“I have always had the biggest dreams and I have been dreaming about this for the longest while,” says 22-year-old Naparima Boys’ College alumnus Mandela Patrick
A 22-year-old Trinidad and Tobago national has won the 2018 Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship defeating students from Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia. Antigua and Barbuda and the Bahamas.
Mandela Patrick, who completed his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the prestigious Harvard University in the United States, and completed internships at Facebook and Goldman Sachs, will be studying Computer Science and Statistics Oxford University from September 2018.
“It is a wonderful experience. I have always had the biggest dreams and I have been dreaming about this for the longest while,” he said, adding, “I would advise anyone who aspires to this award that it’s all about hard work. You have to set your goal and do whatever it takes to get that goal.”
Secretary of the Selection Committee for the Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship, which is chaired by Barbados’ Acting Governor General Sir Philip Greaves, said this year’s selection process was very challenging based on the calibre of the students.
“There was a particularly strong field in Jamaica this year, and I made the comment that every candidate could have been awarded a scholarship, and the same was true of the candidates today, and what made it harder is that we could only choose one winner.
“There was a time when we awarded two Commonwealth Caribbean scholarships, but it was cut down to one in the early 2000s when we were facing financial difficulties. We are always hoping that the extra scholarship can be restored because there are some extremely bright kids in the Caribbean we would like to see go onto Oxford and make us proud.”
The candidates applied for the scholarships online, after which nine were shortlisted, and then invited to Barbados for a series of interviews with the six-member Scholarship Committee at Government House, after which the winner was chosen.
Patrick is a Naparima Boys’ College alumnus. At 19, Patrick topped the Caribbean in Mathematics and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
The other candidates were Tara Spencer from Antigua; Sapphire Vital from Dominica; Zia Barnard from St Lucia; Toby McCarroll from the Bahamas; Kirin Rambaran from Trinidad; and Dominique Lovell, Nia Brathwaite and Darin Clarke from Barbados. – CMC