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I’m happy with my Harvard scholarship but… — Isa Salmanu

Isa Musa Salmanu was born in Kaduna to the family of Wing Commander Musa Salmanu (Rtd) and Hadiza Mohammed. Now 18 years of age, his…

Isa Musa Salmanu was born in Kaduna to the family of Wing Commander Musa Salmanu (Rtd) and Hadiza Mohammed.

Now 18 years of age, his knack for academic excellence has brought him several scholarships that has culminated into getting admission in one of the prestigious universities in the world, Harvard University to study Computer Science.

Isa who is the second child of his parents started his education at NAFOWA Little Angels School before moving on to complete and obtain his Primary School Leaving Certificate at DEPOWA Primary School, (Mogadishu Cantonment) Asokoro, Abuja in 2016.

Before obtaining his primary school certificate, his robust intellect made him to be considered for the Macmillan International Academy in Montgomery, Alabama in the United States of America.

While there, he was in the Honorary Society where he was acknowledged as an outstanding student.

In his last year in DEPOWA, Isa sat for the National Common Entrance organised by the National Examination Council (NECO) and emerged among the top 10 in Kaduna State. This got him shortlisted for an exam for the award of scholarship run by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/Shell Nigeria Petroleum Company (NNPC/SNEPCO Cradle to Career Scholarships).

His stellar performance led him and one other student to be given a scholarship to study at the Premier Academy, Lugbe, Abuja where he continued his streak in academic excellence.

While emerging the best graduating student of the college for the 2023 graduating set with a host of academic garlands, he won seven academic awards in addition to being the valedictorian.

Before then, he posted a remarkable score of 347 in his Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) with 98 in Chemistry; 97 in Physics, 84 in Mathematics and 68 in English. He crowned achievements with 9 Distinctions in his West African Examination Council Senior Secondary School Examinations.

Such stellar performance did not go unnoticed as he got a merit-based scholarship covering tuition and all expenses by the Management of Nile University, Abuja where he enrolled to study BSc Computer Science.

Not satisfied with conquering the two exams as well as the scholarship, he undertook the SAT, a standardised test widely used for college admissions in the United States in 2023, which he scored 1520.

Less than a year into the programme in Nile University, he was offered admission to the prestigious Harvard University in Boston Massachusetts, United States of America for his undergraduate studies.

Before the result was released, Isa could not sleep and stayed up till 12 am due to the anxiety he had on what might be his score. “I was extremely excited when I opened the letter and saw I had been accepted. I didn’t sleep that night because of how excited I was.”

He said he self-studied for the examination for about three months, spending “countless hours each day meticulously brainstorming and editing essays for all the schools I applied to.”

He noted that his family was there to offer their support during the period and served as a bulwark against negative thoughts that arose during the period.

“I am very lucky to have such amazing people by my side.”

Speaking on his plans while in Harvard, he said he wants to deepen his interest in how technology can be applied to help developing communities in Nigeria and worldwide.

“To that end, I plan on majoring in computer science with a possible minor in economics. I hope I will be able to study the intersection between the two disciplines and apply my knowledge to help others at scale. I hope to use the knowledge and skills I gain to give back to Nigeria by using my expertise to develop technologies that cater to the needs of rural communities. I believe that by doing this, I will be helping these communities and Nigeria as a whole to solve its problems.”

While he is expected to start his study there in September, he anticipates a different teaching style from how we taught in Nigeria but expressed confidence in to quickly acclimatise to the new environment.

With the scholarship given to him by the university worth $302,000 ($75,568 per annum), he is expected to pay a remaining $75,800 ($18,950 per annum) for his study which is currently a challenge.

“I am currently seeking support and sponsorship to cover the remaining part of this fee to attain a lifelong dream,” he said.

 

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