From Languages to Economics: Rhea Bennett is the 2017 CBB Scholar

Author(s): Central Bank Of Barbados

Created 20 Apr, 2017
Tags domestic outreach
Categories General Press Release
Views: 10106

A last minute decision to switch to Economics is paying off for Rhea Bennett. The 19-year old second year student at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill (UWI), is the recipient of the 2017 Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) Scholarship.

As a student at Harrison College, Bennett studied languages and Sociology and had planned on becoming either an interpreter or a translator, but second thoughts about that career path led her to contemplate something completely different, Economics. At the time, she knew little more than the basics about the field, so her aunt, Janet Wilkinson, suggested she speak with then Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Harold Codrington.

Codrington was able to allay her concerns by sharing his own experience.  “He told me he had done Sociology up to sixth form, then he found Economics and how passionate he was about it. He spoke to me and sort of resolved me fears. I was really skeptical about it, wondering what if I go into this and then it doesn’t work out? He told me that if I wanted to do it then I should try it because it was an amazing field and he thought I would enjoy it. So I pursued it,” Bennett reveals.

The former Deputy Governor was right. Bennett, who describes herself as “very curious”, says that studying Economics has helped her to develop a better understanding of what is happening at a national level and has also reshaped her thinking about the role that the region can play on the global stage. “I think we focus on what we’re lacking. We don’t always focus on what we have. Our human capital is our strongest asset.” She sees a promising future for the Caribbean if it is built on more collaboration and integration.

And she is looking to contribute significantly to that future. She hopes to complete a postgraduate degree in Economics at the University of Birmingham or in International Trade Theory and Policy at UWI with the ultimate goal of having a career in International Development, in the Foreign Service, or at the Central Bank.

She will have the opportunity to be a central banker, at least for a brief stint, since the scholarship, in addition to a $6,000 cash prize, includes a three-month internship.

Bennett is looking forward to her internship and says that she is “extremely happy and still a bit shocked” about winning the scholarship since she hadn’t known she had been nominated until she received an email notifying her of the award. “At first I thought it was a joke, but then I went to the records office and the lady told me everything.”

The Central Bank of Barbados Scholarship is one of two undergraduate scholarships the Bank offers annually to Barbadian students reading for a degree in either Economics or Economics and a related discipline. The second scholarship, the Roland Craigwell Memorial Scholarship, was won this year by Sheldon Shepherd.


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