Tiana Dinham, a 17-year-old of the Mount Alvernia High School in St. James, made history when she became the first Jamaican student to be awarded the Robertson Scholarship that is tenable at a US-based institution.
“It is honestly such a surreal experience. I would have never imagined that I would have been in this position at the end of the application season, especially just being a rural girl from Hanover, so it was really like mind-blowing just waking up and knowing that I have these opportunities, ones that I personally never envisioned for myself,” Tiana said.
The young teenager who hails from a rural community in the parish of Hanover achieved 16 Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) certificates, with 12 at Caribbean Secondary Examination Subjects (CSEC) and 4 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
As a result of her hard work and determination, Tiana received a full-ride scholarship to 17 internationally acclaimed universities such as Barry University, Lynn University, McGill University, Wingate University, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Dartmouth College, Washington and Lee University, University of British Columbia (Canada), Emory & Henry College and Emory University.
Ultimately, she chose the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, as well as Duke University, where she will be studying Health Policy and Management and also majoring in Chemistry. She explained that this choice was made based on the knowledge that she will acquire while studying there.
She also shared that she plans to implement cost-effective remote clinics or hospitals around the world for those persons who are unable to afford state-of-the-art healthcare and added that on completion of her degree programme, she plans to return to Jamaica with new and innovative ideas on how to eradicate some of the issues that the country is facing.
Basking in her success, Tiana tells people to not limit one’s self, however, they must “Dream big and dream broad”.
“You know your potential, you know your end goal, don’t put yourself in a box , just try to work hard and remember your self-worth because at the end of the day, you are your biggest support and if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will see you, no one else will see your potential to rally behind you and support you,” were the words of advice shared by Tiana Dinham.
Watch Tiana Dinham’s interview on TVJ Smile Jamaica below: