Esias Bedingar, UK international alum from Chad, in partnership with the University of Kentucky, officially launched the Esias K. Bedingar Fund on April 17 during UK’s first-ever 24-hour Giving Day. The fund was established by Bedingar to provide financial support to international African students throughout their undergraduate studies at UK.
In 2014, Bedingar come to the University of Kentucky from Chad knowing no English. Within a few months on campus, he completed the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Three and a half years later, Bedingar graduated from UK with a bachelor’s degree in public health from the UK College of Public Health and a minor in neuroscience. A year post-graduation, Bedingar is now completing his master’s at Harvard University.
During his time at UK as a Chellgren Student Fellow and student in the UK Lewis Honors College, Bedingar was able to take many opportunities that combined his passion for medicine and global health. “Combining the two really gave me an idea to push my research further and wanting to combine my two interest together for the future to do research on cerebral malaria,” he said.
At UK, Bedingar received many awards, including the 2018 Otis A. Singletary Outstanding Senior Award and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Throughout his years as a wildcat, Bedingar was an outstanding student and until this day he continues to show great dedication and involvement in his community. Because of the scholarship support he received as a UK undergraduate international student, Bedingar was able to learn and grow in his career – he presented in conferences and took advantage of a myriad of undergraduate research opportunities.
“Without all those scholarships, I don’t think I would have been able to conduct all the research I conducted or even been able to go and present my research to those different conferences that I’ve been to, or been able to travel to different conferences just to learn more about neuroscience or global” he said.
One of the events Bedingar had the opportunity to participate in was the Global Health Case Competition, hosted by the International Center’s Global Health Initiatives office. “Participating in the Global Health Case competition really helped me, and really gave me the tools to understand how to analyze case studies, mostly Global Health case studies that I would say we do every time at Harvard,” he said.
Bedingar emphasized the importance of collaborating and working with different teams as being key to his interdisciplinary experience at UK. “That experience at UK of working with different organizations and also doing different research experience really equipped me to be successful at Harvard.”
Now, Bedingar said it’s his turn to give back and open opportunities to other students like him.
“I think scholarships are really crucial today because it’s a financial help that really helps you achieve your goals,” he said. Bedingar also mentioned how it is harder for international students in the U.S. to qualify and receive scholarships. “Those small scholarships can really help international students go and present their studies and their research projects,” Bedingar added. “I feel like this is what really helped me get into Harvard today.”
Bedingar said that by creating more scholarships like the Esias K. Bedingar Fund, UK is providing prospective students the chance to focus on their academics, allowing them to participate in more research and conferences, which can add value to their work. “It’s really important to support those students so that they can achieve great things later in their life whether it’s professional schools or even graduate schools.”