Obama fellowship will benefit millions

2014-08-12 00:00

A DURBAN woman has returned from United States President Barack Obama’s fellowship programme, from which she hopes will benefit up to 2,2 million pupils.

Candice Potgieter (30) was one of over 49 000 applicants from all over Africa to attend the six-week business programme in Indiana.

The applicants were aged between 25 and 35, and were active in the fields of entrepreneurship, public administration and community service.

“It was an incredibly amazing experience that has equipped me with the skills needed to make sure that pupils will be able to access science equipment and our Science Centre in Gateway,” she said.

Potgieter who heads up the Science Centre, said that the 180 000 pupils currently make use of the centre, but with the new skills she attained through the fellowship, she was hoping that up to 2,2 million would now be able to benefit from it.

Holding a postgraduate degree in applied physics and applied mathematics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Potgieter said she came back from the programme enthusiastic about making a difference in South Africa.

“I have been the CEO at the Science Centre for three years and now I know with the correct beneficiaries, the Science Centre will change the lives of pupils who thought they would never be able to study science,” she said.

Potgieter, who is also an executive member on the Advisory Committee to the MEC of Education, spent six weeks doing academic course work and training at the Notre Dame University in Indiana.

Along with 500 other fellow candidates from across the continent, she participated in the Presidential Summit put together by Obama in Washington at the end of July. “It has been a surreal experience. I was taken back but it was an honour to be included in the programme,” she said.

“If you do it right and have the right partners, you can achieve anything,” said Potgieter.

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