The competition for the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation scholarship programme will open on 25 January. This is the first such competition being held by the organisation in a long time. 17 best students of Kazakhstan will receive a monthly scholarship of KZT 27,000.00. Executive Director of the Foundation Aiganym Malisheva answered questions in connection with the upcoming competition.
How many students have been beneficiaries of the Yessenov Scholarship?
In the seven years (2013-2020) that we have held the competition, 100 young Kazakhstanis have become beneficiaries of the scholarship. We even have one case of a student from Satbayev University – Anar Seiitova, who was awarded the scholarship two years in a row.
Students of what major may take part in this year’s competition?
Any student of a Kazakh university studying natural science or majoring in technical, medical and IT specialties may apply. Second and third-year bachelor’s students, first-year master’s students, or students in their first year of internship are encouraged to apply.
What is the procedure for submitting the application for participation?
All applications and related documents may be submitted online, just like last year. We are in the processing of finalising the application form, and it will be ready by 25 January on our website yessenovfoundation.org.
What will be the stages for the selection of the scholarship competition winners, and on what dates?
The first round will begin immediately after completion of the application process on 27 February. We will review all duly submitted applications and the foundation’s staff and experts invited by the fund will help us evaluate them by 9 March . The most important criteria will be academic performance, the applicant’s scientific potential, as well as activity in the specialty and in student life. We will also take the applicant’s volunteer experience into account. No more than 30 contestants will enter the second round. In the second round, we will evaluate personal qualities, including leadership skills, ability to work in a team, argumentation, ability to quickly analyse new information, organisational skills, and communication skills. We will also take the applicant’s knowledge of languages into account.
Will the second stage be conducted online?
Due to the ongoing pandemic, we have decided to conduct our second round of interviews online. This will be a one-on-one interview of the applicant for the Yessenov Scholarship with an employee of the Foundation.
Last year, due to the pandemic and our inability to send the scholarship winners abroad, two important competitions of the Foundation – scientific internships in the World laboratories and internships in IT startups in USA, were canceled. What awaits these competitions this year?
After consulting with experts, we came up with two options: either close the programme, or transform it into something new that fits with the requirements of the time and the available opportunities. It was important for us to export the culture of Silicon Valley startups, but without actually being there, this became impossible. The major hurdles include the impossibility of full immersion into the business environment, the absence of full interaction with professionals, and the inability to participate live in meetups and conferences to gain practical experience. It was also impossible to visit the headquarters of major industry players. All this is a direct result of the ongoing pandemic. The competition for scientific internships in the World laboratories also depends on the epidemiological situation, the opening of borders and the possibility of obtaining visas to the desired countries.
What other contests does the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation plan to hold in the first half of 2021?
In the first half of the year, we will only hold one competition for the scholarship programme.
When and how do you plan to start and work on sending the 19 winners of the 2020 internships in IT startups in USA and Research Internship programme?
We will invite the winners to start searching for their desired laboratories as early as January 2021. There are fears that the borders of most countries will still be closed to Kazakhstanis even by next summer; meanwhile, universities and laboratories will not be fully operational offline. Therefore, we are considering various alternatives to internships. All bodies around the world that are responsible for organising and conducting scientific research in laboratories are now following the same path.
In the eight years of work of the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation, the organisation has conducted 38 programmes/ projects, eight of which are being implemented on an ongoing basis. During this time, almost one and a half thousand young Kazakhstanis became direct beneficiaries of the Foundation. This year alone, there are 25 beneficiaries of the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation, 20 students of the Yessenov Data Lab Summer School for Young Scientists, four undergraduates and 160 Karaganda students and teachers participating in the English language programme.
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