Twenty-two year old University of the West Indies (UWI) student, Vincent Taylor, is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Rhodes scholarship award.
The Munroe College alumnus, who is currently pursuing a Master of Philosophy in Computer Science at UWI, was chosen from a field of 11 outstanding candidates, comprising six females and five males.
Governor-General His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, in announcing the award at King’s House on Thursday (November 15), said the selection of this year’s recipient was “a difficult process”.
“This is one of the hardest ones we’ve had. The most difficult one in a number of years and the reason for that is because we have so many brilliant candidates this year,” he stated.
The Governor-General also announced that because of the high quality of the candidates, at the recommendation of the selection committee, one other candidate, Dr. Katherine Innis, will go to Barbados to compete for the Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship.
Dr. Innis, who is a medical intern at the Mandeville Regional Hospital, recently graduated from the UWI with a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery degree.
Sir Patrick congratulated all 11 candidates on their achievements and wished them well as they continue their “pursuit of academic excellence in your various disciplines”.
Meanwhile, in an interview with JIS News, Mr. Taylor said he was “extremely elated” in winning the scholarship, but also humbled by the confidence the committee has placed in him.
He also thanked his family and his teachers for “being a source of constant support”.
“I would also like to say to the other candidates, who were unsuccessful today to keep trying, because this is my second time around and I hit the jackpot,” he stated.
Mr. Taylor, who lost out to Dr. David Walcott in 2010, said he was happy he never gave up hope of winning the highly acclaimed award.
“I was shortlisted two years ago and certainly, I’ve done a lot of work since then, which would make me a much better candidate this year,” he remarked.
The Santa Cruz Preparatory graduate holds a First Class Honours Degree in Computer Science and Electronics from the UWI, and is currently pursuing an MPhil in Computer Science, specialising in research on wireless sensor network security.
He will go on to the Oxford University in the United Kingdomwhere he intends to pursue further studies in the field.
“I will be doing more research into network security, because I think it is important that we secure our networks, as technology is becoming pervasive across the world. We need to have our networks secured so that our transactions are safe and our personal information is safe,” he stated.
Secretary of the Jamaica Rhodes Selection Committee, Peter Goldson, said the committee members were “very impressed” with the calibre of candidates this year.
“It does say something encouraging about the University of the West Indies and our educational system when there are so many brilliant young men and women, who have done so well. It really is very encouraging,” he remarked.
The Rhodes Scholarships are presented from the Rhodes Trust, which was established by British diamond magnate and imperial statesman, Cecil John Rhodes.