‘I woke up and saw the email and I thought, am I dreaming’ – Rhodes Scholar Madison Quig
Bermuda’s 2023 Rhodes Scholar is headed to Oxford University next year with a view to tackling healthcare inequality.
Madison Quig, 21, spoke to The Royal Gazette after learning she was chosen for the prestigious award.
“Thanksgiving break was just beginning – I woke up and saw the e-mail and I thought, am I dreaming? Is it right? I was shocked and obviously super grateful and surprised.”
Her parents Marc Quig and Myra Virgil were “hopeful” Madison’s record of hard work would steer her through the rigorous selections.
“They felt that what I had done so far would set me up well, but obviously it’s never for sure,” she said.
“The interview is harder than most, and I think most candidates would walk out of it unsure.
“My parents were very happy for me after I worked hard, studied hard and spent a lot of time volunteering – they were very happy for me that it all paid off.”
Madison, from Paget, is nearing the end of her studies at Stanford University in California, where she is working on a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical computation.
The field combines the number crunching and problem solving of IT with medicine and biology.
The degree befits a student who pitched in during the Covid-19 pandemic to help with testing for the virus.
Madison was among volunteers on the front lines with Desiree Spriggs of Helix Laboratory.
“I was lucky during the pandemic that I could contribute to our local efforts,” she said. “I was working with Dr Spriggs helping with Covid testing at the lab.”
Her work included setting up samples for PCR testing and helping to organise the batteries of tests.
Madison’s minor in sociology comes with “a focus on poverty and inequality”, she said.
The Rhodes Scholarship will send her to Oxford for two years, where Madison anticipates the diversity of the students and faculty will expose her to different experiences from around the world.
“I want to work in health equality whether on a local or global scale,” she said. “Hopefully it will expand my world view and my knowledge.”
Ultimately she plans on attending medical school after her studies at Oxford.
The combination of skills in her eventual career as a physician will enable her to work in the area of policy.
Madison attended Bermuda High School – and along with giving her appreciation to the Bermuda Rhodes Scholarship committee, she gave special thanks to the Chubb Foundation for enabling her to attend Stanford on a full scholarship.
Christie Hunter-Arscott, the national secretary for the programme, said Madison struck the interviewers as an “impressive” candidate.
The island get one Rhodes Scholar per year – the first Rhodes Scholar from Bermuda was selected to come to Oxford in 1904, and since that time nearly 100 students from Bermuda have been awarded the scholarship.
Information on how to apply can be found online at the Rhodes Trust website.