By Bianca Iboma-Emefu
Sixteen-year-old student of Top Faith International School in Akwa Ibom, Miss Orevaoghene Whiskey, has been crowned the best Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) student in Nigeria at the fourth edition of the InterswitchSPAK national science competition aimed at encouraging and rewarding brilliant young Nigerians for excellence in the subjects.
The competition is a CSR initiative of Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company, Interswitch.
Whiskey 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.
Adesayo Elumaro of The Ambassadors College, Ota in Ogun, and Precious Akinyemi of Rhema Chapel International School, Oyo State, emerged in second and third positions, and a cash prize of N4 million and N1 million scholarships, respectively.
Owing to their outstanding performances in the competition at different levels, including the preliminary and semi-final stages, the winners beat over 20,000 secondary school students who participated during several pre-qualifying stages of the competition.
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.
Chief Customer Experience Officer of Interswitch, Oremeyi Akah, stated that the essence of the initiative was to engage and discovered budding talent in Science subjects.
Akah emphasised the need for more young Africans to tow the STEM path, thereby underscoring the goal of the InterswitchSPAK national Science competition.
She added that research by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) reveals that less than 25 per cent of African higher education students pursue STEM-related career fields. Based on that, 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.
Akah stated that the reward and prizes totalling N12.5 million were 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.
In the last edition, Jubril Dokun, 16, of Brainfield College, Salolo, Lagos, who got the first prize, also emerged among the top 10 highest scorers in the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exam (UTME).