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UWI Honours Outstanding Graduate Students

The University of the West Indies, Mona recognized 24 recipients of postgraduate awards at its third annual Scholars Breakfast held at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on Thursday, March 3, 2011. The event forms part of an initiative to provide improved professional training and develop research competencies among its graduates, in order to satisfy economic development imperatives.  The objective is also to strengthen graduate programmes being offered by the institution.

The Scholars’ Breakfast recognises students who are pursuing studies in areas driven by market and national development demands. In keeping with this thrust, The UWI, Mona also presented an award for the individual with the Most Outstanding Thesis. This award went to Dr Arlene Bailey, who received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Information Systems with High Commendation.

Guest speaker at the event, Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, Dr. Marvadeen Singh-Wilmot, challenged graduate students at the institution not to be deterred by problems that face them, or the country, but to see each challenge as an opportunity to find solutions for the greater good of mankind. She added that the world belongs to those who see its potential, and argued that as young scholars they must be the ones to see the potential of the world, for no one should care more about the future than those who will have to live it.

Dr Singh Wilmot, who graduated from The UWI, Mona in 2003 with a PhD in Chemistry, recently returned from Washington where she had been invited by the US National Academy for discussions to guide the President as he formulates ideas on global science policy and diplomacy.

She told the postgraduate students that being bright was not enough; they also had to care, as the combination would ensure that they would make a difference not just in their own lives, but in the lives of others.   She urged them to speak about their work at every opportunity, to generate good ideas and to convert good ideas into good leadership so that their work would impact the world.  Most of all, she encouraged the graduates to be passionate about their work, as this would help to promote a culture of scholarship and excellence in their respective fields.

Also addressing the graduates was the recipient of the award for Best Thesis, Dr Arlene Bailey. She noted that her research was relevant to a critical economic sector as it had focused on the use of information and communication technologies in communities, through telecentres, community access points, cybercentres.  She pointed out that her fieldwork had carried her to many communities, both urban and rural; each telecentre with its own interesting story. “One of the telecentres was established in a container, with the intention of being mobile. However, the first community it landed in held on to it, and the community have now come up with a wheelie-bin option of bringing ICTs to people on the street corner”, she remarked.

Dr Bailey added that as a result of her research, she had now received a small CARICOM/Canada grant to investigate the usage of ICTs in the Diaspora.

Other speakers were UWI Vice Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris, and Mona Principal, Professor Gordon Shirley. Chair was Professor Yvette Jackson, Coordinator for Graduate Studies, in the University’s Office of Graduate Studies and Research which organized the event in collaboration with the Mona Campus Committee for Research & Publication and Graduate Awards.

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