SGU Nursing Students Lead Volunteer Efforts in the Community

Photo courtesy of SGU Nursing Student Association

Historically, nurses have always volunteered to serve during times of crisis—often traveling to wherever they were needed the most. Much in the same way, many students in the St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences Nursing Program are also answering the call to serve—volunteering to travel to rural villages to work at mobile testing and vaccination clinics islandwide.

Working closely with Grenada’s Ministry of Health, the Department of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences within SAS, and in collaboration with the Student Government Association, has become the official liaison to the MOH—playing an integral role in the organization, planning, and gathering of SGU student volunteers to work at various pop-up clinics.

“I made the decision to volunteer for two reasons—my strong desire to help provide much-needed assistance to my future colleagues, and my love for this noble profession,” stated Shawndy Duncan, a third-year nursing student at SGU. “During my experience in the field, we did encounter many that were skeptical about taking the vaccine. However, we took the time to explain the benefits and why it was so important to get vaccinated now more than ever. I believe that what we’re doing here will have a positive impact on the Grenadian public.”

 

“Nursing student volunteers have the unique opportunity to practice both their science and art (by) engaging in hands-on learning in the field.”

 

For the past several weeks, nearly half of the department’s 110 students has volunteered during the government’s current restriction of movements on the weekends. At the MOH’s request, SGU nursing students have been serving at healthcare clinics, mobile vaccination sites, and homes for the elderly.

“As an aspiring nurse, I didn’t hesitate to volunteer my services,” said second-year nursing student Casira Peters. “I was happy to go wherever I was needed. I wanted to help in any way I could to ensure that Grenadians got the proper support they required. Volunteering allows me to not only work alongside dedicated healthcare professionals, but it also enables me to develop my communication and practical skills. And even though I’m not a licensed nurse yet, I’m getting valuable experience to make me an even better one.”

SGU nursing students volunteer at one of the Ministry of Health’s mobile vaccination clinics in Grenada.

In addition to assisting physicians with administering COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, and providing results and educational material, the student volunteers have also been functioning as clinic nurses, applying wound dressings, and performing blood sugar checks—working more days and longer hours, often side by side with members of their own communities.

“Nursing student volunteers have the unique opportunity to practice both their science and art,” said Dr. Jennifer Solomon, chair and director of the Department of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SGU. “Engaging in hands-on learning in the field, may arguably make them even better nurses. Additionally, volunteering brings benefits not only to the people being helped, but also to the volunteers themselves, such as improving self-esteem, increasing confidence, and providing a sense of purpose. It fills me with pride as the Grenadian people get to see how the SGU nursing program is community and locally centered. I am humbled by our students as they continue to selflessly volunteer in their home communities.”

Nursing students and Dr. Jen Solomon, chair and director of the Department of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SGU, pose for a picture. Photo courtesy of SGU Nursing Student Association

St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences Nursing Program features many aspects of interdisciplinary learning and teaching. Uniquely structured, it allows the students to be taught by professors from both the Schools of Medicine and Arts and Sciences, as well as visiting professors from outside of Grenada. Their training experience will include working at the General Hospital, lab work at SGU’s Simulation Center, and community work. At the end of their training and with the completion of their regional and international licensing exams, the students will become fully fledged registered nurses as approved by the Caribbean Nursing Council.

 

— Ray-Donna Peters

 

Related Reading

 

India consulate recognizes SGU faculty members for excellence in medicine and medical education

In honor of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, the Office of the Honorary Consul of India to Grenada honored two longtime St. George’s University faculty members—Drs. Vishnu Rao and Narasimhan Prabhakar—for their commitment to medicine and medical education.

Each was feted at a ceremony at the Botanical Gardens in Tanteen, St. George’s, on August 15. Awardees received the accolades from the Honorary Consul of India to Grenada Shadel Nyack Compton, as well as the Honorable Minister Oliver Joseph.

“An honor like this would have been unimaginable to me as a little boy growing up in India,” said Dr. Rao, who recently was appointed dean of university alumni affairs. “To end up in a beautiful country such as Grenada and have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of so many students and so many Grenadians is just wonderful. All the while, I have made lifelong friendships with Grenadian people and families, who are so kind and intelligent, and I thoroughly enjoy the everyday living and beauty here on the island.”

