Saint Mary’s freshman Clarisa Medina stands at 4-foot-11 but her short stature does not hinder her plans for a big future. “There’s not a doubt in my mind that I’m going to be successful,” she said. In May 2012, Medina found out she was accepted to become a Gates Millennium Scholar. Of the 26,000 high school seniors who applied for the distinguished scholarship, she was one of the lucky 1,000. “Students apply annually from all U.S. territories and states.” Medina said. “The program is more prestigious than any university’s admission process, including Harvard.” Medina applied online in December 2011 and wrote nine essays discussing community service, activities she engaged in during her weekends and summers and the type of courses she had taken to prepare herself for college. “We also had to write about things that have happened in our lives that we had to overcome to get to the point where we want to be, she said. “There are three rounds and in the final round they determine if you can become a Gates Scholar based off of socio-economic need. If you are chosen you get up to 10 years of education at any university of our choice.” Medina is the first Gates Millennium Scholar to enroll at Saint Mary’s College. The financial aid office had never heard of the scholarship before Medina. Medina was first introduced to Saint Mary’s through her sister and current sophomore, Cecily Medina. “She loved it so much here and she strongly encouraged me to come,” Medina said. “When I came to visit I liked the classroom size, it was very appealing to me. I feel as if I have so many opportunities here. I get to double major and go abroad. It’s the ideal place to master the basics and go on to a higher level of education, perhaps a PhD.” Medina, a double major in global studies and political science intends to minor in justice education and Spanish as well as earn her MBA from Notre Dame during her last year of college. Medina finds another advantage of Saint Mary’s is her ability to participate in two different sports. “I run cross country and play softball here,” she said. “It’s a great stress reliever for me and my team provides me with an additional support system.” The second of eight children, Medina relies on her sports family to help her transition from her home environment. “It is really difficult coming from a Hispanic family because we are very close knit and dependent on each other,” she said. “It’s so loud at home and here everything has been pretty quiet. I know I just have to remind myself to sacrificed that for a reason and that reason was to get an education and to have an opportunity that my parents never had.” “I am very proud of [Clarisa],” Cecily Medina said. “When she won the scholarship it wasn’t just her winning, it was our entire family winning.” Despite engaging in an enriched athletic and academic life, Medina has not forgotten her background in service. “I plan to open a camp here that I created back home,” Medina said. “It’s called Run the World and I believe that it is the reason why I got the Gates Scholarship.” Contact Rebecca O’Neil at email@example.com
By Nelza Oliveira / Diálogo February 21, 2020 Sara Oliveira de Souza Mendes, Larissa Somera Pereira da Silva, Carla Victória Melo de Farias Freitas Ribeiro, Joyce Carvalho Pereira, and Maria Eduarda Rodrigues Costa Oliveira made history in the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese) as the first five women sergeants specialized in aircraft maintenance.(Photo: Brazilian Army Social Communication Center)The Noncomissioned Officer Aviation Training Course, one of the pathways to start a military career at EB, as a sergeant, also trains professionals to operate in all flight and maintenance missions.The two-year course started in 1995. The five service members graduated with the 2019 class, which had 21 students. During the course, students study military history, physics in aviation, helicopter flight theory, aircraft systems, helicopter operations, military physical training, marksmanship with small and long range weapons, and also take training modules in aircraft mechanics and base maintenance mechanics.Each year, the Army Aviation Training Center offers 48 courses and internships to more than 500 students to become Army Aviation (AvEx, in Portuguese) specialists.“The training of the first five female service members, aircraft maintenance specialists, will enable them to join as flight mechanics the various crews that conduct operational missions with AvEx across the national territory,” said the Army Social Communication Center to Diálogo.This first class puts an end to the distinction between men and women entering the course for which EB hopes to increase female participation. EB has 223,440 service members — 11,635 of them are women.
FOLLOWING seven rounds of intense competition and months of training, 19-year-old Andre Jagnandan emerged as Guyana’s newest Junior Chess champion.At Sasha Cells National Junior Chess Championships, eight competitors, including 2018 Junior Chess champion, Joshua Gopaul, engaged in the ‘battle of wits’ as they vied for the title.Following the final round, which was held at the National Aquatic Centre, Liliendaal, Jagnandan amassed 5.5 score and 24 points. With this, he cemented himself as the best Junior chess player in Guyana. His closest competitor, Ghansham Allijohn, trailed him with his 4.5 score and 21.5 points. The dethroned Junior champion, Joshua Gopaul, only amassed a 2.0 score with a meagre 7 points.Speaking to Chronicle Sport, following his victory, 19-year-old Jagnandan shared: “From October last year, I have been training and now with the victory, I can see the hard work paid off.”The young man shared that after winning the championship he just felt a sense of deep accomplishment. In fact, he said: “Being the Junior chess champion is something I’ve wanted for a long time and now that I (am) actually the junior champion, I can finally check that off my list.”But for Andre, chess has been a part of his life for a long, long time. In fact, he said, “I’ve been playing chess for about nine years, but with school and stuff, I’ve been away from the national arena for a long time.”Currently, he is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Law at the University of Guyana (UG) and it was his ‘chess friends’ at the university that encouraged him to compete in this year’s competition.Due to his age, this year was his final year to participate in the Junior section of the competition. However, his coach Roneul Greenidge and a few other members from the UG chess club egged him on.. And his comeback was, evidently, a wise decision.Jagnandan has been a student of Queen’s College for the past seven years, where he successfully completed the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), subsequently. But during this time, he did not neglect the sport.Though he took a hiatus of some sort from the national championships, he still found the time to play the board game he has grown to love. In fact, in his school he was instrumental in organising chess tournaments and worked to keep the school’s chess club alive.And, he mentioned that the game also helped him improve his academic life.“In school, chess helped me a lot with Mathematics, in the sense that the same analysis I used for chess, I could relate to the subject,” the player noted. Even now, as he pursues his law studies, Andre noted that he would play a few chess games before he studied to “open up” his mind.Speaking in a matter-of-fact tone, Andre posited: “In my view, chess is a nice sport to pair with academics and a nice pastime as well. It has a lot of benefits”By no means is Jagnandan strictly a ‘chess guy’ however. In fact, he highlighted that he also plays basketball and volleyball.“Chess is different,” he explained. “Chess allows you to use your mind in a way that is different; you push your brain to the limit to analyse the board and to find the best move.”With this title in the bag Andre now has his eyes set on the chess championships at the Carifta Games, which will be held in Curacao, later this year.