From Nafpaktos to Harvard, on a full scholarship, reading alone at home


When last December the 17-year-old student of the 3rd high school Konstantinos Maliaris he was applying for admission to an American university, he had the hope that the answer to some of them would be positive. But what he may not have imagined then was that not just will be admitted to Harvard but he will also be given a full scholarship!

Contrary to what is usually the case, the Road of the student of the 1st General Lyceum of Nafpaktos to one of the leading American universities did not go through the tuition desks or special preparation seminars for studies in the United States, but from his computer screen, after reading alone at home, accompanied by the “treasury” of world wide web and his books, achieve what for many seems impossible.

“I gave all my energy and all my time to it. “It was a risk I had calculated and it was finally worth it,” the young student told the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, explaining that while the rest of his classmates were preparing for the approaching national exams, he was “looking” to the other side of the Atlantic. .

“If I did not believe even a little that I would succeed, I would not go ahead. “I had a hope,” explains the 17-year-old, who is a member of the national Robotics team «FIRST Global Challenge Team Greece»which started its course in May 2018 with the coordination of the non-profit – Educational Organization Eduact – Action for Education and was distinguished in FIRST Global Challenge 2021 International Olympiad, winning three medals among 169 countries.

«I did not feel the need to go to a tutoring center. “I did very well studying at home”, underlines the 17-year-old, who does not hide his joy for the opportunity given to him, through the scholarship for studies at Harvard, to explore objects that he had not even imagined, as he emphasizes.

Both he and his parents, without whose support he would not have succeeded, as he characteristically says, feel justified by the “ticket” of the full scholarship to Harvard. «My parents were happy because they had seen how much effort I had made, even from an environment that did not favor this development.“, He points out to APE-MPE, adding that at school, his teachers and classmates – members of his titanic effort all these years – were happy with his success.

In a few months, Konstantinos Maliaris will pack his bags to cross the Atlantic, on his second trip abroad. The first time he had crossed the border was to visit CERN, the “Mecca of Science”, as he characteristically says, as a member of a group of 24 students from all over Greece (among 200 who applied).

A course full of distinctions

In addition to the great distinction in the International Olympiad FIRST Global Challenge 2021, Konstantinos Maliaris has in his biography his short life so far, participations and distinctions in pan-Hellenic competitions and Robotics Olympiads, Astronomy– and not only. Among other things, in the 1st high school he managed to qualify and represent Greece in the Astronomy Olympiad that took place from a distance and a year later he secured the 4th place in Greece and a place in the national team of Astronomy and Astrophysics, through which, representing Greece, he claimed the bronze metal. In fact, on the occasion of these distinctions, he does not fail to refer to the man who gave him the impetus to study Astrophysics, Professor Argyris Drivas, who offered free – through life (before coronavirus) – courses, which he attended with passion.

Growing up in Nafpaktos, a provincial town with a long history but not as many stimuli as a child with a love of science and technology would want or need, the young student began exploring the internet at an early age to learn more about he is interested.

«In the first year of high school I started learning programming at home on my own. The internet had all the information it needed. All resources were available for free. I wanted to be more involved in computer science than at school. Then I developed some apps (games) that I then posted on the Playstore, while later I was involved in the development of these applications as a learning experience – always alone, without the help of a tutorial or KDAP, only with the company of books and the internet “, explains a 17-year-old to APE-MPEo.

The “germ” of robotics wanted to … transmit it to other classmates, but the attempt to build a robotics team at school, with the help of a teacher, failed. «We found that there was neither the same mood from other children due to the pressure of the lessons nor the financial capital, so I closed myself again and got involved with Arduino and programming, I also ordered a 3D printer and dealt with various projects.“, He notes, pointing out that he continued in robotics when he was given the opportunity to join the national team, something unprecedented for him since until then he had not managed to participate in a championship or Olympics in robotics.

During his course so far he has also been involved for some time in theoretical informatics, with algorithms and data structures, and participated in the pan-Hellenic computer competition, where he managed to reach twice the national training camp (in the first and second year of high school) , while with a team he had made with two of his classmates they had participated in the pan-Hellenic competition of 3D design and printing and had won the third prize of a face shield, mediator of the coronavirus pandemic.

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