Island student lands $200,000 scholarship

  • <B>BHS student</B> Sarah Hopkin is the winner of the Jardine scholarship. Pictured from the left: Bermuda High School principal Linda Parker; Jardine Matheson International Services president John Lang; scholarship winner Sarah Hopkin, and BHS International Baccalaureate programme head Kate Ross.

    BHS student Sarah Hopkin is the winner of the Jardine scholarship. Pictured from the left: Bermuda High School principal Linda Parker; Jardine Matheson International Services president John Lang; scholarship winner Sarah Hopkin, and BHS International Baccalaureate programme head Kate Ross.
    ((Photo by Glenn Tucker))

Local student Sarah Hopkin has become the Island’s first in 20 years to be awarded a Jardine Foundation scholarship — worth about $200,000.

This means the 18-year-old Bermuda High School graduate, as one of a dozen picked from hundreds, will head off this summer to study cutting-edge science at Oxford University’s Trinity College.

Her choices within her field range from nanotechnology to space age materials and energy technology.

“Nanotechnology sounds like fun,” Ms Hopkin told The Royal Gazette, adding: “I’ll be studying material science, which is across most scientific fields, looking at the properties of materials and inventing new properties for old ones.”

Only five Bermuda residents have picked up the prestigious award in its history. The last local to receive it was Reading Clinic executive director Julie Dunstan, 20 years ago, according to Jardine Matheson International Services Limited President John Lang.

“Sarah’s also the first from Bermuda to embark on this scholarship at an undergraduate level,” Mr Lang said “She is unique in that respect.”

BHS principal Linda Parker commended the International Baccalaureate graduate an “an outstandingly well-rounded young lady”.

Added IB Department head Kate Ross: “Sarah is extraordinary. She’s remarkably self-assured and grounded, and very modest — she just got on with it.”

No small feat for an award that required a trip around the world during the midterm exam season.

Calling the scholarship “purely altruistic”, Mr Lang added: “We don’t expect, and it’s not a requirement, that these scholars come back to work for Jardines. There have been 150 over 30 years and I don’t think any one of them ended up working for us. But those 150 have gone on to make a big difference in the world. With this scholarship, we’re looking for people like Sarah to do great things.”

The multinational company is based in Hong Kong, and incorporated in Bermuda. Its Jardine Foundation was set up in 1982, explained Mr Lang, “for the sole purpose of awarding scholarships to a very select group”.

He said: “There were six a year until this year, when there will be 12 for the first time. They are applicable to four colleges in Oxford University and four in Cambridge University.

“It’s really for young people who have a good capacity to become outstanding citizens. But beyond being scholars, they have to have a strong community involvement. You have to have an offer already from your college, and you have to have lived for at least seven years in a place where Jardines has had a significant presence.”

There were 229 applicants for the 12 scholarship places, with 161 invited for the first round of interviews, following which 22 travelled to Hong Kong, at Jardines’ expense, for the second round of interviews by the company. The award covers four years’ tuition and accommodation, with “a bit of board and lodging allowance”.

“Sarah had to make a very long trip,” Mr Lang said — although the well-travelled student, whose family is to move back to the UK this summer, had lived in Hong Kong as a little girl.

Learning of the scholarship only after she got confirmation of Oxford’s interest, Ms Hopkin had exactly two days to get her scholarship application together — and she received her interview requests from Oxford and Jardines on the same day.

Although she met the company’s standards, Ms Hopkin still had to pass Oxford’s interviews, and make the grade with her IB scores. As it turned out, she came top in BHS for the exams, the school yesterday revealed.

Soon to leave for her Masters in Engineering, Ms Hopkins will be covered for the complete cost of her four years’ undergraduate degree.

Ms Hopkins, who attended Somerset Primary before moving to BHS in year seven, said that though her mother Elizabeth Wear works as a teacher and her father Peter Hopkin is a land surveyor, both her grandfathers excelled in the field of science.

“One was a physicist and one was a chemist,” she said, adding: “And one of them went to Oxford.”

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Published Jul 10, 2012 at 8:43 am (Updated Jul 10, 2012 at 8:43 am)

Island student lands $200,000 scholarship

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