June 12, 2008

Scholarships Connect International Students with Lafayette

Priyanka Nair ’08 and John Mumo ’08 are the first members of the Davis United World College Scholars Program to graduate from the College

For the last four years, the Davis United World College Scholars Program has helped international students pursue a quality undergraduate education at Lafayette. On May 24, Priyanka Nair ’08 from India and John Mumo ’08 from Kenya became the first Davis Scholars to graduate from the College.

Lafayette is one of 88 American colleges and universities that recruit Davis Scholars from the 12 United World College (UWC) campuses throughout the world. The program provides scholarships to students who have proven themselves by completing their last two years of high school at a UWC school. The scholarships contribute up to $10,000 of need-based aid for each scholar per year.

The College currently has 18 Davis Scholars representing 15 countries. They include nine rising seniors, two rising juniors, five rising sophomores, and two incoming first-year students. Their home countries include Albania, the Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Kenya, Moldova, Panama, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Peru, South Africa, China, Senegal, and Zimbabwe.

“Davis Scholars have gone through a rigorous and competitive process to gain admission to one of the UWC campuses,” explains Robert “Skip” Staats, associate director of admissions. “They are some of the best students from their home countries. The international baccalaureate curriculum they study at the UWC is interdisciplinary and writing intensive, like a liberal arts curriculum, and incorporates service learning and extra-curricular activities into the overall program.”

Nair, who received a B.S. in biology, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in cancer biology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City in the fall.

“[The Davis Scholars Program] is a benevolent effort by Mr. Shelby [Davis] that truly helps several young people realize their dreams, goals, and ambitions,” says Nair.

Mumo, who received a B.S. in electrical and computer engineering and an A.B. in economics and business, will shortly begin working as an analyst for Citigroup’s Investment Banking Division in New York City. In the distant future, he plans to return to Kenya and perhaps serve on the Kenyan UWC committee.

Both students have taken advantage of Lafayette’s focus on close student-faculty research. Nair has worked on EXCEL, honors, and independent study projects focusing on cancer research with Robert Kurt, associate professor of biology. She presented her findings at the 83rd annual Pennsylvania Academy of Science meeting in Pittsburgh in the spring of 2007.

Mumo performed EXCEL research on computer-aided design algorithms with John A. Nestor, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. He was also part of this year’s electrical and computer engineering capstone project. Combining engineering and the liberal arts, the students designed a prototype controller for an urban transit system.

  • EXCEL/ Undergraduate Research

Both students have also spent the spring of 2006 studying engineering and German language and culture in a Lafayette faculty-led program at Jacobs University Bremen.

  • Davis United World College Scholars Program
  • Priyanka Nair ’08 Studies Protein’s Role in the Progression of Breast Cancer
  • Senior Design Project Combines Engineering with the Liberal Arts
  • Six Students Study Chemical Engineering, Language, Culture, and Politics in Bremen
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Economics and Business
  • Biology

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