December 12, 2018

Davis Scholars aim for global impact

The Davis International Scholars Program celebrates its 10th anniversary
by Allyson Irish

2018-2019 Davis Scholars, from left to right, back row: Manqoba Ngcobo, Kotryna Andriuskeviciute, Misha Bilokur, Zakeiya Yusuf, Irura Nyiha, Igor Barakaiev; front row: Davis Scholars Coordinator Lance Odden '57, Olwethu Ngubo, Mariana Kovalik Silva, Emily Ho, Andreea Procopan, Director of Admission Jill Thompson. Photos by Bob Falcetti.

A self-described “low-income immigrant,” Sofia Duque ’11 arrived in the U.S. from Colombia in 2000 with a limited English vocabulary and a steep learning curve. What she lacked in wealth and formal education was more than made up for by her work ethic. Duque was admitted to Andover in 2008, graduated, and went on to the University of Pennsylvania where she spent one year in Botswana as a Fulbright Scholar conducting research on sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Now in medical school in Philadelphia, Duque has plans to pay it forward. 

“Without the Davis Scholarship, I would not have been able to reach many of my goals,” Duque says. “I hope to help underserved minority communities as a future doctor continuing the Davis legacy.”  

Duque is one of 219 Davis Scholars—current and alumni—whose lives have been transformed by the Davis International Scholars Program, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. 

To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, The Davis International Scholars Program recently hosted a three-day program for all current scholars.

Igor Barakaiev, Trustee Amy Falls ’82, Irura Nyiha, Misha Bilokur, Manqoba Ngcobo

The program is open to students from underrepresented countries to help enhance the global and socioeconomic diversity of U.S. boarding schools. Andover is one of five founding members including Emma Willard, Lawrenceville, Taft, and Westminster. Milton Academy joined in 2017. The program is unique in that it provides scholarship funds for international students to attend boarding high schools and for their post-secondary education.

According to Jill Thompson, Andover director of admission and Davis Scholar liaison, the program has far-reaching and positive consequences. “Of course we see and appreciate the impact these students have on our Andover campus,” Thompson says. “And now, 10 years into the program, we are seeing the impact these students are having across the world.”

Currently enrolled at Middlebury College, Anastasiya Prokhorenko ’15 is studying economics, political science, and film studies. “As a recipient of the Davis Scholarship, I am inspired to give back to my community in Ukraine,” Prokhorenko says, adding that she has been mentoring Ukrainian students including current upper Igor Barakaiev ’20.  

In 10 years, Andover has matriculated 49 Davis Scholars; 10 are currently enrolled on campus.

The desire to reciprocate is something that Lance Odden ’57 sees time and again in his role as coordinator of the Davis International Scholars Program. Former Taft Head of School and history teacher, Odden has a deep appreciation of the needs of independent boarding high schools and of high school students.

The program, he says, not only provides a wonderful opportunity for the scholars themselves, but also presents a unique opportunity for peer students to learn from one another. “One of the goals of the program is to expose American students to the strengths and needs of societies around the world,” Odden says. “What better way to do this than to have high school students live with and talk to one another?”

Current Andover Davis Scholars Manqoba Ngcobo, Irura Nyiha, Olwethu Ngubo, Zakeiya Yusuf
Categories: Alumni, Magazine Online

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