A Bedford undergraduate who overcame personal setbacks to pursue his dream of being a lawyer has won a coveted scholarship from a global law firm.
Foster Mukhwapa is one of just 10 undergraduates from UK universities to be selected by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (‘Freshfields’) for a Freshfields Stephen Lawrence 2016 Scholarship, which aims to address the under-representation of black men from low income households in large commercial law firms.
A student at the University of Northampton, Foster can now benefit from experience with professionals, £3,500 towards his study costs, career guidance and one-to-one mentoring with five legal experts drawn from Freshfields, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of England and the University of Northampton.
Foster said: “It really is a dream come true. I have already benefited from a number of skills sessions under the scholarship scheme.”
Foster, who emigrated to the UK from Malawi in 2011, lives in Bedford with his wife and two children.
He said: “When I was in secondary school I lost my father, who was aged just 46. As a result, I had to fund my college education personally. I did this by working, and during my time at work I came into contact with people who worked in the legal profession, and I realised this was something I wanted to do.
“It’s been a struggle, but I’ve survived. And now this scholarship is an opportunity to work with the best.”
Sophie Lomas, senior lecturer in law at the University of Northampton, said: “Foster is a talented and dedicated student who performed exceptionally well during the first year of his studies at the university.
“At the end of his first year he won the prize for the best academic performance in his year group and was also elected as president of the Student Law Society.
“We are extremely proud that he has been successful in his application to become a Freshfields Stephen Lawrence 2016 Scholar and that his talents have been recognised outside the university. We have no doubt that Foster will make the most of this prestigious opportunity and we wish him every success.”