UCU Partners scholarship awardee straddles aspirations in science and business

Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2018/11/ucu-partners-scholarship-awardee-straddles-aspirations-in-science-and-business/

Nov
25

By Patty Huston-Holm

On paper, Matende Wilson Paul is a Uganda Christian University (UCU) business student. He has a diploma and is working on a bachelor’s degree.

In his head, “I’m a scientist,” he said. In between studies, Wilson Paul, as he prefers to be called, teaches chemistry at his alma mater, Vision High School, Nakifuma (Mukono District).

It’s a strange combination – one that he admits with uncertainty about where it will take him. For now, however, he has written a chemistry book (the science part) and is selling it (the business part). It’s called “D1-I Must Pass Chemistry.” (The D1 is a protein with many functions and interactions.) His book has been reviewed and verified as accurate and valuable by academic teachers of science and chemistry. As of autumn 2018, he sold 70 copies at 15,000 shillings ($4) each.

“I don’t care about making money,” Wilson Paul, age 22, said. “I just want to help students get through chemistry easier than I did.”

In truth, chemistry came easy for Wilson Paul despite no chemistry teacher or class when he was at Vision High School. He and eight classmates formed a class. They studied without books and lab equipment. Despite their passion and learning, they knew the lack of a formally approved curriculum and deficient experimentation tools would cripple them when applying for entrance into related university programs.

“I have no paper to say what I know,” he said.

And like many students, funding to continue education was a barrier. Born to teenage parents who eventually separated, Wilson Paul was raised by his grandmother, going to primary school behind Mukono’s Colline Hotel.

He “felt like a failure” until he met Mary Chowenhill, a Florida resident living and teaching entrepreneurship at UCU. Together, they started teaching Sunday School in 2013, including one trip to western Uganda’s Masindi village to guide 400 children. They lost touch. Then, two years ago, they reunited with Mary’s proposal that Wilson Paul study business at her sponsorship. It happened through UCU Partners.

“It was like bringing me back from the dead,” Wilson Paul said. “I can’t tell her how much that meant to me or how much she means to me now.”

While Wilson Paul is uncertain about his future after finishing at UCU, he knows he will have one foot in science and one in business.

“I want to do both,” he said. “Mary reminds me that God has a purpose for everything and everybody, including me. I’ll keep searching.”

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If you are interested in supporting students who are making a difference in the communities around Uganda such as UCU Partners Scholarship Recipient Wilson Paul is, contact Uganda Partners’ Director @mtbartels@gmail.com or click on the “Donate” button in the upper right corner of this page.

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