The 2021 NCB Foundation scholarship recipients are all pursuing degrees in digital programmes. There are 14 chosen scholars this year, one from each parish, and the focus on digital for this year's scholarship and grant programme seeks to empower Jamaicans to create digital solutions that solve local and global challenges, become financially independent and literate, and be resilient in an increasingly volatile, uncertain and complex world.
We have been highlighting a few of the recipients, with the hope of inciting a level of hope amongst students who may be struggling, or those who may be interested in pursuing a digital career, but need some reassurance and inspiration.
Digital careers present students with an opportunity to learn to adapt and be agents of change within Jamaica's digital transformation.
Meet Antonio Brown.
ANTONIO Brown, 20, is a first-year student enrolled at The University of the West Indies, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. He is passionate about technology and the environment.
C&E: How would you introduce yourself to the world?
AB: There are many environment advocates around the globe, but I, Antonio Brown, choose to not just advocate to make speeches on how to prevent climate change, but to find a way using technology to combat climate change. I'm also equipped with leadership and advocacy skills, which I plan to use to be an architect of something new.
C&E: Where do you see yourself in five years?
AB: I can see myself working harder on achieving my goal to discover a way to use technology to combat climate change.
C&E: What sets you apart from other students in other disciplines?
AB: My personality, values, skills, and morals.
C&E: Why did you choose to do the degree you’re doing now?
AB: My first time using a computer, I wasn't only fascinated with the games I could play on it, but how I could effectively manipulate it using a programming language. I started watching YouTube videos on how to code and hack. I can't recall which programming language I was researching, but I remember writing down many lines of code, one unforgettable line is "Hello World!"
C&E: Who or what would you say is your biggest motivator?
AB: My mother, a strong woman who never gave up on her children even if they gave up on themselves. She motivates me to always be authentic and aim to achieve what I want if it makes me happy.
C&E: How did you gain an interest in your area, and what industry do you want to pursue post-graduation?
AB: I gained an interest in this area from I was young. I plan to work for NCB knowing that I will be equipped with the knowledge to better able contribute to innovative and effective software development.
C&E: What are the career opportunities available locally for your major?
AB: Software engineering, software developer, computer engineering, database administrator, IT analyst, etc.
C&E: How do you see this helping you contribute to Jamaica’s development, especially on the digital front?
AB: I see this helping me to contribute to Jamaica’s development by adding another skilled computer scientist to the workforce who could help drive innovation in the digital front by developing software that will help drive digitalisation.
C&E: Tell us one interesting thing about you
AB: Most persons found out my first name recently, because they thought that my alias was my first name.
C&E: How has the scholarship helped you pursue your dream?
AB: The scholarship has helped me to pursue my dream without having to worry where I’ll find money to pay for my tuition, also it prevented me from having student loan debts after university.
C&E: What would you say to other students interested in pursuing a digital career, but may need some reassurance and inspiration about their choice?
AB: Don't listen to those who encourage you to pursue a plan they made for themselves and then abandoned; your goals will never be practical enough for them. If your strategy fails, remember that when it comes to pursuing a digital profession, there is no one solution to a problem. Also, don't forget to help people who are in need, since you never know when you will need it yourself.