Dr. Rao has taught and mentored SGU students for more than 40 years, having joined as an assistant professor in the School of Medicine in January 1977. He is the embodiment of SGU’s commitment to student support, serving as assistant dean of students from 1977 to 1997 before assuming the role of dean of students from 1997 to April 2021. With his help, more than 300 Grenadians have earned their MDs from SGU, and thousands more have graduated from the Schools of Veterinary Medicine, Arts and Sciences, and Graduate Studies.

Dr. Rao and colleagues at the 2015 Orphans and Elderly Gala

“You cannot measure the positive impact that Dr. Rao has had on this university, our students, and people all around the world who have indirectly benefited from the wisdom, values, and commitment to educational excellence,” said Dr. Charles Modica, chancellor of St. George’s University. “SGU would not be where it is today without Dr. Rao, and I’m forever grateful for all he’s done for the island of Grenada and for our students.”

Additionally, Dr. Rao was instrumental in establishing the Orphans and Elderly Fund, which has raised more than $1.8 million to support caregiver programs throughout Grenada since 1991. He also helped build the Grenada Association of Retired Persons (GARP).

As dean of university alumni affairs, Dr. Rao is supporting the Alumni Association by staying connected with SGU’s more than 24,000 graduates. “I have greatly enjoyed speaking with our alumni, finding out how they’re doing, how they can stay involved, and how they can promote the spirit of SGU,” he said.

 

“To end up in a beautiful country such as Grenada and have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of so many students and so many Grenadians is just wonderful.”

 

The Consul also recognized Dr. Narasimhan Prabhakar, a psychiatrist who has been affiliated with SGU for more than 30 years, including presently as a professor in the clinical teaching unit at Grenada General Hospital and in a clinic within SGU’s Health Services department. He also teaches SGU’s Term 5 students as a psychiatrist at Mount Gay Psychiatric Hospital, and meets with patients the Richmond Home for the Elderly. Dr. Prabhakar was honored for his contributions to mental health, psychiatry, and medicine in Grenada and sister islands Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

“I am very humbled by this honor bestowed upon me by the Consul of India,” Dr. Prabhakar said. “I am also indebted to the administration of SGU, the Ministry of Health, and the Government of Grenada for making the person I am today. Teaching communication skills and psychiatric interviewing skills to young and enthusiastic students gives me great pleasure, as does keeping in touch with my patients in the community, which I have been involved in for 40 years. I am proud to be an Indian and an adopted Grenadian.”

Dr. Marios Loukas, dean of the School of Medicine, praised Dr. Prabhakar’s contributions to SGU. “We are thankful for the invaluable contributions that Dr. Prabhakar has made to the University and our student body,” he said. “He has played a crucial role in their growth and well-being, both on campus and in the field, and has long been a pillar of psychiatric care for the wider Grenadian community.”

– Brett Mauser

Related Reading

SAS Valedictorian Continues Family Legacy in Medicine at SGU

With both her parents being physicians, and her older sister in medical school, it came as no surprise when Namratha Guruvaiah Sridhara also decided on a career in medicine. Yet, it’s not just about joining the family business for Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara. She has always had an interest in the sciences and incredible respect for the medical profession, believing it to be one of the best ways to serve humanity.

“My parents being doctors has partially influenced my decision to become one, but it’s much more than that,” said Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara, BSc ’20, who graduated at the top of her undergraduate class and is now in her second year of medical school at St. George’s University. “I am extremely passionate about helping others and having had the opportunity to work in different hospitals for my summer jobs has further fueled my desire to pursue this career. I believe that health is wealth and delivering healthcare to those in need is a remarkably noble vocation.”

Expected to graduate with her MD in 2024, Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara hopes to specialize in psychiatry.

“Mental health is becoming a real challenge in today’s world, especially in this pandemic,” she said. “In many parts of the world, mental health is not being properly addressed and I want to advocate for its importance.”

Early Signs of a Doctor in the Making

At the age of five, Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara moved with her family from India to the Bahamas, where she completed her primary and secondary school education at Queen’s College, Nassau. While there, she excelled in both school and national examinations, earning a perfect 4.0 GPA, and later graduated as the school’s valedictorian in 2017—two years after her sister Nanditha completed the same feat.

