Sixteen-year-old Brittany Wright, who wants to become an engineer, has taken the first step towards achieving that dream by earning an impressive 10 grade ones in the recent Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.
The Immaculate Conception High student scored top marks in Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, English Language, English Literature, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Spanish, Biology and Information Technology (IT).
Despite the closure of schools in March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Brittany tells JIS News she was determined to excel.
“I attribute my success to hard work and guidance, mainly from my parents, my teachers and my peers. I am a visual learner, so some things I like to do are to make diagrams to connect certain concepts to see how they relate to each other, and make flash cards. But, most importantly, I like to space out my studying over a number of days, instead of cramming at the last minute,” she explains.
“When I was preparing for CSEC, there was a lot of uncertainty and sometimes I felt alone, but whenever I felt alone, I talked to my parents and my friends,” Brittany adds.
Noting that the online learning is a challenge for her, the student says she is experimenting with several techniques to adapt to the virtual learning environment, adding that her participation in the Dream Jamaica Summer programme also assisted her to make the transition.
Brittany is now a lower sixth-form student at Immaculate, where she is continuing her education using online platforms.
“It is more difficult for me to learn in an online setting than face to face, because I find that there are so many distractions, so it is a bit difficult to adjust. I just have to put in more work, do some more independent study to make sure I understand the content. I went back to school this past Monday and we have been following our timetables as usual,” she says.
Looking to the future, Brittany has started preparations for the SATs, with the intention of sitting the tests in December, as she plans to pursue studies in astronautics, aeronautics and software engineering at the tertiary level.
She has her sights set on pursuing higher education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States of America.
“I chose that school because they mainly specialise in STEM subjects, but they still teach other subjects, such as business and social science,” Brittany notes.
Upon completion of her studies, she says she intends to return to Jamaica to “build her community”.
Brittany, whose favourite subject is mathematics, says she would like to inspire greater love for the subject among Jamaican youth by establishing a Foundation to sponsor students with an aptitude for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“One thing I have noticed is that students my age do not have a real enthusiasm for mathematics and STEM fields. So, one thing I would really like to do is encourage young persons my age to find a love in these fields. I want to build a Foundation to sponsor students to learn STEM as well as to make them financially able to attend certain institutions and to study further than high school,” she tells JIS News.
Brittany also hopes to establish a software engineering firm in the future.
Beyond academics, her extracurricular activities reflect her passion for music, science and leadership, as she plays the flute in her school’s concert band. She is also a member of the Science Club and is actively involved in the Prefect Council.