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Abic Education Awards presented to 20 Bermudian students

Off to university: 20 Bermudian students received scholarships worth $605,000 to support their further education at the Association of Bermuda International Companies Education Awards ceremony (Photogaph by Ernest McCreight)

Twenty Bermudian students received scholarships worth $605,000 to support their further education at the Association of Bermuda International Companies Education Awards.

One of the island’s largest and longest-running post secondary scholarship programmes, ABICEA is funded by Bermuda international companies.

After almost 45 years, it has provided support for more than 720 Bermudian students for education related to International Business, selected through a combination of financial need and academic achievement.

Over the past ten years alone, Abic member companies have donated more than $6 million to the programme.

Dominique Richardson, Senior Underwriter, Professional Liability, at Markel Bermuda, an Abic board member and an ABICEA awardee in 2011, was the awards luncheon guest speaker.

She advised the 2022 recipients to step outside their comfort zones, embrace failure and be their authentic selves.

“Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens,” Ms Richardson said. “When you push yourself, you become more confident, more creative and more adaptable.”

Failures were inevitable learning opportunities, Ms Richardson added. “It’s not the mistakes that define us or make us what we are, it’s what we learn from them … Can you take a failure and turn it into a stepping stone to success?”

She attributed part of her success to always being her true self. “My advice to you would be to embrace your authenticity … It gives you more clarity to see what you want out of life, allows you to live your true purpose, and also attract genuine people.”

Michelle Seymour Smith, Chair of the ABICEA board, paid tribute to Greta Peters and Richard Winchell, Abic’s administrator and executive director, respectively, who will both be retiring at the end of this year.

In their honour, the Abic Postgraduate Scholarship will be renamed the Peters Winchell Postgraduate Award.

Ms Seymour Smith said: “Greta is passionate about the awards and her commitment has always been to the welfare and success of our students.”

She added that during Ms Peters’s eight years administrating the Awards, 160 scholarships had been awarded, a mentoring programme was developed and financial support increased.

Ms Seymour Smith described Mr Winchell, who became Abic’s first executive director in 2006, as “an eternal optimist” with boundless commitment and energy.

His accomplishments include the growth of Abic’s membership to 126 companies, implementing curriculum in schools to educate students about international business, supporting the Bermudascholarships.com website and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion through Abic’s support for WeSpeak and the Association for Corporate Racial Equality.

Ms Peters said: “What I love about the education awards is being able to follow the academic journeys of our recipients and being a conduit for network events, internships and entry-level jobs once they return.

“The best thing is when alumni ask us how they can ‘give back’ to ABICEA. There are opportunities to be on careers panels in public schools, to be mentors and eventually, a scholarship interviewer, appearing in promotional videos for Bermuda Business Week and www.bermudascholarships.com.

“I’m proud to help the next generation of leaders in any way I can.”

The 2022 ABICEA recipients were:

Nazarah Bridgewater: graduated in 2021 from the Berkeley Institute. Nazarah is about to enter her second year at Howard University, where she is majoring in mathematics in the Actuarial Science programme with a minor in psychology. Her aim is to become a life actuary at a reinsurance firm.

Kiara Burcher: a 2021 International Baccalaureate graduate from the Bermuda High School, Kiara is entering her second year at the University of Western Ontario majoring in computer science and mathematics. She hopes to work in re/insurance as an actuary or data analyst.

Benjamin Darling: a graduate of Warwick Academy, who has completed his first year at the University of the West of England in the Accounting and Finance BA (Hons) programme. He plans to work as an accountant and to earn the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants designation.

Jada Davis: a 2022 International Baccalaureate graduate of the Bermuda High School. Jada is looking forward to attending the Honours College at Rutgers University in the autumn, when she will read for a double major in finance and business analytics, and information technology.

Amber Douglas: pursuing a BBA in human resource management at Toronto Metropolitan University, Amber is on the honours list. Prior to this, she graduated from Bermuda College in 2021 with an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration.

Miguel Furtado Simas: a 2020 graduate of CedarBridge Academy who received an Associate of Arts degree with distinction in Business Administration from Bermuda College. He will transfer his credits to St John’s University in New York to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Risk Management and Insurance.

Aisling Harris: a 2021 International Baccalaureate graduate from Warwick Academy, who will pursue a joint honours degree in geography and economics at the University of Reading, after which she plans to return to Bermuda and start a career in international business.

Nanami Ingram: a graduate of the Berkeley Institute where she achieved principal’s honours. She will pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce with a major in accounting and finance at Toronto Metropolitan University. Her goal is to go on to achieve her CPA designation.

Christopher Jackson: entering his senior year at Eastern Michigan University where he is majoring in a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a concentration in applied behaviour analysis and a minor in communications. Christopher plans to attend graduate school to further his studies in human behaviour and organisation development.

Reihonna Lema: a graduate of the Berkeley Institute and a graduate of Bermuda College, where she obtained an Associates of Arts degree with Distinction in Business Administration. In the fall, she will enter her second year at Georgia State University, pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Risk Management and Insurance.

Solomon O’Connor: a 2022 honours graduate of the Berkeley Institute. In the autumn, he will attend King’s University College at Western to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Organisational Studies with a major in finance. He hopes to work in the insurance industry in underwriting.

Amelia Othman: a 2022 International Baccalaureate graduate from Bermuda High School. In September she will attend Brock University, pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration with two years of study in France. Amelia plans to return home to work in Bermuda’s international business industry.

Jerzi Riley: a 2022 graduate of Saltus Grammar School, who will study Actuarial Science at the University of Central Florida, starting in January 2023. In the meantime, Jerzi will continue working as an intern at Arch Re. She hopes to pursue a career as an actuary in Bermuda.

Michae Skinner: a 2020 CedarBridge Academy graduate, who graduated with honours from Bermuda College. In the autumn, Michae will begin her third year at Mount Saint Vincent University, where she is studying for a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting, after which she plans to pursue her CPA designation.

Larrissa Simmons: graduated from Bermuda Institute in 2019. She is entering her senior year at Oakwood University pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance, after which plans to study for her Master’s in Finance and Business Administration. She aims to return to Bermuda to work as an accountant in a reinsurance or accounting firm.

Jezhari Talbot: a 2022 honours graduate of the Berkeley Institute where she was a prefect, vice-president of the Student Council, and CEO of Virtual Enterprise International. She plans to study Finance at the University of Reading with a year abroad for Spanish immersion.

Adrian Trott: a 2022 graduate of South Kent School, a preparatory boarding school in Kent, Connecticut, Adrian is a student-athlete who excels in the classroom and on the football pitch. He is preparing for his freshman year at Amherst College to earn an accounting degree.

Jayden Williams-Woodley: a 2022 honours graduate of the Berkeley Institute, Jayden will be pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in cybersecurity at Nottingham Trent University this autumn. Jayden plans to return to Bermuda after his degree and start his career in cybersecurity for an international business.

Ahria’ Simons: graduated in June 2022 from Dartmouth College with his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in environmental studies. Next year, Ahria’ will be attending Northeastern University, to pursue his Master’s in Global Studies and International Relations and plans to concentrate on sustainable development. He envisions that the rise of ESG will allow him to combine his interest in financial services and environmental studies.

Di’Neasha DeSilva: graduated with distinction from Mount Saint Vincent University with her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a double major in accounting and management, and a double minor in Finance and Marketing, while working full time as a staff auditor. Di’Neasha enrolled in CPA Atlantic in 2021 will be pursuing her Master of Business Administration at Barry University.

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Published July 19, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated July 19, 2022 at 10:13 am)

Abic Education Awards presented to 20 Bermudian students

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