“My sister has always served as a role model for me,” said Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara. “She inspires me whether it be in studies or extracurricular activities. Additionally, my parents have also been a huge motivating factor in my life. They keep me grounded and continuously offer words of encouragement. They played a major part in my success and pushed me to be the best version of myself daily.”

 

“Mental health is becoming a real challenge in today’s world, especially in this pandemic. I want to advocate for its importance.”

 

Continuing in her sister’s footsteps, Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara then enrolled as a pre-medical student in SGU’s seven-year Doctor of Medicine program. A firm believer that the harder she works, the luckier she will be—Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara again went the extra mile in striving for excellence by maintaining a 4.0 GPA and was selected as the 2021 School of Arts and Sciences valedictorian—just like her sister in years prior.

“Being the 2021 SAS valedictorian was a true honor,” stated Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara. “The past year was a challenge due to the unexpected pandemic. However, with perseverance and consistency, I was able to complete my degree. It served as a reminder to never give up. I’m happy to see that the hard work has paid off.”

While completing the first part in achieving her MD, Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara challenged herself to strike the right balance between her academic goals and extracurricular pursuits. Carving out time from her busy schedule, she has been a member of several student organizations, including Women in Medicine and the Surgery Club, and has served as the Urban Humanitarian Projects co-chair for the Iota Epsilon Alpha (IEA) International Honor Society this past semester—and plans to serve as a grand marshal for the August 2021 term.

“Balancing schoolwork and self-care was something I definitely struggled with initially,” admitted Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara. “However, the key for me was being flexible and setting realistic goals. I made different schedules for my studies and stuck to what suited me the best. I also made sure to make time for myself whether it be going to the gym, or just a walk around this beautiful campus.”

According to Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara, another reason she chose to attend SGU was that it offered a strong support system that focused primarily on ensuring student success. She also described SGU’s picturesque campus environment, with its scenic views, beach-front gym, and various cuisine options, as the perfect way to unwind and destress, especially after exams.

“I love that SGU has a massive support system to help us through this journey,” stated Ms. Guruvaiah Sridhara. “The University provides great training and education to aspiring physicians. My experience here so far has been great.”

 

– Ray-Donna Peters

 

Related Reading

SASAA President Receives Commonwealth Award for Inspirational Voluntary Service

Tamika Gilbert, BSc ’11

Tamika Gilbert, BSc ’11, received recognition by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the 183rd Commonwealth Points of Light awardee.

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting so many throughout the world, Tamika Gilbert, BSc ’11, is doing her part to help aid the lives of those hit hardest in the Grenadian community—and being internationally recognized for her efforts.

In April 2020, driven by her two passions—voluntary service and entrepreneurship—Ms. Gilbert created The Art of Giving (TAG), a charitable foundation encouraging donations of relief items to help vulnerable families following the coronavirus outbreak. Her humanitarianism did not go unnoticed—Ms.  Gilbert recently received recognition by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the 183rd Commonwealth Points of Light awardee.

“I am both grateful and humbled to receive recognition for something that comes so naturally to me,” said Ms. Gilbert, who is the president of St. George’s University’s School of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association (SASAA). “What started as a simple response to a mother’s cry for help during the lockdown period, has now grown into the TAG foundation—giving help wherever and whenever it can, which to me is the true essence of The Art of Giving.”

 

I have always wanted to make a difference in the world. The current health crisis presented an opportunity for me to do so.

 

The Commonwealth Points of Light awards were established during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in 2018. The award recognizes inspirational volunteers across the 54 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond.

“I have always wanted to make a difference in the world,” shared Ms. Gilbert. “I remember visiting the Kennedy and Richmond Hill children’s homes as a child. The extreme need that existed in these places has remained etched in my heart and mind since that day. I knew then that I wanted to do more to help people—the current health crisis presented an opportunity for me to do so.”

So far, over 200 families in Grenada have been supported by the foundation. In addition, the foundation has distributed emergency supplies to people affected by the recent volcanic eruption in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

TAG’s newest initiatives will include helping future students enroll at the New Life Organization (NEWLO) in Palmiste, Grenada to pursue technical and vocational education and training, as well as supporting women on the island, who lack access to proper feminine hygiene products, a problem exacerbated by the pandemic.

