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IT Scholarships Helped Jasmin Williams Pursue her Passion. She Shares Advice for Scholarship Success
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For as long as she can remember, Jasmin Williams, 20, from Devonshire, has enjoyed anything and everything to do with computers. With a father who worked in telecommunications, she was always surrounded by them. She even had a baby video game station in her crib.

Fast forward two decades and the former BHS student is now in her second year of a three-year degree in Computing for Business Management at the University of Sussex in the UK. Her studies have been helped greatly by the Ewan Sampson Scholarship Trust, which awards $12,500 per year, for two years. In addition to this, Ms Williams was also the successful recipient of a BELCO STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Education Award.

Established in memory of Ewan Sampson, the former Saltus Grammar School student who tragically lost his life in a bike crash in 1998 at the age of 17, this scholarship specifically focuses on IT because Sampson had been renowned for his own computer skills. Like Sampson, Williams is very passionate about IT and that, she believes, is what made her scholarship applications stand out.

“All my high school teachers from BHS would refer to me as the tech girl,” she laughed. “I was always the one people came to if they had any technological problems.” Williams also had a lot on her CV to support this passion.

At school, she was a Digital Leader, which meant she was responsible for helping the IT department with a variety of needs as well as relaying information to fellow students about all things technology related. She also took part in the annual Digital Leadership Conferences organised by the Economic Development Department.

Essentially, whenever there was an opportunity to do anything IT related at school, or try out new technology the school had brought in, she was the first in line. This included taking part in the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, which involved working throughout her weekends.

“I’m infatuated with IT,” she continued. “I think it’s how it’s always evolving. It’s a very rapid, fast-paced environment and we use technology daily. It’s very hard for us to live without it, so I think that’s what fascinates me.”

In addition to her extra-curricular pursuits outside of school, Williams has also interned or worked in IT-related roles during her summer holidays:

“I’ve worked previously at BHS. For a summer I was an assistant to the IT department where we helped set up Smart Boards and computers for the school and helped with all the WIFI mapping,” she explained.

“Then, I worked at Connectech for another summer. I was a summer camp counsellor. It was a lot of fun, teaching kids how to code from scratch.”

Another summer, she also worked in the IT department at BELCO as a corporate applications intern. She cleverly saves all the money she earns during her summers working, to use while she is at university. That way, she said, she can focus on her studies. She will occasionally use her spare time to do online coding courses, however, and she has even started a cyber security certification.

Once she has completed her current degree, Williams would like to stay in the UK to do a master’s degree in either information security or business administration, after which she hopes to come back to Bermuda to work:

“At the moment, I’m not sure whether I would like to go into the world of insurance and see where I fit there. Or, I’ve previously worked at BELCO. I’m not sure which pathway I want to go, but I definitely want to come back home to start working.”

Williams is grateful for all the support she received from the scholarships and her advice to anyone hoping for a scholarship is to “apply to everything you possibly can!”

She also pointed out that very few scholarships are primarily for students who want to study IT, but many will still support a technology-related degree. Good examples are the BELCO and some of the BFIS scholarships.

“Definitely just apply, apply, apply and keep applying until you think you can’t anymore,” she emphasised. “And definitely follow up on your applications, that’s a big one, because you never know what you might find afterwards.”

She mentioned this because she didn’t hear back about her Ewan Sampson scholarship application until she followed up with them:

“I decided to email them and they had initially missed my application,” she said, “but then they went back and reviewed it and then I was selected. It was a very surprising shock to me, because I thought, at that point, that the scholarship had already been awarded to someone else.”

Ms Williams recognised that the scholarship application process can be hard, but she added, it can be worth it:

“It is very hard to take rejections, but you have to reflect and think, it’s not the end of the world. It will work itself out eventually. The first ‘no’s’ are very hard, but I’d say still try to keep a strong mind and to just keep going and hopefully it works out.”

She also advised students to take advantage of additional resources available to help with the application process. She recommended Longtail Learning, for which she has also volunteered, which offers a Scholarship Mentoring Programme.

In 2023, the Ewan Sampson Scholarship was amended, and is now only available to students wishing to pursue IT related degrees or qualifications at the Bermuda College. The purpose of this is to promote awareness in the community about career opportunities for young Bermudians in this field. For more information about this and other IT-related scholarships, please go to bermudascholarships.com.

The BELCO STEM Education Award gives between $2,500 – $20,000 for one academic year. For information about this, as well as other BELCO scholarships, please go to belco.bm/community-support.

For more information about Longtail Learning, visit longtaillearningbda.weebly.com.

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