Large Abroad | Dr Shelly-Ann Bowen: Daley's Grove daughter aids CDC
The Mandeville district of Daley's Grove is the former home of cytotechnologist Dr Shelly-Ann Bowen.
The daughter of a teacher, she lived a typical rural life.
"I had five siblings so there was never enough of any one thing, but there was a lot of laughter," recalled Bowen.
The former Manchester High School student told The Gleaner that she was unpopular during her time at Manchester High School. She only cared about her grades and strove for absolute perfection.
"I stressed and fretted about my CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council) passes, and it affected my chances of going to sixth form," Bowen said.
After completing CXC, she would attend Northern Caribbean University (NCU).
"I did not want to attend NCU, but after my placement exams for another university were misplaced, I was encouraged to apply for NCU," Bowen explained, noting the limited processing time left.
Her decision proved to be very wise as she won a full four-year scholarship in the field of medical technology.
Bowen said she was actively involved in the Rotary Club since her school days and, therefore, in consideration of her role in and representation of her district's Rotary Club, she was awarded the International Ambassadorial Scholarship, granting her a year of academic study at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Bowen opted to specialise in cytology - the function and structure of cells - after learning about the high occurrence and prevalence of cervical cancer in Jamaica.
She also aimed for a PhD in cytopathology, despite having spent only a year in her programme.
She would find another source of funding through the International Fellowship from the University Association of Women based on the merit of her cytology degree and the importance of the study to women and young girls.
Bowen's goal of a PhD in cytopathology changed to public health behaviour education after listening to her dean's views on her aptitude for helping others.
She is currently a technical specialist at the Atlanta, Georgia-located ICF - an American consulting firm providing professional services and technology-based solutions to the government and commercial clients.
"I lead a team that provides evaluation technical assistance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," Bowen said.
She is also the leader of a project aimed at preventing and controlling diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and associated risk factors.
Bowen told The Gleaner that her success was a result of her perseverance.
She said she was very proud to be Jamaican, especially when asked about her origins.
She advises Jamaicans to determine their goals, have a plan, and "even if your building blocks aren't aligned, fight the fear and take the first step".
- Romaine Newell