Judy-Ann Chung: a dose of persistence

Budding pharmacist one of two NCF national champions

Sunday, September 23, 2018

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When Judy-Ann Chung applied to study pharmacy at university she knew her parents — a restaurant server and a taxi operator — couldn't afford the $1.3 million-a-year price tag.

But the 20-year-old former youth mayor of St Thomas (2015-2016) wasn't about to allow that to hinder her success. So she turned to the NCB Foundation.

“My household's gross monthly income is not even 10 per cent of that,” she said in reference to the cost of the degree programme. “Over the years I have seen the NCB Foundation assist many students in positions similar to mine; those students who have the passion and potential but lack the finances required to chase their goals. So I decided to seek assistance from the foundation, instead of sitting idly by and allowing my financial situation to hinder my success.”

The foundation answered her call, naming Chung one of two NCB Foundation National Champions for 2018 as part of its scholarships and grants programme which assists more than 300 students from the primary to tertiary levels annually.

Among this year's major recipients were 21 NCB scholars — 14 parish champions and seven Innovative, Creative, Outstanding and Nationalistic scholars each receiving a $300,000 scholarship award for the duration of his/her course of study. The students were selected based on exceptional academic performance, financial need, and impactful community involvement.

It's clear to see why Chung rose to the top.

She passed 12 Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) exams while at Morant Bay High, and was very active in leadership and volunteer work. She was president of the Newsletter and Peer Counselling societies, assistant prefect and later on senior prefect, peer counsellor for four consecutive years, and a member of the Resource Committee of the Outreach Society.

“I do a lot of volunteer work that relates to the environment, such as beach clean-ups and participating in competitions and programmes aimed at promoting the reuse of items that would normally have been thrown away. I was a part of the 'Big Up Wi Beach' competition 2018's winning team. I also participate in charity work such as repainting basic schools in my community,” she says. “To be honest, I started a life of volunteerism in the 10th grade when I was exposed to a plethora of projects that called to my innate desire to be an agent of change,” she reveals.

It is a similar innate desire that is driving her to become a clinical pharmacist.

“I hope to become a clinical pharmacist that awards each and every patient with medication management of the highest calibre,” she explains. “So, I chose this programme because pharmacists use their knowledge of the safe and effective use of medication to perform a meaningful service that seeks to better the health of individuals, and I would be honoured to be a part of this movement. I seek to have a positive effect on the lives of as many persons as I can,” Chung says, adding that at the end of her five-year tenure at university she would like to work in a rural medical facility in which she feels she can make a bigger difference.

Describing herself as persistent and dedicated, she also prides herself on being a caring person who gets immense pleasure from helping others, qualities she credits to her biggest supporter, her mother.

“My mother is not only my biggest fan but also my biggest source of motivation. She has been a major driving force in getting me to where I am now. I honestly don't know where I would be without her constant guidance. Her strength in the face of adversity is truly awe-inspiring. Don't even get me started on her resourcefulness. We have never had a lot, but my mother somehow always managed to make sure it was enough. I aim to be even half the woman she is,” Chung says.

Her mother is not her only motivation. She is also inspired by her view of success.

“To me, success means achieving all the goals you have set out for yourself so you can get to a place where you are living your best life. My mark of success is having a good career and a stable, wholesome family life. In my opinion, success cannot exist without happiness. Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. A major aim of everyone should be to be happy with their life. To be successful, you don't have to be rich, famous or powerful, but the mark of success is dependent on what each person values. I value my family and a future in clinical pharmacy,” she explains.

And she says this scholarship will help her reach that goal.

The scholarship is valued at $500,000.

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