UTech welcomes youngest-ever student, 14-year-old Jada Wright
UNIVERSITY of Technology, Jamaica President Dr Kevin Brown and members of the leadership team have warmly welcomed Jada Wright, the youngest-ever student to successfully matriculate to read for a degree at the institution.
The young scholar began studies for a bachelor’s in computer science in the School of Computing and Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Computing, at the start of the semester on January 15.
Dr Brown specially invited Jada and her parents for an introductory meeting on January 16, and to provide an opportunity to exchange thoughts and expectations as she settles into full-time tertiary studies.
In warmly welcoming Jada, who was accompanied by her mother Judian Wright, also an alumna of UTech, Jamaica, Dr Brown noted that several members of the leadership and management team across the university including himself, are past students.
“As an institution, even within our own ranks we have produced some quality people who are leading the ship,” the president asserted.
“This is the expectation that we have of all our graduates — that we would have done a good enough job to allow them to operate at high performance. This is the same expectation for Jada.”
Dr Brown noted that “she is entering an institution with a strong history of delivering computer science”, and pointed out that “we have modernised our curriculum, introduced AI, and added a whole raft of modern technology courses”.
He assured Jada of full support across the board at the university as she in turn meets all the requirements of her academic studies. He encouraged her to immerse herself in opportunities for a full university student experience, including participation in clubs and societies, student leadership, sports, and the opportunities to participate in international competitions.
During the discussions the confident and articulate Jada shared that in addition to having a strong affinity with UTech, Jamaica, of which both her parents are graduates, it was her discovery of the “exciting” offerings of the computer science programme which aligns with her dreams and aspirations of becoming a software engineer that cemented her decision to apply to the university.
Jada explained that she gleaned details of the UTech, Jamaica, computer science programme through her thorough online research prior to applying to the university.
“During the summer I spent an entire day researching about the programme. I downloaded all the course outlines; I went through the PowerPoints so I could get an idea of what kind of content every class would cover; and then I compared that to other schools and I realised that you focus more on practical skills — that’s pretty much when I decided that this would be the best choice for me. So it took a lot of research, and I watched all of the orientation videos online as well,” Jada shared.
“So I was just researching, and based on how you were explaining the programme — especially in one particular orientation video, they were explaining all the different projects that you guys have done and I was looking on how you explained all the projects and all of the enthusiasm — and I really just recognised that I want to do something like this.”
Jada’s mother shared that this type of laser focus on goal setting and an independent drive to seek out new knowledge has always characterised her daughter’s outlook.
The young student, who turned 14 in November 2023, has already amassed an impressive portfolio of achievements which belie her age. Jada conquered her Primary Exit Profile studies — which earned her a place at Hampton School in her home parish of St Elizabeth — while studying to sit two Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, both for which she received grade ones. In high school Jada achieved an additional seven grade ones in CSEC and found the time to brainstorm and establish a home-school online-based programme at her parents’ institution, Caribbean Online Academy. The new venture, Caribbean Online Academy, is currently incubated at UTech, Jamaica’s Technology Innovation Centre.
The budding computer software engineer, who also wants to be an entrepreneur, is not daunted by the uncharted tertiary journey ahead. She is filled with excitement and is ready to immerse herself in the anticipated hands-on, total university experience in charting the future to achieving her dreams.