A 26-year-old woman has swapped pie-making for a medical degree after she won backing worth $7,000.
Alesha Page worked gruelling 12-hour shifts at the Pie Factory in Hamilton in an attempt to save enough money to resume her studies. But she was awarded the Robert and Margaret Harvey Medical Scholarship, worth $6,000, and that was topped up by a $1,000 donation from an anonymous donor so she can return to the University of Health and Sciences in St Kitts in January to resume her studies.
Ms Page started her course in September 2017, but left after her first academic year to save money for tuition fees, which she said will amount to $120,000 over the next two years.
Ms Page, who already has a Master’s degree in Medical Ethics from the University of Sydney in Australia, got the scholarship after a friend suggested she contact Margot Harvey, also a doctor, who administers the grant’s scheme set up in her parents’ name. The Harvey scholarship is usually awarded only to fourth-year medical students, but Ms Page was so impressive that an exception was made.
Ms Page had already renewed separate awards from the Dr JJ Soares/Hamilton Medical Centre Scholarship and the Dr Barbara Ball Public Health Scholarship, but despite several applications had been unable to secure any others.
Ms Page said: “A friend asked if I was a fourth-year medical student, and when I told her ‘no’ she said, ‘Well, OK, just give this lady your name and number anyway’. When she called I thought it was going to be a formal interview, but we ended up talking about life and school and then afterwards she said, ‘Well, you have my scholarship’. There was no application process, it was more like word of mouth and kind of seeing me over the years.”
Dr Harvey said Ms Page’s determination impressed her.
She added: “Alesha epitomises the word ‘perseverance’. She is so determined to get her medical degree. Her story is that of so many students who have to return home and work countless hours to try to get back to their goal.”
Ms Page, who was home-schooled, said that she had always wanted to join the medical profession. She added: “My parents told me my first word was ‘doctor’ — I’ve always wanted to go in that direction”.
Ms Page said after she returns to St Kitts she will rotate through different wards for two years before sitting another round of exams.
She added she was not sure which area of medicine she wanted to specialise in, but she was determined to work in Bermuda.
Ms Page said: “This is my home — this is the place that made me who I am. I wouldn’t be here without the support of the community, so it would be wrong of me not to come home and give back.”