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2023/2024 Chevening Scholar Excited to Pursue Studies in the UK

By: , September 12, 2023
2023/2024 Chevening Scholar Excited to Pursue Studies in the UK
2023/2024 Chevening Scholar, Olivia Shaw-Lovell, is all smiles as she celebrates being chosen for Chevening.

The Full Story

With a passion for social development, 2023/2024 Chevening Scholar, Olivia Shaw-Lovell, is excited to embark on an academic journey made possible through faith and the belief that her heavenly father will direct her path.

She will be pursuing a Master of Science in Global Health at St. George’s University of London, in the United Kingdom (UK).

Born and raised in Mount Salem, St. James, Mrs. Shaw-Lovell, is proud of her latest accomplishment.

“As a vulnerable young woman from a stigmatised community, this is a rare occurrence for my people, and God has chosen me to lead a path to show other women and men from [similar] communities that no one can stop you from achieving greatness, except you allow them,” says Mrs. Shaw-Lovell.

For her, being chosen for Chevening is a “bittersweet feeling”, as she was first placed on the reserved list and had to wait for some time before being successfully upgraded.

“Based on the relationship I have with God I knew that I wasn’t going to get a straight yes. I am going to go through some more pressing and waiting, and so I was OK,” Mrs. Shaw-Lovell tells JIS News.

“I was like, I’m reserved, but that is not a no and whatever else needs to get done, it will get done. But now, it’s out of my hands and if this is what God wants for me, then he will work it out,” she continues.

She informs that the waiting process was not easy, an, as such, she joined a Global WhatsApp group with other reserves; however, that decision was not the best for her anxiety.

“I constantly had to seek support from my friend to pray with me so I could keep the anxiety in control, because the wait is very hard – it’s nerve-wracking,” says the 2023 Chevening Scholar, who will be attending one of the top medical schools in London.

Mrs. Shaw-Lovell. who is a devoted Christian, says she had no idea her passion for social development and service in general would lead to her studying in the UK.

“It was never a plan, like on the Vision Board to say I’m going to the UK to study. My only goal was that I was not paying for my next educational attainment, I wanted a scholarship and I believed that I would earn a scholarship some way, somehow to continue my studies,” she says.

“I just knew that this new passion that I have was embedded in me from an early age and I just was intentional about seeking opportunities that will build on that,” Mrs. Shaw-Lovell continues.

The 2023/2024 Chevening Scholar further tells JIS News that her programme of study was carefully selected, as it allows her to link the passion she has for social development with her love for the sciences.

She explains that her love for the sciences saw her matriculating from the Westwood High School in Trelawny to the Montego Bay Community College, in St. James, where she studied Preliminary Sciences before moving on to the University of Technology, Jamaica, where she gained a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology.

“I’m hoping that through the studies in the global health sector, primarily focusing on mental health, I’ll be able to come back [to Jamaica] in a consultancy role, where I can work with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and also corporate Jamaica, to assist them in understanding the importance of developing mental health spaces for persons,” she says.

The 2023 scholar, who is also Founder and Executive Director of Women of Destiny Ja., a non-profit organisation, also has plans to utilise the skills gained in the UK to improve the work that she does within communities.

Women of Destiny Ja. is an organisation that provides a haven for holistic empowerment, mentorship and advocacy for marginalised women in Jamaica.

“I’m looking forward to having that built capacity to do more impactful work,” Mrs. Shaw-Lovell emphasises.

The St. James native is also a US Department of State’s Community Solutions Fellow alumnus and has lived and worked in the United States for four months in the field of victim service advocacy.

Her work in community development has also led to her receiving several awards, including the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Outstanding Service, the Jamaica Gleaner’s Distinguished Woman in Volunteerism Award and Cultural Ambassador as Jamaica UNESCO Youth Ambassador.

Mrs. Shaw-Lovell also won the Miss St. James Festival Queen competition in 2017.

She is already in the UK and started classes today (September 11).

She is excited for the cold weather and is looking forward to meeting new persons at school and to see the diverse culture.

“I’m looking forward to interacting with them (schoolmates) and then during the holidays, possibly when it gets a bit warmer next year, I could do a lot of tours and probably experience a bit more of Europe,” she adds.

Issuing a word of encouragement for future applicants, the 2023/2024 scholar wants persons to know that “the process does not really dictate who they are. It amplifies the work that they will be doing, but it doesn’t negate from their strength”.

She points out that the application process is rigorous, and thousands of people apply each year.

“Don’t feel disheartened if you’re not selected, just keep a positive mind, surround yourself with people who believe in you and go for it,” she encourages.

Founded in 1984, Chevening is the United Kingdom Government’s global scholarship programme, aimed at developing global leaders by providing opportunities for postgraduate studies in the UK.

The 2024/2025 application period will open on September 12.

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