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Alumni Update from IRIS President, Bob Anderson

March 29, 2010

IRIS’s founder and president, Bob Anderson, shares an update on YES3 student Abubakar Audu, who studied in Iowa in 2005-2006.

Dear all,

Thursday, I had lunch with Abubakar Audu, one of our former YES students. Abu is from Taraba State, one of the poorest regions of Nigeria. Through the YES Program, he lived with host families and studied at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

He was very intense about his studies and ranked very high in his junior class at Washington. When he returned to Nigeria, he completed his high school and helped out as a mathematics teacher in his rural area.

Because of his high grades at Washington and his strong test results, I was able to convince the administration at the University of Northern Iowa to give him an academic scholarship for tuition. IRIS members in Iowa and Nigerian convinced the
Taraba governor to assist with his expenses.

Abubakar speaks to this year's YES students at the mid-year meeting in Cedar Falls

Abubakar speaks to this year's YES students at the mid-year meeting in Cedar Falls

I had lunch with Abu on Thursday. He has had an excellent first year at UNI with the highest marks possible. He expressed a concern that he may only get a B+ in his writing class. He’ll work to overcome that challenge, but writing in a new language and cultural context is very difficult.

On Thursday, he was also invited to become a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. This is a very significant honor for him and the University of Northern Iowa. He is also a member of the wind and solar energy club at UNI, and they will be competing nationally with a solar car that they have developed. He is also invited to attend a wind energy conference at Iowa State University during the first week of April. Both wind and solar energy will play critical roles as local communities in Nigeria experiment with new ways to meet energy needs.

Abubakar Audu provides an excellent example of opportunities that YES students from Nigeria and Tanzania have gained through this vital State Department program managed by IRIS.  I hope His Excellency, the Governor of Taraba State, will continue to support him with scholarship funds for his living expenses. Unfortunately, the State Department has discontinued the YES Program [for Nigeria and Tanzania] for the coming year. I hope that the YES Program and IRIS’s role will be able to continue in future years. Thanks to each of you for the important role that you have played.


Bob Anderson

One Comment leave one →
  1. Auwal Ahmed permalink
    March 31, 2010 2:58 AM

    Yea, this is the great Abubakar Audu who I considers a gentle, humble, patient and among the smartest people I ever meet in my life. He is really wonderful! I always admire his technical virtuosity and his extraordinary versatility. I am glad Bob Anderson is making a comment about such a great hero. He is my mentor and also among the people that influenced me greatly in my life.

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