Fri | Dec 1, 2023

230 UTech students awarded STEM scholarships

Published:Thursday | September 21, 2023 | 9:23 PM
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke (right), shares a photo opportunity with Jahmelia Campbell (left) and Dantae Shirley, two recipients of the Government of Jamaica Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) scholarships. Occasion was today's handover ceremony at the University of Technology (UTech) Jamaica in St Andrew. A total of 230 students have been awarded scholarships to pursue STEM studies at UTech. - Contributed photo

A total of 230 first-year students at the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica have been awarded Government of Jamaica (GOJ) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) scholarships.

The recipients were chosen from a pool of 1,100 applicants.

They are the first cohort of 1,000 students who will benefit from full-tuition need-based scholarships valued at $2.4 billion over the next five years, to pursue STEM studies at UTech.

The initiative is a collaboration between the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and the Students' Loan Bureau (SLB).

In his address during today's handover ceremony at the St Andrew-based university, portfolio minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, said that the scholarship awards are aimed at equipping citizens to transform Jamaica.

He noted that Government's development plans will require upgrading of the cadre of technical, skilled and engineering talent.

“We are expecting great things from you. We're expecting phenomenal reports and we have every confidence that the future that you represent will be better than Jamaica is today. I want to congratulate you and to implore you to work hard and be a good steward of the investment that is being made in you,” Dr Clarke said.

Scholarship recipient, Jahmelia Campbell, recalled that there was an immediate shift in the atmosphere when she received the call that she was selected.

“This scholarship represents not only a financial relief but also a tremendous opportunity for me to remain fully dedicated to the demanding academic journey of my college life. This scholarship is not just a financial aid but a symbol of empowerment – breaking down barriers and encouraging gender equality in STEM,” said Campbell, who will be pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering.

Meanwhile, SLB Executive Director, Nickeisha Walsh, said investing in the development of students is key to building Jamaica's resilience.

Noting that the demand for STEM scholarships is great, she encouraged unsuccessful applicants to consider SLB's STEM loan programme.

“The interest rate for that loan is just six per cent. In addition, PATH (Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education) beneficiaries, wards of the State and students from low-income households also will be given a SLB Grant-In-Aid of $60,000,” the executive director added.

UTech President, Dr Kevin Brown, charged the recipients to remain focused on their studies.

“Your successful completion of the programme will represent your thanks and gratitude to the Government of Jamaica and the people of Jamaica because the scholarships are [being funded by] taxpayers' money. You have a duty, I believe, to your country and all the people who are contributing towards these scholarships, to do well,” Dr Brown said.

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