COVID – 19 changed things for the Fondation Zdenek et Michaela Bakala in Switzerland but did not slow it down. For the first time since its founding in 2011, the foundation selected its scholarship recipients via online interviews instead of meeting face to face.
After a detailed assessment of a total of 30 applications, which came along with the recommendations of seven of Switzerland’s most prestigious universities, 15 students advanced to the narrowest round of the competition. Online interviews with students were attended by the Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, Michaela Bakala, the Secretary General of the foundation Ursina Boulgaris, the foundation’s Board Members Patricia Legler and Phillippe Rudloff, and for the first time the President of the Swiss foundation’s alumni Giedre Lideikyte – Huber.
“I am incredibly pleased that even the global pandemic has not stopped talented young people from Switzerland on their journey to a quality education. Although modern technologies will never fully replace face-to-face meetings, it is amazing that we could virtually meet this year’s applicants and get acquainted with their study goals and professional dreams. I am proud that both our Czech and Swiss foundations have built such a reputation to attract high-quality students with ambitious plans for the future ahead of them. Zdenek and I enthusiastically follow the academic and professional achievements of our fellows. I warmly congratulate all those who have succeeded this year. I believe that they will enrich the world not only because of their quality education, but also because of their human qualities.” said Michaela Bakala.
This year’s scholarships were applied proportionally to both male and female students. This year saw an increased interest in American universities than their British contemporaries. Given the context of the global pandemic students had a noteworthy increase of interest in the fields of public health and medicine. After evaluating the online interviews, the selection committee ultimately decided to award scholarships to all 15 applicants.