Janelle Knight is the winner of this year’s Kregg Nurse Memorial Scholarship.
The hearing impaired 21-year-old who is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Medicine and Surgery at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus, is the 13th recipient of the award which is given to an individual with a disability who has successfully completed at least one year of post-secondary school education and is continuing formal education at a recognized tertiary educational institution.
“I want to thank God because he has placed me here for a purpose beyond my understanding – a purpose I wish to fulfill. If any individual who is limited can do, then you should be able to as well,” said Knight, whose aim is to become a specialist in orthopedic surgery and eventually work as a doctor for an NBA team.
“I intend to advocate and inspire people by achieving my goals, regardless of my situation. As the saying goes, ‘the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg’.”
The scholarship which was established in 2005 is a collaboration between human resources company Caribbean Catalyst Inc. and Linnell Nurse, the mother of the young man in whose name the award is named. He was the first person with a disability to graduate with honours from the Cave Hill campus, but he died at the age of 27 after losing the battle to muscular dystrophy.
The other finalist, who Knight beat out to take the award, was another UWI student, Gabriella Bovell-Niles. She is studying psychology and sociology and hopes to become a special education teacher and speech language pathologist.
Bovell-Niles, whose right arm has been amputated below the elbow, also wants to start a fund called Ella Hope, to assist children and young adults who are amputees.
Presenting awards to both young women, Senator Kerryann Ifill remembered Nurse as a shining example that “disability is no inability”.