Over the years, Chevening Scholarships have been offered with full financial funding to persons seeking to pursue a Master’s degree in a university in the United Kingdom (UK).
This year, one Dominican female, Julie-Ann Charles, has been awarded the 2023 Chevening Scholarship to pursue a Masters degree in Risk Management and Financial Engineering at Imperial College London. It is her aim to advance her knowledge of investment strategies to help entrepreneurs diversify their income streams as well as to create financial solutions for MSMEs and leverage financial technologies to strengthen operational resilience within finance sectors across the region.
Interestingly, Charles completed her bachelor’s degree in economics and accounting in 2021 at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, after which she earned her designation as a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) in 2023. From working as a teller and then a collateral and business support officer at Scotiabank (now Republic Bank) in Dominica to serving voluntarily as the Guild Treasurer at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, she quickly advanced her professional skills in finance.
Most recently, she worked as the Enterprise Development Officer at the Dominica Youth Business Trust where she led several finance skills training programmes and created financial planning templates to support entrepreneurs.
Upon interview with Emonews, Charles expressed that she was inspired to apply for Chevening due to her recent professional endeavor. “I worked at the Dominica Youth Business Trust where I found an amazing team of employees who wanted to give their all to local entrepreneurs – literally! And so that attitude quickly rubbed off on me. Daily, we saw the challenges of capital availability that most small businesses faced, but there was only so much we could do within our scope of work otherwise, we would have to dip into our own small pockets and, sometimes we did,” she voiced.
It was through this experience that she saw first-hand that people often resorted to the government for grant assistance. “This was saddening. I believe that we need to become more innovative and use that as a catalyst to build wealth – otherwise, we will never see the change that we want. Therefore, my first inspiration for pursuing Chevening was to show that, even for something as costly as a Master’s degree, we can find alternative pathways and of course, with God, all things are possible,” she strengthened.
Furthermore, Charles expressed deepest thanks to Almighty God for answering her prayers and for granting her this opportunity. “I also appreciate the support of 2022 Chevening Scholars Debra Francis and Jevohn Martin, my former supervisor, Rosma Burton and my former lecturer, Dr Mahalia Jackman throughout the application process and I thank my family and the Layou Christian Union Church members for their love and prayers,” she acknowledged.
According to Charles, when she received word that she was chosen as a recipient for this prestigious award, she was ecstatic and beaming with joy. Nevertheless she stated that she cannot help but feel lonely being the only Dominican and thinks that more citizens should take advantage of this opportunity.
To crown it all, she encouraged other Dominicans with an interest in Chevening to seek God first and build their brand. “Chevening searches for leadership potential. I believe that to be an effective leader, one must first make an investment to improve his own capacity. So work, volunteer, adopt standards and start that course you’ve been putting off for so long or else you’ll have nothing to feed into those four essays,” she ended.
As Charles embarks on this new and exciting journey, Emonews wishes her all the best as she seeks to make herself, family, country and region proud.