“TAG on its own cannot help everyone—but everyone can help someone,” stated Ms. Gilbert. “As such, the foundation has adopted a targeted approach to giving aid—we don’t do mass distribution. We speak to recipients individually to ascertain their exact need. We have helped with food hampers for individuals and families, assisted with minor medical bills such as, purchasing medication and glasses, and we’ve held clothing drives. We are willing to do whatever we can to help improve the lives of people in need. In essence, TAG’s message is to spread the joy of giving by providing an avenue to do so.”

 

– Ray-Donna Peters

Related Reading

SAS and SGS grads encouraged to “profoundly impact the world”

On June 12, students from 44 countries came together with family, friends, and well-wishers for their last virtual meetup and to celebrate their academic achievements at the annual School of Arts and Sciences/School of Graduate Studies commencement ceremony.  

Over 420 graduates were encouraged to achieve outside the box as they start their new journey into the workplace around the world.  Degrees were conferred to the SAS and SGS Class of 2021, as well as the SAS Class of 2020, which could not hold its ceremony last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a profound keynote address, Dessima Williams, ambassador for Grenada and permanent representative to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013, challenged SGU’s newest alumni to live a life of service and to commit to doing something special and impactful.  

“Go from SGU into the world and help to transform everything that you can—make it better,” said Ambassador Williams. “You are graduating, so you must have gotten some good marks. Go now and make good marks on the world.” 

Jonathan Silwanes, BSc ’20, class speaker for the SAS Class of 2020, added that success is not only about achieving your goals, but about being triumphant when faced with hardships. 

 

As we embark on our respective paths, there will be harder challenges to come, but as long as you persevere, you will be an unstoppable force.

 

“As we celebrate our successes together today, I challenge all my fellow graduates to appreciate the journey you’ve been through, applaud yourselves for your accomplishments, and remember the adversity you’ve overcome to reach this point,” he said. “Continue to believe in yourself amidst the challenges that await you in the future. Continue your quest to your dreams and continue to succeed every day.” 

Namratha Guruvaiah Sridhara, BSc ’20, class speaker for the School of Arts and Sciences Class of 2021, shared a short story that alluded to the importance of turning one’s struggles into positive learning outcomes.  

“Standing here today, our perseverance and willpower to endure has proven to be stronger than any obstacle. Hence, I urge you all to remember this time, not just as a period of difficulty, but look at it as a way to see what you have achieved and what you have overcome. As we embark on our respective paths, there will be harder challenges to come, but as long as you persevere, you will be an unstoppable force.” 

Samantha Antoine-Purcell, MEd ’21, class speaker for the School of Graduate Studies, thanked her predecessors for paving the way and implored her fellow classmates to think beyond the assignments and projects and step into alumni roles to pay it forward. 

“Today, our graduation is not just the end of the journey,” she said. “Indeed, it is the beginning of our commitment to learning and growing, our commitment to leading lives of purpose and intent. It is our commitment to embracing that which we are—the embodiment of phenomenal thought and action. We have a responsibility to use our collective experiences to profoundly impact our world and positively do so as change agents.”

– Istra Bell

Related Reading

SAS Grad Serves as Grenada’s Guardian of Official Etiquette

As Adrian Joseph, BSc ’10, sees it, every day is an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to serve his home country. Today he directs and coordinates the activities as head of the Protocol Division in Grenada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a position he’s held for nearly a decade.

Mr. Joseph shares why he went into public service, as well as how SGU afforded him the opportunity to remain close to home and family while furthering his education.

St. George’s University: What are your responsibilities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

Adrian Joseph: As chief of protocol, I oversee the security, logistics, and etiquette in diplomatic and national events or functions. In this role, I am also responsible for all consular matters and for serving the diplomatic corps/regional and international organizations accredited to Grenada in accordance with the Vienna Convention.

SGU: Did you always want to work in public service?

AJ: I’ve always wanted to serve my country in some way or another. However, it was while serving as the vice president of the SGU Model United Nations that in many ways piqued my interest in the field of modern diplomacy. That experience provided a wonderful opportunity to interact and learn from different cultures.

I chose this field because, in my opinion, it is quite extraordinary given that its main objective is to achieve a sense of harmony in the world. I find the work that I do very fulfilling as it allows for facilitation in communication and knowledge exchange and in promoting peace. I am also working on further strengthening my business acumen by earning a doctorate in business administration with a specialization in global business at Keiser University in Florida.

