship inclusive of a laptop gave me the desired career fullfilment, and positioned me for excellence in my career. As part of the pioneer class and student leader/president coordinating 48 students in five streams from eight African countries in 2007, I have passionately followed the AUST program and management structure until date. I was exposed to the AUST quality education that combines rigorous academic study, innovative research and engagement in high-level professional activities that are enabled by the support and intellectual involvement of a diverse set of organizational and individual members of both the international and diaspora communities from the academia and industry.Soon after my M.Sc. program, I aligned with the AUST vision and mission statement: to foster sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth and development through the promotion of excellence in science and engineering and their applications, with the view to complement and strengthen national institutions and network with existing institutions/groups.
My name is Dr. Stella Dozie-Nwachukwu, I did my PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja Nigeria. AUST is indeed a great Institution and a blessing to Africa. The University was set up to produce Africa’s torch bearers and great scientists who will help to solve some of Africa’s problems. The students come from all over Africa and they bring in the best professors from around the world to teach and mentor the students. Above all, they offer scholarships to almost all the students and provide good learning atmosphere that enable the students put in their best. The results of these efforts have started manifesting, with AUST graduates being in high demands in many African Universities and Establishments and all over the world. I work in a National Research Institute in Abuja, Nigeria, where I have been able to set up the 1st functional Human Cell Culture Laboratory in the country. Other researchers and some University students come to carry out their cell related researches there. My research group is also at the verge of launching a cheap indigenous drug candidate for the treatment of Triple Negative Breast Cancer, a type of breast cancer prevalent among African women. The work is now at the clinical trial level. All these have been possible due to the training, knowledge and exposure I got from AUST.
The scholarship opportunity AUST availed me set the ball rolling for my budding academic career. Indeed, this experience has been a harbinger of good tidings for me and opened me up to opportunities that were beyond my wildest dreams. It provided the proverbial springboard which has helped launch my professional career in a global scene, and also enabled me to become a role model and source of inspiration to many others. I am extremely grateful for everything.
The caliber of professors and the wealth of knowledge and experience they showered on us during my 18 months MSc program at AUST opened my eyes to the endless possibilities out there. The AUST experience gave me a different exposure to a world that was completely different from what I grew up in. This was my biggest takeaway from AUST and I credit pretty much everything I have achieved so far to that experience. But for the scholarship awarded me, there was no way my parents would have been able to afford the cost of the program; without it, I probably would not be where I am now. AUST was the single best thing to ever happen to me, besides my wife, obviously.
I was one of the beneficiaries of a fully funded program supported in totality by AUST, Nelson Mandela Institution, NMI and the World Bank. The experience I had while on campus was absolute fun, especially as I had to interact and meet new friends from different African countries due to the Pan-African nature of AUST. At AUST, I encountered academic excellence at a high level comparable to what one can find in renowned institutions in USA and Europe. I had the opportunity to interact with and learn from top-notch professors in different fields of science and engineering. At the end of my M.Sc. program in December, 2011, I emerged on top of my class and was fortunate to be awarded a Ph.D. scholarship to study the same course at AUST. In the course of my Ph.D., thanks to financial support from NMI/AUST, I was able to travel to Princeton University, NJ, USA as a Visiting Research Scholar for two months. I equally had the opportunity to visit different African countries like Ghana, Ethiopia and Botswana to participate in conferences, where I presented my research work on ‘The Next Light Bulbs for Africa’. I am indeed utterly grateful for the opportunity and support given to me by NMI/AUST throughout my stay at AUST as a student. Indeed AUST has helped many young African students to actualize their dreams in tandem with what our father Nelson Mandela said that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
AUST gave me opportunity to further my education on a full scholarship package when I had no means to further by myself. Offering a master's program in Petroleum Engineering gave me good fundamentals for the oil and gas industry. The courses taught at AUST are of high standards with lecturers from the diaspora giving us great exposure which is not something one would get in most African universities.
I entered the industry 6 months after graduating from AUST. It was smooth going through the training of my company having received great tutorship from lecturers in AUST. I worked well in my first company and currently doing great in my second company. I've been working as a reservoir engineer for close to 8 years now and this has become a reality for me courtesy AUST full scholarship granted me. I'm so grateful to AUST and the great brains behind its establishment as many of us are doing great wherever we all are. God bless AUST.