The award, now in its second year, recognizes extraordinary achievements of young change-makers from around the world
Iziphozonke Mlambo, a 19-year-old student from Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, currently studying Human Biology at Biola University, California, USA, has been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2022, an annual $100,000 award to be given to one exceptional student that has made a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond.
Iziphozonke Mlambo was selected from almost 7,000 nominations and applications from 150 countries.
The Varkey Foundation partnered with Chegg.org to launch the annual Global Student Prize last year, a sister award to its $1 million Global Teacher Prize. It was established to create a powerful new platform that shines a light on the efforts of extraordinary students everywhere who, together, are reshaping our world for the better. The prize is open to all students who are at least 16 years old and enrolled in an academic institution or training and skills program. Part-time students as well as students enrolled in online courses are also eligible for the prize.
Iziphozonke ‘Izi’ Mlambo was raised in South Africa along with seven other young relatives by his physically challenged uncle after his parents passed away, Izi struggled with health problems and financially – often not being able to afford travel to school – but nevertheless excelled academically and never lost sight of his dream to study Medicine and raise up other disadvantaged young people.
Izi is the co-founder and Vice President of Science Buddies, a non-profit organisation that nurtures young scientists by providing them with the opportunity to participate in global science fairs and competitions while giving them access to professional mentors. To date, it has reached over 100 learners from different backgrounds, connected them to over 50 mentors, and partnered with over 15 science fairs, societies and competitions worldwide. He has also launched a non-profit, The Rising Stars Foundation, which focuses on developing youth and is currently focusing on students with university and bursary applications. Izi has represented South Africa at numerous international competitions and fairs across science, public speaking, and creative writing, and is currently one of the Executive members of the African Students Association at Biola University.
Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg, said:
“Since its launch last year, the Global Student Prize has given incredible students all over the world a chance to share their stories, connect with each other, and reach influencers in education and beyond. Now, more than ever, students like Iziphozonke deserve to have their stories told and have their voices heard. After all, we need to harness their dreams, their insights, and their creativity to tackle the daunting and urgent challenges facing our world.
“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 Iziphozonke. His story is a testament to the crucial role that education plays in building a better tomorrow for us all. It is the key to solving humanity’s greatest challenges, from war and conflict to climate change to growing inequality. As time runs out to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, it is more important than ever to prioritize education so we can face the future with confidence.”
Applications and nominations for this year’s Global Student Prize opened on Thursday 27 January and closed on Sunday 1 May. Students are being assessed on their academic achievement, impact on their peers, how they make a difference in their community and beyond, how they overcome the odds to achieve, how they demonstrate creativity and innovation, and how they operate as global citizens.
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.
The top 10 finalists of the Global Student Prize are expected to be announced in August this year. The winner, who will be announced later in the year, will be chosen from the top 10 finalists by the Global Student Prize Academy, made up of prominent individuals.
If students were nominated, the person nominating them was asked to write a brief description online explaining why. The student being nominated was then sent an email inviting them to apply for the prize. Applicants were able to apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. To join the conversation online follow @cheggdotorg