Mensa members awarded

The Mensa Education and Research Foundation, based in the USA, recently announced the winners of their international scholarships for 2016, and two local Mensa members were awarded scholarships of US$1 000 each to further their studies.

What is remarkable about this accomplishment is that over 11 000 students globally competed for the scholarships; the fact that two of the five available scholarships were awarded to South Africans – who are both from the Winelands chapter of Mensa South Africa – is unprecedented.

Luna Chencinski, a registered nurse who lives in Gordon’s Bay, joined Mensa in 2003, and is studying a post-graduate diploma in Nursing Education at Stellenbosch University. She notes that there are very few nurse educators in South Africa, with demand far exceeding supply, and looks forward to being able to make a positive contribution to the profession.

“Few registered nurses want to be involved in education as most prefer to work in the clinical field, whereas I enjoy teaching and feel this is my niche. It would be extremely rewarding to me, sending out confident and competent qualified nurses into the workforce,” she said.

Jess Steyn, from Somerset West, is a full-time second-year Stellenbosch University student, studying a BA Language and Culture, focusing on psychology and English. She completed her primary education at Helderberg Primary School, and matriculated from Herschel Girls’ School with seven distinctions in 2014.

A keen writer, she participates in National Novel Writing Month every year; her academic goal is a PhD in Psychology, and she intends becoming a practising clinical psychologist.

She has been a member of Mensa since 2011.

Mensa, founded in the UK in 1946, is a high IQ society which provides a forum for intellectual exchange among its members. There are over 120 000 members in more than 100 countries around the world.

The Mensa Education and Research Foundation’s scholarship programme bases its awards totally on essays written by the applicants explaining their career, academic and vocational goals, and how they plan to achieve those goals – and provides funds for international students enrolled at accredited colleges or universities in a country other than the United States.

Testing for Mensa membership eligibility is regularly conducted in Somerset West. Visit for details, or contact the Winelands chapter at