04. 03. 2016 Pontis Foundation

We supported twelve talented students on their career paths

Young Slovak secondary and university students were given financial grants from the AXA Endowment Trust at the Pontis Foundation.

It helps people get a second chance in life

“My goal is to help people, and that’s why I decided to study medicine,” said Illia Leshchenko, a student at the Slovak Medical University in Bratislava. He is also one of twelve young talented people who were given an AXA Endowment Trust grant which aims to support them on their way to a dream career. Ukrainian-born Leshchenko, who is 23 years old, has been impressed by the work of Associate Professor Doležal, who attaches facial prostheses to people. “People who have lost part of their face for different reasons have an utterly ruined social life. The goal of my project is to help them get their social life back and acquire a new goal for their life through implanted facial prostheses,” said Leshchenko, who will use the grant for financing his last year of studies.

He wants to stay in Slovakia and help the people who are educating him now

There are around twenty cases of people in Slovakia who have lost a part of their face, and Leshchenko has even managed to take part in one successful surgery. “Doctor Doležal was performing surgery on a young woman who had lost the external part of her nose due to skin cancer. This woman had previously refused to go outside, even to go food shopping, because she was ashamed. During the surgery, Doctor Doležal put three implants in her face, and today, even from one metre away you can’t tell whether her nose is real or not. The young woman is satisfied with the surgery; she goes out and she has been given a second chance at life,” said Leshchenko, who plans to stay in Slovakia after finishing his studies and help those people who are educating him now.

Talented Matej would not have any chance to study abroad                       

“Since he was a little boy, Matej had wanted to be a bricklayer. At the nursery school carnival he even dressed as one. As he was growing older, he switched from masonry to studying construction and now he is studying civil engineering in Great Britain,” said the mother of 18-year-old Matej Kopecký, who was also awarded an AXA Endowment Trust grant to support his talent. The talented boy’s mother adds that being a parent of a talented child is financially very challenging. “Due to the fact that we have nine children, we saw his wish to go study abroad as impossible even though he is very talented and ambitious. That’s why we are very grateful for the grant allowing him to study abroad,” his mother said. Kopecký has already finished his first term with an “A” evaluation, which means he got over 70%. 

He is studying at Cambridge University thanks to a secondary school teacher

19-year-old Štefan Stanko would not be able to afford studying abroad without the grant. He is studying natural sciences at Cambridge University. “Števko [Štefan] had an excellent secondary school teacher who led him towards science, and he even participated in some international chemistry competitions. He won a gold medal in Hanoi, Vietnam, some bronze medals in Moscow and Azerbaijan, and already as a 15-year-old he participated in an international competition in South Africa, where he won a silver medal. This is all thanks to his secondary school teacher, who had guided him all along the way. It is a great joy. He likes it there, and that makes us happy being here. The financial grant covers his studies,” his mother explained.

The grant programme of the AXA Endowment Trust at the Pontis Foundation supported twelve talented young secondary school and university students to the amount of 17,000 euros; they were awarded their prizes in Bratislava in March. The goal of these grants is to help develop young people’s talents, those who dream to work on themselves but are slowed down by a lack of money. Young talented artists, scientists, biologists, ecologists and medical students presented their projects. Young students from different fields of study will use their financial grants to cover the expenses of their study and their project, and the development of their further education. For these young people, their education is also their hobby, and this financial support will help them realize their dreams.

The finalists of the fifth year of the AXA Endowment Trust at the Pontis Foundation:

  • Matej Kopecký, 18 years old: Matej studies civil engineering at a university in Great Britain.
  • Martin Kubenka, 15 years old: Martin attends the Karol Pádivý Primary Art School in Trenčín, where he studies the cello and percussion.
  • Štefan Stanko, 19 years old: In October 2015 Štefan enrolled in the first year of the natural sciences at Cambridge University.
  • Martina Loncová, 16 years old: Martina studies at the St Nicholas Basic and Grammar School in Prešov, where she works on a project of cleaning contaminated soil by planting herbs.
  • Silvia Hnátová, 22 years old: Studying at university abroad, Silvia is involved in a research project studying amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is a neurodegenerative disease.
  • Jana Čorňáková, 16 years old: For a long time, Janka has been researching secondary metabolites, which are a scarcely explored field in biology.
  • Illia Leshchenko, 23 years old: The current topic of Illia’s research and his master’s thesis is finding possibilities in improving the social life of people with severe facial disfigurement. His goal is to acquire a medical license.
  • Roman Rugh, 25 years old: The aim of Roman’s project is to create sustainable architecture by integrating technologies which use renewable energy sources and to eliminate the use of non-renewable energy, which has a negative impact on the environment.
  • Peter Nociar, 16 years old: Peter is working on the Béter Wetland, which is in the area of an industrial zone, and he plans to continue monitoring fauna, identifying the wetland´s eutrophication and saprobism, and helping to organize an ornithological camp with bird-ringing.
  • Silvia Bednarčáková, 18 years old: Silvia studies at the St Nicholas Basic and Grammar School in Prešov. The aim of her work is to map and evaluate the occurrence of toxic substances in the surrounding of the town of Strážske and the Zemplínska Šírava dam, and then to demonstrate the bioremediation approach on the basis of the application of wood-decaying mushrooms.
  • Ján Révay, 23 years old: Ján studies mathematical structures at Charles University, where he is preparing to search for the applications of computational logics in medicine.
  • Denis Marko Dubjel, 17 years old: Denis is a talented accordionist who plans to participate in international accordion competitions and build on his achievements to date.

The AXA Endowment Trust at the Pontis Foundation is aimed at students up to 26 years of age who are studying at primary schools, secondary schools and universities. It helps young talented people acquire money for meaningful projects in the areas of education, sciences and arts. Students can also use this money for securing a technical and communication project or participation at scientific conferences and seminars. The conditions for acquiring the grant are excellent academic achievement, participation in specialized competitions and engagement in leisure activities. During its five-year existence, the trust has supported 60 students with a total amount of 108,000 euros.

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