SGU: How have you been affected by the events of this past year?

AJ: This pandemic has been tough on many of us, but despite the adversities, it has also shown us the importance of family and friends and how grateful we should be for our health. For me personally, it has given me a new insight on issues such as food security and self-reliance. As a result, I have been dabbling in farming, which has turned out to be quite interesting and rewarding. I hope to expand on it because, apart from providing an additional source of food, it’s also a great form of exercise and I find it very relaxing.

SGU: What advice would you give to someone pursuing a similar path as you at SGU?

AJ: I will always be grateful to SGU for affording me the opportunity to earn a degree that has helped me in so many ways in becoming a well-rounded individual. The University is fully equipped with all the essential instruments for learning and for preparing its students for the professional environment. I am proud to be an alumnus of an esteemed institution that continues to produce distinguished graduates who are thriving in their respective fields.

 

— Ray-Donna Peters

SAS Grad Commits Life To Serving Community As Grenada Police Commissioner

Edvin Martin, BSc ’08, the current commissioner of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF)  came from humble beginnings. He grew up in a Grenadian household of seven kids, inspired by his hard-working mother and his father,  a police constable who was the motivating factor for his son joining the RGPF. Mr. Martin attributes his humility and simplicity to this family construct, and one he is very proud of today.

Well into his thirties, he made the decision to pursue a degree program at SGU. He recalls one of his scares at the beginning was his conscious weakness in his math abilities. In an interview with SGU News, the recently appointed commissioner talks about the way he conquered his fear of math, how SGU aided in his career development, and being able to achieve success at any stage in life.

St. George’s University: What are your responsibilities as commissioner of the RGPF?

Commissioner Edvin Martin: As Commissioner of Police, my responsibilities consist of a complete superintendence command and control of the entire RGPF apparatus, and in so doing I am supported by deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners of police.

SGU: Can you describe your journey with the RGPF and specifically your career mobility?

Commissioner Martin: In addition to my parental upbringing and guidance, my journey with the RGPF has been very interesting, and certainly one I attribute almost everything to. I will remain eternally grateful for the opportunities afforded to me. From the early days of recruitment, I received the baton of honor, and from then on, I received several successive promotions, where I was subsequently promoted to assistant commissioner of police, deputy and ultimately to the rank of commissioner.

SGU: What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Commissioner Martin: Certainly it is in service to people. I’ll give you an example. When I launched the police farm watch scheme, a farmer came to me when he noticed that a lot of his yams had gone missing. I understood this was his livelihood and knew we had to help. He was so elated when we found the individuals stealing and was able to get a conviction in court. At the end of the day, if what I do results in elevation and recognition for me, then so be it, but it has never been the driving force. The greatest satisfaction is how I can make people’s lives better and that continues to be my motivation onto this day.

SGU: How have your studies at SGU helped with your career development?

Commissioner Martin: SGU provided the academic foundation that allowed my career to propel in many ways. Predominantly, I didn’t enter with the strongest number of subjects, but my experience and several other courses, including an accelerated promotion course and studies at the US-based Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy, aided as well. Having completed my SGU degree and graduating with honors (magna cum laude), that served me well in getting accepted into UK universities and made it easy in the ultimate decision for my being granted a Chevening scholarship award.

SGU: Were there any services offered at SGU that you would have taken advantage of during your time there?

Commissioner Martin: I used the Department of Educational Services to assist with the issue of building my math capability. I had to start at the foundation level because math was not one of the O-level subjects I had. I received an A in math for critical thinking and a B in statistics, so I pat myself on the back for doing so. You can do well once you invest the time in the extra support mechanisms available to help you succeed.

SGU: What would you say to someone who wants to advance their career later in life?

Commissioner Martin: You can start to achieve success at any stage in life. If you weren’t the best student, it is not the end. I know several persons who did not excel in their earlier years and today these persons have degrees. The opportunities are there. By and large, once you are disciplined, motivated, and believe in yourself, you can aim for the sky and certainly do well.

SGU: How do you respond to comments about you being one of the most eloquent speakers in Grenada?

Commissioner Martin: I am absolutely flattered by the statement but, quite frankly, I think differently. I am humbled by the comment and I will interpret that to mean that when I do speak people understand, digest, and find clarity, and I will use that as a motivating statement.

