The Shakhmardan Yessenov Science and Education Foundation research internships program competition is now complete. Having united three laboratory-based scientific internship programs into one, for the first time the foundation is announcing 17 winners at once. The future scientists will spend the summer gaining experience and new skills in the best laboratories of the world. Since the foundation’s establishment in 2013, 79 students from Kazakhstan have been awarded scientific grants.
This year we received a record 238 applications for the program. It was extremely difficult to select the 40 strongest applications for the second round, as we received a large number of deserving applications. Students from KBTU, KazNMU, Nazarbayev University, KazNU, KarSU, ENU, and Satbayev University were invited to the second rounds in Almaty and Astana,” said the foundation’s project manager, Roumissa Bashaeva.
Among the winners this year, the biggest group comprised six students – studying biology and medicine. The list of winners also included physicists, chemists, mathematicians, a future specialist in electronic and computer engineering and even a student with a double specialization in computer science and mathematics. In addition to Astana and Almaty, students from Semey, Karaganda and Kostanay also won.
Aivar Abrashuly, a 2nd year student at Nazarbayev University shared his impressions of the competition with us:
“I am very glad that I managed to win a grant for a scientific internship. Honestly, I had mixed feelings after the second round. I was pleased with how I performed during the selection, but I still wasn’t sure I had succeeded because the level of other participants was also very high. Even if it was luck, I still managed to get to the final. I really appreciate the opportunity given to me and for my part I will try to prove myself in the best possible way during the internship”. Continuing last year’s trend, girls made-up the majority of winners of this year’s competition, taking 10 of the 17 grants.
Elina Darina – a 1st year graduate student at KarSU, who reflected in her essay on gender inequality in science, gave us her thought about the competition.
“I was very surprised by the large number of girls participating in the competition. I am extremely happy that the scientific work and projects of the girls are on the same level as the guys’ – not only in medicine and biology, but also in areas that are traditionally considered to be “male” (IT, physics, etc.). I hope that thanks to such projects the number of women scientists in our country will grow and not only in terms of quantity, but in terms of quality too”.
The new winners of the competition will now arrange their visas and find out which laboratories they will be trained in. The universities where students from Kazakhstan have completed internships through the foundation’s scientific programs include Princeton, Harvard, Caltech, ETH, MIT, and Oxford, among others.
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