FORTY engineering students attending The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) and the University of Technology, Jamaica (Uech,Ja), were recently presented with scholarships worth $18.5 million from New Fortress Energy (NFE). The amount is a significant jump from the $10 million offered by the company last year for tertiary scholarship recipient.

Second-year civil engineer student at UTech Jamaica, David Smith (centre) proudly accepts his laptop from New Fortress Energy as part of the company’s scholarship package for students who have found it hard to connect their classes online. The energy provider handed over more than $18.5 million in scholarships a, bursaries to 40 tertiary engineering students for the 2020/2021 academic year. Making the presentation is Jacqui Burrell Clarke, director of communications and community relations at New Fortress Energy. They are joined by Percival Stewart, programme director for civil engineering at Utech.

A company release said more than 80 per cent of the students reside in and around one of the three communities where the energy provider operates its liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, which are Old harbour Bay, St Catherine; Bogue, St James; and Hayes, Clarendon, while the remaining students are from Kingston and St Andrew and Westmoreland.

Thirty-seven students received scholarships valued at $365,000 and $735,000, respectively, while three students received bursaries valued at $200,000. Of these, 12 students were part of the company’s scholarship programme from previous years who have consistently maintained GPAs of 3.0 and above each year, as per one of the programme’s qualifying criteria. Other criteria are the student’s financial needs and their co-curricular activities such as community involvement and mentorship.

Fayval Williams, the minister of education, youth and information, in endorsing the programme, said: “I’m happy and encouraged by the generosity of so many of our corporate companies, like New Fortress Energy, who remain steadfast in their commitment to help uplift our children through education. On behalf of the Ministry of Education, the universities, the students and their families, I commend NFE for its needed and unwavering support to Jamaica’s youth and nation-building, especially during this challenging time for our country.”

In addition to the scholarships, several students who have not been able to effectively participate in their online classes received Lenovo laptops that are equipped to accommodate the specific software applications used in the engineering field such as CAD and math tools.

Since 2017, New Fortress Energy has awarded more than $54 million scholarships and bursaries to tertiary students. Verona Carter, vice-president at New Fortress Energy, said: “We believe education is a fundamental right and we at NFE, through the vision of our founder, Wes Edens, are providing access to the necessary resources for these future leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs to thrive and flourish in fulfilling their highest potential. With education being the cornerstone of sustainable economic development, we are committed to supporting Jamaica on its journey to nation-building.”

“We’ve listened with humility and compassion to the stories of these students and it’s inspiring to see that despite the odds they are striving for excellence to change the trajectory of their lives. We are proud and honoured to be part of their journey. Since 2017, we have witnessed doctors, lawyers and engineers coming through our scholarship programme to play their part in building a better future for Jamaica, and it’s powerful and motivating to watch these emerging leaders,” added Carter.

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Corporate Communications Unit

Advancement Division

University of Technology, Jamaica