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Five win Nicholl Scholarships for wide range of studies

This year’s winners: Renée Oliveira Nicholl, scholarship committee member, left, Maya Crockwell, Janet Kemp, committee member, Katarina Rance, Vanessa Schrum, committee member, Sebastian Tod, Thomas Marshall, Emily Davis and Rick Spurling, trustee of the Nicholl Scholarships (Photograph supplied)

Young academics spoke of their elation after receiving a prestigious $25,000 scholarship.

Five students spoke to The Royal Gazette after the trustees of the Nicholl Scholarships announced the winners for the 2023-24 school year.

Maya Crockwell will pursue a Master of Science degree in Environment, Culture and Society at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, while Emily Davis will study Classics for a Bachelor of Arts degree at Durham University in England.

Thomas Marshall is working towards a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Engineering Management at Loughborough University in Britain, and Hannah Katarina Rance is studying for a Doctor of Medicine degree at the European University Cyprus Frankfurt Branch.

Sebastian Tod is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Humanitarian Development at the University College London.

Mr Tod, 19, from Somerset, said he had been drawn to apply by the scholarship’s support for a diverse range of study topics.

“I would greatly encourage other students pursuing less common career paths to definitely apply for it in the future,” he said.

Upon hearing that he had been accepted, Mr Tod said he was “completely lost for words — it felt almost surreal”.

“I was just unbelievably grateful to the Nicholl board for recognising me and very humbled to be selected as a recipient.”

Mr Tod, who studied at Somersfield Academy and then Trinity College School in Canada, said the scholarship would allow him to work alongside experts.

“The financial assistance will greatly help with the high cost of living in London, enabling me to focus more on my studies and pursue meaningful projects outside the classroom,” he said.

“I am enrolled in the Global Humanitarian Development programme at University College London, a degree focusing on immediate disaster response and sustainable rebuilding after crises.

“It is one of the only degrees in the world for the subject, and will thus allow me to be on the cutting edge of research within the field.”

Mr Tod said he planned on a master’s degree next, with the goal of working at the United Nations in a frontline capacity after natural disasters or conflicts.

“I hope to combine this with my interest in documentary film-making and photography to share the stories of the places and people affected.”

Mr Tod said he planned to return to Bermuda to address “local issues, such as the growing homelessness crisis, which has been an ambition of mine since volunteering at the Eliza DoLittle Soup kitchen with my aunt when I was young”.

He said he had taken the past year off to volunteer in Cambodia and Thailand, which fired his interest in the degree.

Ms Davis, 18, from Pembroke, was a BHS student for 11 years who has spent the past two years at Felsted School in Essex.

“I was prompted to apply for the Nicholl Scholarship because it was one of the only local scholarships which were solely based on academic excellence and was open for candidates with interests in all manner of fields,” she said.

“That was particularly important to me because I am going to study a more niche degree of Classics at university.”

While she said she was unsure of where her Classics studies would take her, she hopes to return to the island, potentially to work with the National Museum of Bermuda.

Mr Marshall, 19, from Devonshire, said he had noticed the award on the Bermuda Scholarships website — also noticing that it catered to a wide range of subjects.

He studied at Warwick Academy and Saltus Grammar School.

“When I received the incredible news that I was being awarded the scholarship, I was really overcome with a deep sense of gratitude.

“The generosity of Mr Nicholl and his support for Bermuda's students over all these years really amazes me and inspires me.”

Now entering his second of a four-year programme on Construction Engineering Management, Mr Marshall is studying a combination of engineering, construction, surveying and project management.

“It is equipping me with the practical skills I need to confidently approach various aspects of real-world construction engineering projects, including addressing pressing issues like the impacts of climate change.

“The Nicholl Scholarship will provide me with the financial support I need to achieve my academic goals, and to gain valuable practical skills in the construction engineering industry, including an international work placement — I'm currently looking at opportunities in Australia.

“This scholarship will really alleviate the financial strain on my family, which I am so thankful for.

“My aspiration is to gain valuable work experience overseas and to bring my skills and experience back to Bermuda.“

Ms Crockwell, 20, from Warwick, graduated last month from the University of Warwick in England with a degree in Global Sustainable Development and Life Sciences.

She said the scholarship attracted her for its core values on “tertiary education and being a well-rounded person, which is hugely important to me”.

She added that it embraced non-traditional studies outside “the standard medical, business, law or accounting categories so prevalent in Bermuda”.

Upon learning of her acceptance, Ms Crockwell was “initially shocked and in disbelief, but when the reality set in, I just felt immensely grateful to the selection committee and proud of myself”.

“Not only will this scholarship help with attaining my Masters of Science degree, but it is ultimately a thank-you to Mom for her unwavering support and hard work to get me where I am today.”

The postgraduate programme in Edinburgh on Environment, Culture and Society “offers an interdisciplinary exploration of the intricate connections between the climate crisis, cultural practices and norms and societal dynamics”, looking at the climate crisis as a human-based problem rather than strictly scientific.

“Although my career intentions are not yet defined, I look to initially expand upon my technical knowledge through work placements overseas in the climate and sustainable development industry and ultimately return to Bermuda where I can put this experience into practice.”

For Ms Rance, from Devonshire, coverage in The Royal Gazette alerted her to a scholarship catering to students outside the business world.

“When I got the news, I was immediately in tears; I’ve never cried when getting good news,” she said, describing mixed relief and joy.

“This scholarship lifts a huge financial burden from me and my family and shows that my hard work has paid off.”

A graduate of BHS and Warwick Academy, Ms Rance said she aimed to become a medical doctor.

“This award now allows me to focus on my studies and enables me to attend additional courses outside of the regular curriculum. I will have time to build my resume with work experience and continued volunteering.”

Her six-year medical programme in Frankfurt starts in September, offering “early hands-on experience, working with state-of-the-art stimulation and skills labs as well as early patient contact in hospitals”.

The university is also linked with the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

After EUC, Ms Rance plans to do a surgical residency with a focus in orthopaedics or neurology, but said she was “very open to other areas of medicine as well”.

She has her hopes set on a Johns Hopkins internship, adding: “With the worldwide shortage of doctors, I definitely plan to return to Bermuda once I am specialised and have gained some work experience to make a difference in my community.”

• Albert E. Nicholl, known on the island as “Nicky”, came to Bermuda from England in 1917, during the First World War, as Chief Examination Officer for the Royal Navy Reserve at St George’s. He gave generously to the education of Bermudians, and left his estate in trust to provide scholarships for accredited universities in the British Commonwealth and the US

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Published August 16, 2023 at 7:55 am (Updated August 16, 2023 at 7:42 am)

Five win Nicholl Scholarships for wide range of studies

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