Career & Education

J Wray & Nephew Foundation awards $11.7m worth of scholarships

BY JAVENE SKYERS
Observer staff reporter
skyersj@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, August 31, 2017

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A medical physicist in training and a marine engineer student were among 65 recipients of $11.7 million worth of scholarships from the J Wray & Nephew (JWN) Foundation on Tuesday.

The foundation offers financial support to secondary- and tertiary-level students living in the three parishes in which JWN operates.

Fifty-six of the scholarships went to secondary students with 38 being selected from Kingston, two from Clarendon, and 16 from St Elizabeth. For the tertiary-level scholarships, nine students were selected from 11 shortlisted applicants. Seven of the recipients received $180,000 each, while the other two awardees — Rickardo Anderson and Jevonnie Fennell — were awarded $450,000 each towards their tertiary education, which will be disbursed annually till the end of their studies.

Anderson and Fennell were presented with the foundation's inaugural Joy Spence STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Scholarship, which was named in honour and recognition of J Wray & Nephew's master blender who is a chemist by training and the first woman to hold the title of master blender in the wines and spirits industry.

The scholarship was originally to be presented to only one awardee, but the six-judge panel could not decide between Anderson, a The University of the West Indies, Mona, medical physics student, and Fennell — a first-year student at the Caribbean Maritime Institute who is pursuing a degree in marine engineering.

Anderson, who, along with the other recipients, was presented with the award at the JWN Foundation's scholarship awards ceremony Tuesday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, said, on behalf of the recipients, that they would continue to make their families and communities proud.

“I'm from a less fortunate background, one where I have often struggled at each turn in life. So growing up has been challenging, especially when it comes on to my academic journey,” Anderson shared with students and parents.

He explained that his interest in the sciences developed in primary school. Anderson, who originally wanted to study medicine, said due to financial constraints he chose what he thought was the next best thing — medical physics. He is now set to enter his second year of studies at university.

“It has lifted a huge burden from my family and I will be able to put even more focus on studies for the upcoming school year; this scholarship will motivate me more to maintain a competitive academic performance and make my family and friends proud,” Anderson said.

Chairman at the J Wray & Nephew Foundation Clement Lawrence, in his remarks, said that the foundation recognises the need for investment in youth development as they aim to empower future leaders and contribute to national growth.

“It is this thinking that led us to increase the number of scholarships available to our communities in 2017 to 100 scholarships. In so doing, we quadrupled the 25 community scholarships available in 2016,” the chairman noted.

“Regrettably, we did not have full uptake of the allocation, so only 65 of the 100 community bursaries will be awarded in 2017. Sixty-five was the number reached after the selection panellists carefully reviewed applications and chose successful awardees who met the criteria,” he continued.

Lawrence noted that it was a difficult process, but one that allowed them to increase the number of scholarships at the tertiary level when the number of secondary applicants fell short.

He added that while they are disappointed at not having reached the full 100, they realise it is still a significant improvement which represents a threefold increase in the allotment of scholarships.

The chairman highlighted that the foundation has also partnered with the Governor General's I Believe Initiative's Summer of Service Awards Programme to offer one tertiary-level scholarship, which was awarded to a recipient from Clarendon who will perform 75 hours of community service.

“Over the next five years, we will increase the number of scholarships available through the JWN Foundation and widen the net of applicants as we seek to give back in a more targeted way — first to our communities and then to the wider Jamaica,” Lawrence said.

“In so doing, we are reaffirming our commitment to positively shaping lives through educational development and fulfilment of the promise of a better future for Jamaica,” he added.

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