Reggae Girl Rhodes scholar impresses on many levels
"Everything stopped and then I just replayed it to make sure it was my name that was called and then I started to smile," Sherona Forrester told The Gleaner yesterday, minutes after Governor General Sir Patrick Allen had announced the 2016 Jamaica Rhodes Scholar.
Admitting to being very surprised, the 24-year-old Glenmuir High School past student, who lectures in principles of economics part-time at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, paid tribute to the other seven candidates.
"It was a really good bunch of students, but I'm just grateful to God for coming through for me once again," she declared, before going on to disclose what gave her the edge over the other two young women and five men.
"I am holistically developed. I not only sing, but I play netball, football, basketball, and I do well in school. So being active was my comparative advantage," explained Forrester, who will head to Oxford to pursue an M.Phil in economics.
Meanwhile, Peter Goldson, secretary to the Rhodes Scholar selection committee, concurs with the assessment of the 2016 Rhodes Scholar.
"Boy, she was outstanding on many levels," he shared with The Gleaner afterwards.
"I mean, she's clearly strong in academics because she has a first-class [honours] degree from the University of the West Indies with a GPA (grade point average) of 3.9. She has a distinction in her master's in economics from UWI, and you put that with her strong sporting involvement on the Jamaica female football team. She represents in basketball, netball and football and really has an amazing spirit and concern for the weaker members of society," Goldson noted.
"She is impressive on many levels."
The former Glenmuir High head girl, who hails from Mineral Heights in May Pen, Clarendon, actually has a double major in economics and statistics for her first degree from the UWI, Mona, where she has an impressive academic and sporting track record.
In addition to the Charles Kennedy Prize, she also took the Director of Sports Award, and has been a member of the Jamaica senior women's football team since 2014. She was captain of the female team for the UWI, Mona, contingent for the UWI Games from 2013-15; captain of the UWI female basketball team, 2012-13; captain of the UWI senior netball team, 2011-2012.
So, the combination of experi-ence and charisma proved the competitive advantage for Forrester, who describes herself as an economic statistician, with a strong background in leadership, sports and the performing arts.
"I have served on numerous youth-leadership committees, and I understand the sacrifice it requires to serve others ... ," the UWI alumna said.
She also added that she is "an experienced team leader with the ability to initiate and manage cross-functional teams and multi-disciplinary projects".