From farm to classroom: Emmanuel Nworie, first-class mathematician, bags PhD scholarship in US

Emmanuel Nworie, a first-class mathematics graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, has bagged a fully-funded scholarship at a university in the United States.

TheCable had reported how Nworie tilled the soil in Ebonyi state owing to poverty and a lack of a platform to utilize his knowledge.

The 27-year-old, who graduated with a cumulative grade point average of 4.92/5.00, had experienced a life of hardship prior to his application for the Michael Taiwo (MT) Scholarship.

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“I started having challenges in 2005 when we struggled with the health of my dad. He gave up in January 2009. I have long wanted to be a mathematician. But after my dad passed away, I was deterred because at some point when I was trying to save for undergraduate studies and after two years I couldn’t save enough, so I was frustrated,” he had said in an interview with TheCable.

Michael Taiwo, a US-based Nigerian and sponsor of MT Scholarships, alongside Suraj Oyewale, founder of JarusHub, a career and education platform, identified Nworie during the selection of candidates for the scholarship.

The UNN graduate emerged as one of the 23 candidates selected from a pool of 1,509 applicants for the scholarship which covers costs for application fees and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) — a requirement for graduate application for some courses in the US.

In a statement on Tuesday, Taiwo announced Nworie’s selection for a fully-funded Ph.D. in mathematics at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas.

He said the first-class mathematician received three offers from universities in the southern part of the US.

From farm to classroom: Nworie, first-class mathematician, bags PhD scholarship in US

“Today, I am pleased to announce that Emmanuel Chinweuba Nworie has accepted a fully-funded offer to study for his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. SMU is a prestigious private research university. Emmanuel prefers locations with warm weather. He received three great offers, all from schools in the southern part of the US,” he said.

“Mentors are our secret sauce. It is hard to exaggerate the role Dr. Busayo Aworunse, Emmanuel’s assigned mentor, played in delivering the outcome we celebrate today. Busayo, thank you. Help me congratulate Emmanuel. I cannot wait to see what he does with a Math Ph.D. from SMU!”

Speaking with TheCable, Taiwo described Nworie’s achievement as remarkable.

He said he still feels “the rage and sadness I spoke about a couple of months ago, but I feel happy for him in particular and hope in general that we can make a difference”.

“He is going to one of the best universities in the world. SMU is a very expensive school; more expensive than Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale. He will be schooling with people from the richest families in the world. This is the kind of exposure we (the MT Scholarship team) and he felt like he needed, so he can think big with his God-endowed brain,” he said.

“It costs over $75,000 per year to attend SMU. Emmanuel won’t pay a single dollar out of this. In addition to this, he will be given a very generous stipend to cater to his living expenses. The interesting thing is that he got three of this type of offers from Southern Methodist University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and the University of Texas at Dallas.”

When asked about his advice for other distinguished graduates who share similar stories like Nworie, Taiwo said such people should endeavor to utilize the internet to access available opportunities.

From farm to classroom: Nworie, first-class mathematician, bags PhD scholarship in US

“I would say they should keep up hope and try to move to a city where they can have access to the internet. As you can remember from Emmanuel’s story, his breakthrough came because he was in Enugu during the time the application window for the annual Michael Taiwo Graduate School Application scholarship was open,” he said.

“If he had been at his farm in Ebonyi, he would have missed this generation-changing opportunity. So my advice is that they should relocate to where they can get access to information, i.e. the internet.”