Taking the Lead, Setting High Ambitions

As a freshman, Eslam Adel Soliman, the first recipient of the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC) Public School Scholarship, is already declared as a computer engineering major and has his ambitions set high.

“Thanks to the ERC scholarship I can see my career goals being achieved,” said Soliman, who comes from Shubra El Kheima in the Qalioubiya governorate, 20 kilometers northeast of Cairo. “I’ve always been curious about how computers function. My curiosity eventually led me to learn about computer programming, which I immediately fell in love with. It’s a unique skill to have, especially in the modern world where social media platforms are web-based. In fact, all the innovation we see nowadays is developed by using special commands with the use of a keyboard.”

Established in 2016, the ERC Public School Scholarship supports tuition for one undergraduate student from a public school located in Matareya, Khosos or eastern Shubra El Kheima (Mostorod). “The company’s strong commitment to create positive change is what led ERC to partner with AUC and provide educational opportunities to public high school graduates hailing from communities that are surrounded by ERC oil refining plants,” said Sayed Shinawi, engineer and manager at ERC. “Improving the quality of life for public school graduates is our goal, and we believe that AUC is one of the best institutions that provide quality education and [a positive] social experience for students in Egypt.”

Soliman considers this scholarship opportunity one step closer toward achieving the computer programming career he always dreamed of. “Obtaining a high-quality education at AUC is an eye-opening experience,” he said. “Coming to AUC means adapting to a level of education that I never received. This means that my academic challenges will be twice as hard as someone who graduated from an international school. However, I am willing to fight the battle and constantly demonstrate my best in everything that I commit to.”

Beyond academics, meeting students from different cultures and nationalities is something out of the ordinary, Soliman noted. “At AUC, not only am I challenged academically, but also personally,” he said. “I’ve interacted with students who have been exposed to more than just Egypt. I appreciate their open mindedness and exposure to other parts of the world.”

“Motivation and passion are the key tools for me to reach my goals,” Soliman added. “I need to work my way up in order to have a successful future, and I strongly believe that I have what it takes if I’m creative and independent enough to take the lead. I always tell myself to never settle for less and to keep my eyes on the prize.”

In addition to funding a public school scholarship, ERC also funds 30 scholarships for teachers to earn a Professional Education Diploma, with a concentration on early childhood education, at AUC’s Graduate School of Education. “Education is an important pillar for the advancement of our society,” said Soliman. “Scholars will benefit from educational advancement studies and leadership skills that will help advance our communities.”

ERC is devoted to strengthening Cairo’s communities through social development initiatives. The company’s projects concentrate on refurbishing community schools, capacity building of teachers, assessing students who suffer from poverty to help them buy school uniforms and stationery, and introducing activities to develop students’ educational interests, in addition to implementing other educational programs.