Mandela Patrick, a 22-year-old Computer Science major from Trinidad and Tobago, is the winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship.
He was chosen today from a field of nine candidates from Barbados, Dominica, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda and The Bahamas.
Mandela, who did his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the prestigious Harvard University in the United States, and completed internships at Facebook and Goldman Sachs, said he was “really excited about having won the scholarship.
“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.
He stated his biggest challenge at university was time management, since “I was a varsity squash player and computer science major and I had big time commitments in both disciplines. I had to learn time management skills and craft them and take them to the highest level.
“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.
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.
Mandela will be studying Computer Science and Statistics when he goes onto Oxford University in September of 2018.
He described his overall goal as “transforming the Caribbean through technology, especially in the education sector.”