Extraordinary Scholarship for Kenyan Pharmacy Student

Posted on 25 October 2010

A young Kenyan from a “humble background” is to be given the chance of a lifetime to study Pharmacy at a UK university, thanks to a unique sponsorship scheme drawn up by Keele University and global pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis.

Myron Odingo will begin his studies at Keele this month after winning the fully funded place at the Staffordshire university.

He had to undergo a rigorous selection process to be awarded the sanofi-aventis Scholarship for the four-year MPharm Pharmacy degree at Keele.

The scholarship covers the cost of tuition fees, on-campus accommodation, a contribution to living expenses and airfares.

Professor Steve Chapman, Head of the School of Pharmacy, said:”Even with bursaries many gifted young students from Kenya just can’t afford to come here to study. This is an extraordinary offer that allows an exceptional student the chance to study here in the UK.”

Hundreds of candidates from Kenyan state schools applied for the scholarship but only 20, who met the stringent selection criteria, based on academic excellence and experience of a broader contribution to the community, were invited to sit a written examination. Five were shortlisted for interview and a presentation and 19-year-old Myron was selected for the place.

Myron, who studied at Starehe Boys’ Centre in Kenya, said: “I come from a humble background – my father is currently jobless and my mother runs the family, while still doing her studies under minimum wage.”

While studying, Myron gave up full vacations to do voluntary community service work in hospitals and a municipal library. And he has been working for a volunteer service programme conducting interviews in the Kibera slums to help in research aimed at “improving the living conditions of the less privileged in society”.

David Wachira, Senior Admissions Master at Starehe, said: “I strongly recommend Myron to you as a vibrant, well-mannered, intelligent and talented young man who will definitely make good use of this opportunity.”

Ty Hughes, Regional Business Director Midlands, sanofi-aventis said: “Sanofi-aventis has a history of working with universities, such as Keele, that are respected for their work in the healthcare sector.  It gives me great pleasure today to see the results of this particular partnership in such a deserving student as Myron. I’m looking forward to watching his progress throughout the programme, and onto his future career.”