Teen’s love of agriculture enables full scholarship - Wants more info shared on grant opportunities
In recent days, Andrea Smith, an 18-year-old resident of Clarks Town in Trelawny, is as happy as a lark and proud as a peacock.
All this is influenced by her being awarded a four-year full scholarship to study agronomy at Earth University in Costa Rica. The university offers full scholarships to Caribbean students to study agriculture.
"I have always loved agriculture. I grew up seeing my father rearing chickens and pigs. He would plant all different kinds of crops, to include sweet pepper, sweet potato, and callaloo, among others. I fell in love then, and that love has developed to where I am now," Smith told THE STAR.
A William Knibb High School graduate, she was ranked 97th by the Caribbean Examinations Council in the region in agricultural science, and got a double award in the subject.
Agronomy is Smith's first love, but on her return she plans to become a successful agronomist and launch out in agro-processing.
"I see so many of our fruits getting ripe and falling to the ground and rotting. Mangoes and apples are two examples. An incubator is on the Rural Agricultural Development Authority grounds at Hague. I am not sure if it is being used, but I can tell you, in four years' time it will be in full production," she promised.
The teen is concerned that agro-centred scholarships are not well publicised, and hopes this will be changed for the better in the future.
"On no Career Day was a farmer invited to speak to us. I only realised that scholarships are available all over the world. Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Cuba and Costa Rica are just some countries that offer scholarships," she informed. "It was only when I told my friend of my ambition that I learnt about scholarships. This must change so that the information can be made available to students."
Reiterating the need to share more about scholarships, Smith related the experience of a fellow graduate who did not know that when one joins the army, opportunities are there to pursue other careers.
"Students must be exposed," she said.