For the 2018/19 academic year, a total of 59 students have won grants; they are enrolled at universities in the UK (39 grantees), the US (4 students), and also in Sweden, Japan, Austria, the Netherlands, and China, with 11 grantees attending higher education institutions in the Czech Republic.
Out of the 59 grantees, 15 are new in the scheme in the current academic year. Most of the grantees are students from Prague (19) and the Central Bohemian Region (8). Other grantees come from the Moravian-Silesian Region (6), the Vysočina Region (5), the Ústí nad Labem Region (5), the Hradec Králové Region (3), the South Bohemian Region (3), and the Plzeň Region, the Liberec Region and the Olomouc Region (two grantees from each). There is one student from the Zlín Region, the South Moravian Region and the Pardubice Region each, and one comes from Somalia.
“The new grantees pursue various fields of study, ranging from solo singing to medicinal chemistry and science to economic policy, law, and the development of computer games,” Hana Halfarová, who heads the Universities and Open Gate projects at The Kellner Family Foundation, described the orientation of the sponsored students. “What all the selected grantees have in common – in addition to their excellent academic results and diverse extracurricular activities – is their strong inner motivation, enthusiasm for the discipline they have chosen, and perseverance,” Hana Halfarová clarifies the criteria based on which the panel has selected the 15 newly sponsored students this year.
One of the new grantees is a graduate from the Open Gate eight-year grammar school, Robert Bihary, who has grown up in a children’s home in Jablonné v Podještědí. “In 2010, I started to attend the Open Gate grammar school thanks to a need-based scholarship from The Kellner Family Foundation, and this opportunity has profoundly changed my life and influenced my view of the world. I have met great people and have been able to pursue my interests, and I have taken away unforgettable experiences. Now, I can continue learning at a higher education institution thanks to the Foundation,” said Robert Bihary, who is in the first year at CEVRO Institut in Prague reading Law in Commercial Relationships and in the ‘zero year’ at Charles University’s Faculty of Law.
Enjoying support provided by the foundation of Mrs Renáta Kellnerová and Mr Petr Kellner, 44 students in higher years at higher education institutions continue in their studies. The Foundation has been sponsoring them for the second or third year; four of these students have received scholarships for the fourth year and two medical students have been receiving financial support for five years. “I decided to study medicine in the wake of my experience from volunteer traineeships at the spinal unit of the Motol hospital and at the surgery unit of the Shri Ram hospital in Jodhpur, India. I very much wanted to graduate from a medical school that would not only furnish me with knowledge but also emphasise the holistic approach in medicine and partnership between the physician and patient,” said Libor Mysliveček, at fifth year medical student at the University of Bristol. Lukáš Mácha, a grantee who has started a one-year practical experience programme at Jaguar, is evidence of the sponsored students’ high standard and their ability to use acquired knowledge in practice.
The general pattern of the disciplines that the sponsored students go to study at renowned universities continues to be quite stable; this year again, grantees are most frequently students of medical sciences extending into chemistry, biochemistry and other quickly evolving biotechnology fields, followed by engineering and IT students. The third rung on the notional charts is taken by humanities and social sciences, headed by foreign languages. “You can also find a social work student at the University of Edinburgh and a student of sustainable development, a highly current field of interest at present, at the same university among the grantees,” Hana Halfarová mentions some interesting courses selected by the grantees, adding that the knowledge gained at renowned foreign universities may also help to develop the system in the Czech Republic in the future.
The Kellner Family Foundation has posted the profiles of all grantees on the Universities website. Apart from the brief profiles, you can also find blogs describing the impressions and experience of grantees in higher years at university on the website.
In the past academic year 2017/18, eleven students sponsored under the Universities project graduated successfully. Three of them graduated from Czech and eight from foreign universities. The range of the disciplines covered by the graduates is also very broad indeed: social and media communication, international relations, European law, international trade, economics, politics, medicine, psychology, chemistry, and computer sciences. Six of the graduates have completed their schooling with a ‘red diploma’, or its equivalent (NB: depending on the country and university, such diplomas are referred to as summa cum laude, A+, First Class, and First Class Honours).
Attending a foreign university does not have to be only an over ambitious dream. For students who are talented, motivated and hard-working, but lacking sufficient funds, The Kellner Family Foundation has developed the Universities project, under which it provides financial grants to students at prestigious foreign and Czech universities.
Candidates for Universities project grants must submit their grant applications to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees by the end of April of each year. Applications must contain their academic and extracurricular achievements, proof of language proficiency in the form of examination results, a recommendation by a person who has been contributing to the candidate’s academic or artistic development, information about the target university/college, an essay on the student’s plans for the future, and documents proving the candidate’s current financial standing. Great emphasis is also placed on volunteering, i.e. the things the student does for the benefit of their community and society as a whole.
The Foundation’s Board of Trustees decides on grants on the basis of selections and recommendations made by a panel composed of Mrs Renáta Kellnerová, Mr Petr Kellner, Mrs Hana Halfarová, Mrs Petra Dobešová and Mr Petr Chára. In the second round of the selection process, the panel meets with the winning students for personal interviews every year.