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Tassan Stewart set on a career in software engineering set on a career in software engineering Tassan Stewart

Sunday, September 02, 2018

If Tassan Stewart has her way, in the near future computer users in Jamaica and elsewhere will benefit from programmes she has had a hand in building. The 18-year-old software engineering and economics student at The University of the West Indies is big on coding and can't wait to make her mark in the world of work.

It was at St Andrew High School for Girls that she was introduced to and fell in love with computer programming, she says. She aced the science subjects, earning seven ones and two twos at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), and two ones and two twos at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE).

She knew she wanted to go straight into continued studies at The University of the West Indies but did not have the financial backing to do so. Stewart, a recipient of several scholarships from the St Andrew Old Girls Association while in high school, applied to university anyway. Fortuitously, the computer provided the answer when a friend saw the announcement of the Burger King scholarships on the Internet and urged her to apply.

“I was so nervous because I knew that without this scholarship I could not go to The UWI,” Tassan recalls. But she was successful, and in 2017 was named among the recipients of Burger King scholarships from Restaurant Associates Ltd (RAL), the local franchise holder for Burger King, Popeyes and Little Caesar's Pizza . She was awarded the Lois Sherwood scholarship named for the chairman of RAL.

At university, Stewart's love for the computer has not diminished. She has already completed a programme for an ATM and is ready to do even more.

“It was very difficult and complex but gave me an idea of what would be required in real life,” she explains.

The eldest of four children being raised by their mother, Stewart is leading the way for her siblings, including her 18-year old sister who is attending the University of Technology, Jamaica. She says she thanks God and Burger King for setting her on a path to success and a career that she will love.

For other young scholars, particularly those who will need financial assistance to fulfill their dreams of going to university, Stewart advises: “Put in the hard work at school, get the top grades and pray and trust in God. Sometimes challenges make you stronger, but just try your best, pray and leave it to God”.

Restaurants Associates Limited continued its annual support for education and students in need of financial assistance on August 13, 2018, with the presentation of $3.8-million to new and continuing scholars.