Mandela Patrick, who completed a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Harvard University in the United States and internships at Facebook and Goldman Sachs, is expected to begin studies in computer science and statistics at Oxford University in England from Sept. 2018.
“It is a wonderful experience,” said Patrick. “I have always had the biggest dreams and I have been dreaming about this for the longest while.”
He added that he “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.”
Acting Barbados Governor General Sir Philip Greaves, secretary of the scholarship’s selection committee, said this year’s selection process was challenging, based on the caliber of the students who applied.
“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,” Sir Philip said.
“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. Nine were shortlisted and then invited to Barbados for a series of interviews with the six-member scholarship committee at Government House. The winner was then chosen.
The other finalists were Tara Spencer, Antigua; Sapphire Vital, Dominica; Zia Barnard, St. Lucia; Toby McCarroll, The Bahamas; Kirin Rambaran, T&T; and Dominique Lovell, Nia Brathwaite and Darin Clarke from Barbados.