Rashaun Stewart of Jamaica has been named one of the Top 50 applicants for the inaugural Global Student Prize, which will award US$100,000 to an exceptional student who is a champion for change. The prize is sponsored by Chegg.org, the “impact, advocacy, and research arm of Chegg,” an education technology firm based in Santa Clara, California, that provides digital and physical textbook rentals and solutions, online tutoring, and other student services.
Stewart made the announcement on Twitter, posting, “I’ve been included in the Top 50 for the inaugural Global Student Prize, a US$100,000 prize open to students worldwide! I was selected from 3,500 applications from 94 countries. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and humbled by the opportunity. God is good! Thanks @cheggdotorg!”
Rashaun Stewart was born and raised in Montego Bay, an area that is challenged by a poor economy, lack of opportunity for upward mobility, and that had the highest crime rate per capita in Jamaica for several years. During his school years, Stewart was exposed to escalating gang violence that often presented an obstacle to his efforts to concentrate on academics and even endangered his life.
In spite of these conditions, his parents did their best to give him a love of learning. Because of their efforts, he became a voracious reader. Even as a child, he wanted to change the world and devoted himself to pursuing academic achievements. He is now focused on earning a medical degree and intends to specialize in neurosurgery.
Stewart served as Head Boy of Cornwall College where he headed a funding drive for student scholarships and raised J$90,000. He was also Junior Mayor of Montego Bay and coordinated mentorship programs to aid Grade 6 students in preparing for placement examination. His work experience includes employment with the Western Mirror newspaper where he developed his talent for journalism and wrote more than 100 articles for the paper.
Throughout his school years, he has fought for educational opportunities. While at the primary level, Stewart earned an average of 98 percent in his exams, one of the highest scores in Jamaica. This led to admission to a premier secondary school where he achieved noted academic success. He has searched for scholarships to help him pay tuition for medical schools and won three scholarships out of the 12 applied for. He received a special commendation from the Prime Minister of Jamaica in 2019 for his outstanding academic performance and was presented with the Governor General’s Achievement Award for Excellence in 2020.
At university, he continued to maintain his high standards despite battling chronic asthma and the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions of online learning and power outages. In addition, he helps to take care of his grandmother who requires full-time supervision.
If he wins the Global Student Prize, Stewart plans to use the funds to cover the third year of his medical education and to help his fellow medical students who are challenged by a lack of funding. He also plans to donate a portion of his prize winnings to the campaign to end period poverty in Jamaica by providing sanitary products to women free of charge.
Photo – Rashaun Stewart