Timar Jackson Selected Jamaica Rhodes Scholar for 2014

Photo by: JIS Photographer Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen (right), congratulates Timar Jackson (left) on being named the 2014 Rhodes Scholar during a brief ceremony at King’s House on November 21.

Story Highlights

  • He topped a field of nine candidates shortlisted for consideration and selection as Jamaica’s 2014 Rhodes Scholar.
  • Mr. Jackson has been decorated with a first class honours Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree in Actuarial Science.
  • He attributes his success to the developmental foundation which his mother laid for him.

With an impressive track record of academic excellence, Jamaica’s 2014 Rhodes Scholarship awardee, Timar Jackson, is on a mission to leverage the training he will pursue and attain at the prestigious Oxford University in the United Kingdom, to assist in further developing the country’s financial system.

As an actuarial analyst at Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited, Mr. Jackson has the advantage of being knowledgeable on the intricacies of the finance sector, and tells JIS News that he is seeking to play his part to stabilize the nation by contributing to improving the country’s ability to adequately manage various risks.

“I hope that through my studies, I will be able to increase our capacity to identify and measure risk that we face, not only financial risk, but also risk of natural disasters, and so forth. If we can put a price on it, then we will have a better idea as to what the stakes are and what strategies we need to utilise to mitigate against those risks,” he says.

At only 24 years old, this brilliant University of the West Indies (UWI) graduate admits that while he is yet to decide a career, he is certain that “I want to be someone who has a positive impact on others, (and) has a positive impact on my country through service”.

The humble young man topped a field of nine candidates shortlisted for consideration and selection as Jamaica’s 2014 Rhodes Scholar. The announcement was made by Governor-general, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, during a brief ceremony at King’s House on November 21.

The Governor-General noted then that though the selection process was an “interesting experience”, it was a very rigorous and challenging task for the Rhodes Scholarship Committee, to select a winner.

“We have seen a brilliant set of youngsters who have presented themselves, anyone of whom could have been selected to be the Rhodes Scholar for 2014,” he said, while applauding Mr. Jackson for copping the award.

Clearly adept at mathematics, statistics, and finance, as is characteristic of actuaries, Mr. Jackson is well on his way to achieving his ambitious goals.

Already decorated with a first class honours Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree in Actuarial Science, Mr. Jackson plans to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree in Mathematical and Computational Finance, when he takes up his scholarship at the Oxford University next year.

A past student of the Norman Gardens Primary and Junior High, Vauxhall High and Ardenne High schools, this articulate young man, who grew up in single parent home with three older brothers and a younger sister, attributes his success to the developmental foundation which his mother laid for him.

“She had certain ground rules that I didn’t understand at the time, and probably didn’t agree with; but…I can see how they are beneficial, now that I’m looking back,” he says, while thanking her for being “the wind beneath my wings”.

He also credits Vauxhall High school which has “definitely played a major role in me realizing my potential”, his mentors, his Sagicor family, Ardenne High and friends, for his success.

This highly accomplished young man, who was also last year’s recipient of the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in Academics and a finalist in the 2011 Rhodes Scholarship Selection, says he continues to persevere by “continuously being motivated by others” coupled with the drive to, as much as possible, “realise my full potential”.

He also sets out to inspire and motivate those around him, particularly his siblings and those in his inner circle sharing that: “I try to do everything to the best of my ability, so I could inspire them as well.”

This degree of focus and determination is reflected in his numerous educational attainments having obtained nine subjects with six distinctions in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, while at Vauxhall; and seven distinctions at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) which he attained in sixth form at Ardenne.

For the latter exams, he received national awards for placing first in the island in CAPE pure mathematics unit two; first in the island for CAPE accounting units one and two; and second in the island for economics unit two during 2007 and 2008.

Also a well rounded individual, the motivational speaker managed to maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4.12 while at university and making the Dean’s list for every year of study. This he accomplished, while being actively involved in various campus activities including serving on the student guild executive and President of UWI Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow, and Vice Chancellor’s Student Ambassador Corps.

Mr. Jackson was also treasurer of the Rex Nettleford Hall Committee; a member of the UWI Academic Support Unit (Peer Tutoring programme), as well as the UWI Accreditation Steering Committee – Finance Work Group, along with several other commitments.

He was head boy and a sergeant of the cadet unit at Vauxhall, and a prefect at Ardenne High. While in high school, he was also involved sports including track and field, karate, rugby, as well as speech and drama. In addition, he was valedictorian for the Vauxhall graduating class of 2006. He is the current youth representative for the Vauxhall Past Students’ Association.

Mr. Jackson has also been duly recognised for his brilliance, copping the top student award from grades nine to 13, starting at Vauxhall. This continued through to University where he was recipient of the Department of Mathematics Merville Campbell prize for most outstanding first year mathematics student (2009 to 2010), and most outstanding second year mathematics student (2010 to 2011). He was the recipient of the Rex Nettleford Man of Honour Award (2009 to 2010).

The multi-talented youngster also copped a Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) gold medal and national award for best dub poetry (2005). He also received numerous gold, silver and bronze awards for speech and drama (2001 to2006).

Mr. Jackson, whose aptitude for excellence knows no limits, tells JIS News that he is “very elated” to have been selected the Rhodes Scholar for 2014,  having edged out counterparts – Tashanna Walker, Chris-Ann Thomas, Donia Fuller, Rowena-Reneé Xymines, Kerri-Ann Allen, Bianca Samuels, Sharlayne Waller and Mark-Paul Cowan.

“It’s truly a demonstration that hard work, discipline and determination do a lot for a person, and once you have a dream and you pursue it with all that you have, you will realize it,” he asserts.

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