Career & Education

Econ major one of two NCBF national champions

Sunday, September 09, 2018

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DRIVEN, motivated and dedicated are three of the words that describe new economics major at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Natalia Wilson. The older of two girls and a graduate of Ardenne High School, 18-year-old Wilson will be stepping into her new journey at university courtesy of the NCB Foundation having copped one of the two coveted NCB Foundation National Champion award for 2018.

The Faculty of Social Sciences freshman is beyond excited to be attending UWI, not just because she loves economics, but also because she is passionate about a better economic landscape for Jamaica.

“I have a passion for the field of economics, as I believe it holds the key to advancing Jamaica from the state of a developing country to a developed one. Additionally, I believe that I will be able to develop economic solutions that are practical to Jamaica's situation,” the Spanish Town native says.

“My vision for my parish and Jamaica is that more accurate assessments and better measures are implemented to correct the economic problems being faced and that greater provisions are made for healthcare facilities, education and other merit goods,” she adds. But going to university was not always an easy option for the young scholar.

Wanting to pursue her passion was almost taken from her when adequate funding posed a problem for her and her family. Yet Wilson says she was not ready to give up.

So she turned to the NCB Foundation. “I applied for the scholarship because I was determined to devise means of pursuing tertiary education, and I firmly believed that I had the qualifications to be considered,” Wilson says. And she did.

Dependable, self-motivated and high achieving are a few words she says are often used to describe her, so her race to the title was not without merit.

Wilson has a track record of excelling academically, having placed first in the Caribbean in the 2016 May/June Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) for English Literature, and topping her class in various other subjects. In addition, she continues to advocate for volunteerism in her community.

“I began volunteering in 2013 as a result of the Community Service Programme that was implemented while I was attending Ardenne High.

But I believe that it is important for children to have mentors and to have people to assist them academically so that they can become the best versions of themselves and this belief encouraged me to start assisting students with tutoring,” she explains.

Now in its 11th year, the NCB Foundation's Scholarships and Grants programme is the culmination of the foundation's flagship initiative which assists more than 300 students from the primary to tertiary level annually.

Among this year's major recipients were 21 NCB Scholars — 14 parish champions and seven I.C.O.N. scholars each receiving a $300,000 scholarship award for the duration of his/her course of study.

The top students were selected based on exceptional academic performance, financial need, and impactful community involvement, to which Wilson is no stranger.

“While at Ardenne I served as a prefect, before becoming a senior prefect and the female disciplinary supervisor.

I also served as the treasurer of the Optimist Club and Fashion Club, public relations officer of the Building Ardenne's Neoteric Knowledge Club and president of the Ardenne Fashion Society,” she says, explaining that she is ready to carry that zeal for leadership into her university life. A life she is eager to pursue.

In describing her aspirations for university, she says, “I am most anxious to see what lessons I will learn there, not only with regard to academics, but also what I will be able to learn from the different experiences that I will encounter and the people whom I will meet.”

Coupled with her ambitions for the future, including her desire to attain a master's degree in economics in the next five years, Wilson says she is most grateful for the opportunity that NCBF has now afforded her.

She says she is appreciative of how this scholarship has bolstered her confidence and widened her horizon for the things to come.

“Aside from the opportunities that this scholarship has exposed me to, I greatly appreciate that the NCBF scholarship will enable me to pursue my goal of being educated at the tertiary level.

This support will allow me to pursue higher studies so that I can be equipped with the knowledge required for me to gain employment in the field of my choice, become a greater asset to my country and ultimately 'Put My Best Life Forward',” the young woman says.

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