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, have 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.
Amiteash Paul and Maya Bridgmanwere 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. 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 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 the 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 and educational waste segregation workshops amongst Indian blue-collar workers in the UAE saw him awarded the Non-Resident Indian of the Year Award in 2018 by Times Network Group and the ICICI Bank. He also campaigns for changed attitudes towards people with disabilities, including the blind and deaf.
The award, now in its second year, recognises extraordinary achievements of young change-makers from around the world
Maya Bridgman is a student at Dubai College, UAE, who 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, and is working with the UAE Ministry of AI 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.
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 Amiteash and Maya 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, the 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. 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 prioritise education so we can face the future with confidence.”
The top 10 finalists of the Global Student Prize are expected to be announced in August this year
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.