5 of Jamaica's promising UWI graduates under 25

BY NICOLE NATION Career & Education writer

Saturday, November 08, 2014

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THEY'RE five of Jamaica's influential youngsters, representative of what the country's youth are capable of. These young Jamaicans and University of the West Indies (UWI) graduates are smart and full of ideas, proving that the future of Jamaica is bright.

Steven Jackson

At just 22, Kingstonian Steven Jackson is the proud holder of a UWI honours degree in law. It is said that Sagittarian men are wise intellectuals and this can be said of Jackson, who even as a Kingston College student, demonstrated great promise as evidenced by his insatiable thirst for knowledge. His friends say he would never miss an opportunity to win an argument, even if his views weren't popular.

Jackson has interned with prestigious law firms including Bailey, Terrelonge and Allen, and Swaby-Samuels and Associates, where he assisted some of the Caribbean's best legal minds in the preparation of cases for the Supreme Court of Jamaica, the Family Court and the Resident Magistrate's courts. His diverse skill set proved to be valuable in that he also prepared legal material for media presentations as well as accounting documents for clients.

He works with Professor Verene Shepherd on the Nationwide News Network programme Talking History.

This go-getter is also the treasurer of the Mona Law Society and a mentor in the society's 'Save the Males' initiative. Jackson also has vocal prowess as he is the head chorister of the esteemed Kingston College Chapel Choir.

Tariq Parker

Twenty-three-year-old Tariq Parker vividly recalls that as a young boy, he wanted to be an astronaut, inventor, then a physicist or even a lawyer like his father. However, his aptitude for science was the driving force behind his decision to become a doctor. As a student at Wolmer's Boys', he demonstrated his prowess in the sciences, as he gained 19 distinctions in his CXC, CSEC, and CAPE examinations. This progressive thinker is a graduate of the UWI's medical programme with an honours degree. He also recently received honours in general medicine, general surgery and obstetrics and gynaecology. Additionally, he received the subject prizes for the best top Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) student in internal medicine and general surgery across the UWI's four campuses. His friends will tell you that he is always laughing and that his smile is infectious.

His very laid-back personality will see him on the weekends liming with friends.

Parker has profound respect for his parents who have both worked extremely hard to provide him and his brother with everything they needed. His profound respect for family has led him to become an ardent supporter of the philosophy of mutual upliftment.

This 2009 UWI Open Scholarship recipient wants to become a neurosurgeon. He has definitely raised the bar, and his hope is that other Caribbean nationals will not subscribe to mediocrity.

Desmond Dennis

This Clarendon native is well known in the theatrical sphere as a young and upcoming actor. Only 22, Desmond Dennis has already made significant strides in his professional theatrical career. The earliest memory of growing up for this young Jamaican was being smitten with the country morning air. An early riser by habit, Dennis recalls waking up to catch the bus, something he did from age three.

From as early as he can remember, Dennis' parents have been his lifeline academically, though admittedly they have just started to come around to the idea of him being this involved in theatre.

Dennis fondly remembers being asked to provide post-devotional entertainment for his primary school. His selections for these occasions mostly consisted of the latest commercials, like the Pure Bulk Syrup ad, which was popular at that time. Each piece performed by him was given a little "extra something", much to the delight of his audience.

While in sixth form at Glenmuir High School, he was invited to join the speech ensemble, but his big break came when he attended UWI. This was when he discovered his true flair for the dramatic arts.

Dennis' notable achievements include best supporting actor, Tallawah 2012; president of the University Dramatic Arts Society; and being in the cast of a Puma ad shot this year. He has also been featured in several notable plays including Man Talk, directed by Joan Belfon; Village Mattaz, directed by Tyane Robinson and The Silver Sword, directed by Brian Heap.

Malysha Kelly

Twenty-four-year-old Malysha Kelly is a towering six-foot St Catherine native who is a proud UWI graduate. Growing up, Mally, as she is affectionately called, was a tomboy right from the start -- she climbed trees, built things from common household items and rode her bike endlessly up and down the streets. The fact that she had a big yard growing up encouraged her to develop an untameable spirit of adventure, a spirit which follows her onto the court even today.

As a little girl, she had trailed her sister everywhere she went, until one day she followed her onto the netball court at the community centre. It also helped that she was taller than her peers, and of course she was immediately recruited. She confessed that she didn't take to netball right away, but through continuous practice she overcame the initial hurdles.

At age 13, Kelly was drafted as a Jamaica National Netball Association representative. Playing both goal defence and goal keeper on the national team at both
local and international tournaments, she was very versatile both on and off the court. Her sport has taken her to many places including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Singapore, Germany, Scotland and even The Cook Islands.

A Dinthill Technical High School graduate, Kelly won an athletic scholarship to UWI where she studied international relations. There she learnt, among other things, time management, especially when she had to stick to her tight training schedule. She was part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games team, where the ladies took home the bronze medal.

She is currently pursuing her masters in business management at the Mona School of Business.

Yanique DaCosta

Yanique DaCosta is a Spanish major at UWI. Known by many Jamaicans as the television host of CVM's On the Road to Success, the 21-year-old is herself a success story.

She has been in front of the video camera since age nine as the host of many Jamaican television shows including Watch N' Win, the KFC Quiz Show, My World and Teen Talk. She said she would like to try her hand at working on radio in the near future.

Integrally active in the Kiwanis Club youth movement from an early age, she has over the years received numerous awards for leadership from that organisation. Crowned Mini Miss Jamaica as a youngster, she has also copped numerous awards for academic scholarship and creative expression.

She has also won numerous essay and poster competitions, and financially sponsors Jamaican students through a scholarship in her name.

DaCosta is also chairman of the board of Chevannes Basic School where she supports the principal and staff in the execution of their duties. She intends to finish her degree in December, after which she aspires to pursue a master's in international law and economics.

She aspires to work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the aim of further strengthening the ties between the Caribbean and the rest of the world.


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