The 2017 Marina van Damme Scholarship goes to Moreblessings Shoko, an ITC alumna. This year is the fifteenth time this annual scholarship has been awarded to an outstanding and ambitious University of Twente alumna, in support of her professional development.
Ms Shoko wants to strengthen the position of women in Zimbabwe, by giving them the opportunity to pursue full-time education. One particular problem she addresses is that girls often miss a quarter of their time at school, due to their monthly period. Ms Shoko wants to prevent such setbacks by developing new, reusable and hygienic sanitary towels. She also wants to establish a drone-based distribution system to reach the remotest corners of the country. She also wants to use these drones to gather geo-information for further scientific research, and for practical applications in agriculture and industry.
After carefully considering the matter, the jury unanimously decided to select Ms Shoko as the winner of the 33 entries. The jury is impressed by her achievements, her ambition and her dream. The scholarship will enable Ms Shoko to undergo drone flight training, and to buy her first drone.
Moreblessings Shoko was born in Zimbabwe in 1980. In 2010, she obtained a Master’s in Earth Observation and Geo-Information Science for Geomatics at the University of Twente’s Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC). Prior to that, she obtained a Bachelor’s in Surveying and Geomatics at Midlands State University in Zimbabwe, in 2004. On 14 July 2017, Ms Shoko hopes to obtain a doctoral degree at the University of Cape Town’s Geomatics Division.
The University of Twente Funds Foundation is an independent foundation that supports the University of Twente. It does so by acting as the driving force behind new developments and by facilitating activities that cannot be funded from mainstream resources. Part of this involves a focus on outstanding results by alumni, in the form of various awards and fellowships. The Marina van Damme Scholarship is financed from a Fund set up in the name of Dr Marina van Damme, who became the first engineer to obtain a doctoral degree from what was then the ‘Twente Technical College’, in June 1965. The Marina van Damme Scholarship consists of a cash prize of €9,000 and a certificate.