Five outstanding Jamaican youth have copped the 2022 Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, the country’s largest cohort since 2014.
The scholars will pursue joint two-year master’s programmes in the fields of science, technology and engineering at leading universities across Europe.
“I am delighted about the uptick in scholars this year, not just as the EU Ambassador, but also as an Erasmus alumna. I had a lovely farewell courtesy call with the scholars and it was encouraging to hear them outline how they aspire to use their study experience in Europe to address challenges in Jamaica and the Caribbean, once they come back. I have no doubt that Erasmus will reshape their lives in meaningful ways,” said Marianne Van Steen, EU Ambassador to Jamaica.
Erasmus is designed to foster educational enrichment and intercultural understanding. For joint master’s degrees, students study at universities in at least two European countries and there have been over 30 Jamaican awardees since 2004. Ambassador Symone Betton Nayo, Head of Jamaica’s Mission to the EU, wants more young Jamaicans to take full advantage of this life-changing opportunity.
“I am very pleased with the increase in Erasmus Scholars this year as it underscores the value and importance of the longstanding EU-Jamaica partnership. Education and culture provide solid pathways for growth and action. The Jamaican Mission to the EU in Brussels will continue to work with the EU Delegation in Kingston, the Erasmus Programme in Brussels, tertiary institutions in Jamaica and other stakeholders to raise awareness of the various opportunities available,” said Betton Nayo.
Renée is a software engineer at British Caribbean Insurance Company, who envisions a software development landscape in Jamaica that treats security as a core feature and not an afterthought. This influenced her interest in secure software development, a key element of her master’s programme. As Jamaica pushes toward becoming a digital society, Renée wants to play an active role in strengthening the country’s cybersecurity infrastructure.
As a Microsoft-certified data analyst and business process analyst at National Commercial Bank, Loya builds software solutions that improve organisational efficiency and customer satisfaction. However, she wants to complement her technical skills with a deeper understanding of the legal, cybersecurity and ethical implications of processing users’ data.
She shared: “I am part of the inaugural cohort, and I look forward to studying in Ireland, the home of the data watchdog and in Spain, Europe’s fifth largest economy.” Upon her return to Jamaica, Loya intends to use financial technology (Fintech) as a vehicle to enhance Jamaica’s financial inclusion efforts.
It is hard to overstate Jamaica’s vulnerability to climate change as a small island developing state. Moesha, a former junior project engineer at Smith Warner International, understands that her generation will directly experience some of the worsening impacts of climate change and sea-level rise. However, she does not believe there is any time for inaction. This programme will help her to upskill to design and implement climate change mitigation strategies in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
Jevaughn worked on multiple high-impact projects in his most recent role as a spatial data analyst at the Urban Development Corporation. This experience helped to deepen his interest in geographic information systems (GIS).
He stated: “The Copernicus Master’s in Digital Earth is the ideal course of study to aid me in achieving my long-term goals. One goal is to make geographic information more widely available and more easily understood to guide and promote sustainable development in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.”
Clenmar recently completed a three-year stint at Smith Warner International, which underscored his belief that coastal/flood engineering is the best way to combat the most severe effects of climate change.
“After graduation, I will return to Jamaica and help the Government and private entities to better evaluate proposals for urban and coastal development. My ultimate career goal is to bring greater climate change resilience to Jamaica and the wider Caribbean through coastal risk management and climate adaptation.”