Janelle Skinner, a differently abled student attending the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, is this year’s winner of the Kregg Nurse Memorial Scholarship.
The scholarship, which is in its 12th year, is a collaboration between human resources company Caribbean Catalyst and Kregg’s mother Linnell Nurse.
It specifically goes to an individual with a disability, who has successfully completed at least one year of post-secondary education in any field and is enrolled in a formal study programme at a tertiary educational institution.
Skinner, this year’s winner, was selected from among six applicants. The 38-year-old woman was diagnosed in 2000 with a spinal tumour which resulted in her becoming paralysed from the chest down.
She is passionate about rehabilitation psychology and is pursuing a career in that field. She was inspired to pursue this discipline after returning to Barbados and recognizing there was no person on the island qualified in the field.
“This type of support is crucial,” she said in remarks at the presentation. “After realizing that there was no rehabilitation psychologist on the island, I was prompted to pursue this field so that I could assist other disabled persons in the transition process.”
Skinner, who lives by the motto Success Occurs When Preparation Meets Opportunity, said it was a great honour to be the recipient of this year’s award. She commended Caribbean Catalyst for supporting the education of differently abled persons.
“Thank you for recognizing the importance of assisting persons with disabilities who are seeking to academically improve their lives,” Skinner said.
In comments to Barbados TODAY, managing director of Caribbean Catalyst, Ros Jackson, described the late Kregg Nurse, who had a physical disability and moved around in a wheelchair, as the lifeblood of business services firm Ernst & Young, during the short time he worked there with her and other colleagues.
“Kregg became a different energy in Ernst & Young. He was a lover of life and he just had a spirit about him,” said Jackson who subsequently founded Caribbean Catalyst.
She said there was still a lot to be done to integrate on behalf of persons with disabilities into the mainstream of the island’s social and economic life.
“Able bodied people need to understand that persons with disabilities can be productive in the workforce. Just look at the President of the Senate, Senator Kerry-Ann Ifill. That is productivity at its best,” Jackson said.
Senator Ifill, who presented the award to Skinner, spoke of Nurse’s legacy and the man she knew he was.
“When I first entered Combermere School, I met a young man who was funny, mischievous and scarily intelligent. If you had to sit in a class with Kregg, you had to accept second place because that’s the only thing Kregg allowed you to have.
“Kregg was an absolutely wonderful individual who embodied everything Combermere stands for,” Ifill said of the young man who would have been 40 years old today.