‘Don't be afraid to push yourself and fight for what you believe in'

Feb 17, 2013

Hard work and studying have won university student Kamila Burgess more than just satisfaction — the 23-year-old recently got a $10,000 scholarship for her efforts.

She was this week named as the first Bermudian to win the Heritage Education Funds International 2012 Graduate Award.

"I was surprised and grateful; very grateful that I had won the award," she said yesterday "I was really surprised that I was chosen over the many of applicants, and also that a Bermudian was chosen.

"I think the credit for this goes to God and my parents. When I was just a child my parents signed me up for the Heritage fund so I was knowledgeable about the award." Heritage Funds International offers trust plans to help families educate their children.

Ms Burgess said her family opened a Heritage Educational Savings Plan for her when she was young and later encouraged her to look into scholarship opportunities.

Her family was thrilled that she won the award, she said.

"I know it was also a financial relief for them because my schooling can be quite expensive.

"I know that pretty much any parent wants to give their children the best of the best education they can so they can make the best of themselves."

Asked why she thought she was selected out of all of the eligible candidates, she said: "I think they were looking for something that stood out, someone who was involved in their community as well as the school community, and reached a certain standard with their GPA."

She said she spent two years volunteering at the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo, and is now a student ambassador at DeVry University in Orlando, Florida.

She has a grade-point average of 3.7 and is working towards a double major in informations systems management and project management.

"It's a fast-paced school," she said. "Most of our classes are accelerated so instead of having 16 weeks we have a programme where everything is done in eight weeks.

"We get thrown a lot of information in a short period of time."

She hopes to study management and business in Texas once she graduates in April.

"After that, I plan to come back to Bermuda if I can find a position available to me," she said.

She suggested parents invest in programmes like the Heritage Educational Funds early.

And to her fellow students, she said: "Continue to follow your dreams, don't be afraid to take risks, don't be afraid to push yourself more and fight for what you believe in."