Two UAE-based students have made it to the top 50 shortlist for a $100,000 global award. The Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2022 is given to an exceptional student who has made a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond.
The two students are Amiteash Paul, a 19-year-old student originally from Kolkata, India, currently studying biology at New York University Abu Dhabi; and Maya Bridgman, a 17-year-old Canadian studying computer science, psychology, biology and mathematics at Dubai College in Al Sufouh.
Amiteash Paul and Maya Bridgman were selected from almost 7,000 nominations and applications from 150 countries.
The Varkey Foundation partnered with Chegg.org to launch the Global Student Prize last year, a sister award to its $1 million Global Teacher Prize. The prize is open to all students who are at least 16 years old and enrolled in an academic institution or training and skills programme. Part-time students as well as students enrolled in online courses are also eligible for the prize.
Amiteash Paul is passionate about applying science to solve environmental problems, galvanising students, white and blue-collared workers, and the community to follow waste segregation and recycling practices to aid conservation of resources and sustainability. His efforts have won acclaim including the DEWA-KHDA Conservation Award for successfully lowering energy and water wastage in school. His educational waste segregation workshops among Indian blue-collar workers in the UAE saw him awarded the Non-Resident Indian of The Year Award in 2018 from Times Network Group and the ICICI Bank. He also campaigns for changed attitudes towards people with disabilities, including the blind and deaf.
Maya Bridgman is passionate about increasing the accessibility of computer science, AI, and machine learning for all students, regardless of their age, gender, location, income, and experience. Maya established the Dubai AI Society, which has now grown into a global community of over 600 students across four continents. She is working with the UAE Ministry of Artificial Intelligence to bring an AI workshop to over 500 schools in Dubai, and is a regular delegate and speaker at Model Congress and Model United Nations conferences.
The top 10 finalists of the Global Student Prize are expected to be announced in August.
Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg, said: “Our finalists this year have made a huge impact in areas from the environment to equality and justice, from health and wellbeing to education and skills, from youth empowerment to ending poverty. I can’t wait to see how this year’s inspiring cohort of changemakers use this platform to make their voices louder, and their work lift up even more lives”
Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said: “I extend my warmest congratulations to Amiteash and Maya. Their stories are a testament to the crucial role that education plays in building a better tomorrow for us all.”
Last year’s winner was Jeremiah Thoronka, a 21-year-old student from Sierra Leone, who launched a start-up called Optim Energy that transforms vibrations from vehicles and pedestrian footfall on roads into an electric current. With just two devices, the start-up provided free electricity to 150 households comprising around 1,500 citizens, as well as 15 schools where more than 9,000 students attend.
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