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U.S. Embassy Delegation Sensitizes FUL Students on Cultural and Educational Opportunities in the United States

The Federal University Lokoja (FUL) has on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, hosted some officials from the Public Affairs Section, United States Embassy, Abuja who were in the University to sensitize and interact with students of the Faculty of Science on cultural and educational opportunities in the United States.

One of the resource persons from EducationUSA Advising Center, Malate-Ann Atajiri said there are a lot of opportunities for students who are interested in pursuing their undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the United States of America, especially those who fall in the category of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), stating that there are funds available to help students finance their studies in the U.S.

EducationUSA is a U.S. Department of State network of over 425 international student advising centers in more than 175 countries. The network promotes U.S. higher education to students around the world by offering accurate, comprehensive, and current information about opportunities to study at accredited Postsecondary Institutions in the United States.

EducationUSA has a holistic admission policy and as part of the application requirements, an applicant must have a strong GPA/5, ability to perform well in the standardized test - GRE (Graduate Record Examinations), proficiency in English test, obtain recommendation letter from his/her lecturer and write statement of purpose.  These are quantitative and qualitative information that will be needed in the application.  

Miss Atajiri stated that one of the unique funding opportunities at the Embassy is the Opportunity Funds Programme that look out for high-achieving, low income students to help with the application process such as in writing the statement of purpose, ensuring that they are successful in the GRE test, financing the application fees and payment of flight ticket to U.S. for successful applicants.

She said there are so many opportunities available for high-achieving students who desire to pursue their studies beginning from Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees, even up to Ph.D level, that finance should not be a barrier for such students.   “If you have the dream, there are programmes and resources available to help you finance it”, she said.  She encouraged Federal University Lokoja students who are in their final year and those with Bachelor’s Degrees in the STEM category to apply, stating that this year’s application which opened since April 1, 2018 will close on June 30, 2018.  However, students who are not in their final year should be prepared and look out for such opportunities in the subsequent years.

Similarly, Mr. Diran, a Fellow of the Mandela Washington YALI Programme (Young African Leaders Initiative) took ample time to enlighten the students on his Network Programme.  According to him, YALI Programme is an initiative of the United States Government, meant to help and invest in young Africans with certain level of training, network and exposure.  It is broken into three (3) strands; YALI Network - a virtual community of young Africans doing well in their endeavours and are willing to share ideas, YALI Network Hubs - face-to-face meeting with members of the network for collaboration with people of similar interest, and the Training strand known as the Regional Leadership Centers which provide in-person and online training throughout the year in business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership and public management.

The Team was led by Mr. Laurence J. Socha who is the Cultural Affairs Officer, Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria.  Mr. Socha said he was very delighted to be in Lokoja for the first time.  He described Lokoja, the State Capital of Kogi State as the “St. Louis of Nigeria”, maintaining that Lokoja is a city that has so much history in addition to being the confluence of River Niger and River Benue. Among the officials from the U.S. Embassy was Mr. Aruna S. G. Amirthanayagam, Leader and Counselor for Public Affairs Section.

In her remark, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Angela Freeman Miri, who was ably represented by the Ag. Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Makanjuola Osagbemi, thanked the delegation for choosing Federal University Lokoja for the important lecture.  He urged staff and students to take full advantage of the opportunities.

Highlight of the event include questions and answers session where staff and students asked important questions about the educational opportunities. In attendance were some Management Staff, Dean of Faculty of Science, Dean of Student Affairs, and other members of staff.

The U.S. Embassy officials later had an interactive session with some members of the Exchange Alumni of the Embassy of the United States of America at a lunch in Reverton Hotel, Lokoja.

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