SGU: What advice would you give to someone thinking of SGU?

Commissioner Martin:  I would wholeheartedly recommend SGU. In fact, my daughter is in her last semester pursuing a nursing degree, and it is testimony of my support and confidence in the school. I have great faith in the institution, and the fact that I was able to use my graduation certification from SGU to leverage further academic education in the UK further justifies that. The University is also very accessible and affordable to Grenadians, as it offers a number of scholarship opportunities.  I highly recommend it.

 

– Tornia Charles

From Politics to Academia

When Dr. Damian Greaves changed course in his career, switching from politics to academic, he had always intended to return. But more than 15 years into his time as an educator at St. George’s University, he has reveled in the opportunity to pass on his knowledge to future leaders in Grenada and throughout the Caribbean. 

“When I teach, I am on top of the world because it is not just a job, it is a vocation—to inspire and mold minds,” said Dr. Greaves, a professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

He came to St. George’s University in 2006 after spending five years as the Minister of Health in St. Lucia, first serving as a part-time lecturer while working on a Master of Public Health (MPH) from SGU, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Walden University.  

“Leveraging on various experiences gives a broader view on what is happening, and therefore translates to a more panoramic and rigorous analysis of matters that may come to my attention,” said Dr. Greaves. “It also gives you a more global prospective.”

Roles Run the Gamut

Even with all of his roles at SGU, he traveled to St. Lucia monthly to attend parliamentary sessions. All told, the former Minister served 15 years in politics, including three as senator, for which he led the opposition in the House. Dr. Greaves was also Minister for Culture and Community Development. His passion for culture led him to write songs, own a Carnival band, and participate in calypso competitions.  

Nevertheless, Dr. Greaves remained at SGU as an instructor, teaching Social Sciences and Medicine to premedical and preveterinary students, as well as sociology courses such as Race, Class and Gender; Caribbean Social Structure; Caribbean Government and Politics; and Introduction to Political Science. 

When you are teaching, you have to be well read. One of your toolkits is to continue to research and read, particularly in this ever-evolving technical age.” Dr. Greaves said. “If you’re a sociologist and you don’t have a working knowledge of economics, political science, other areas of social sciences and even outside of those, your analysis will be the limited because you must engage other subject matters that impact what you’re interrogating.” 

He also leads a very active campus life, serving as president of the School of Arts and Sciences Senate as well as the University Senate. He is also a member of various committees such as the Graduate and Undergraduate Committees, Accreditation Committee, and SGU IRB; a body with a mandate to review the content of research studies. 

Outside of SGU, Dr. Greaves is the director of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, sits on the National Advisory Board for National Health Insurance, and is chair of the Grenada National Commission on Non-Communicable Diseases, a position he has held since 2017Dr. Greaves is also writing his first book, which focuses on health management in the Caribbean.   

– Tornia Charles

SAS Spotlight: Adel Hagley Ollivierre 

When Adel Hagley Ollivierre boiled down her career aspirations, two necessities became clear to her—to be in a position that she enjoys while also making a difference in the lives of others. As the current assistant administrator for the Office of the Dean at St. George’s University’s School of Arts and Sciences, she feels she has accomplished just that. 

A Master of Business Administration helped equip her with all the tools for success in that role. The 2018 SGU alumna explained why pursuing an MBA was one of the best career decisions she made, and why she would recommend it to entrepreneurs. 

St. George’s University: Why did you choose to pursue an MBA at SGU? 

Adel Hagley Ollivierre: I envisioned my decision to pursue an MBA would allow me to enhance my knowledge and hone critical competencies across several managerial disciplines, which I felt would create opportunities for career advancement. It was also ideal because of its online mode of delivery, as I could complete my program while at the same time balancing family life and a full-time job. 

SGU: How has this MBA made a difference in your life? 

Hagley Ollivierre: It has brought immediate value to me as an individual. It has proved useful in giving me the confidence to make a major career change. I often felt that I had greater potential and could be more impactful in my career. Acquiring new knowledge tends to change your perspective and initiate other interests. Additionally, it served as an avenue that fostered enduring friendships with colleagues of my graduating class and the exemplary faculty and staff of our program, who provided the requisite knowledge and guidance. 

SGU: You previously worked in the Grenada Public Service. Why did you make such a major career change? 

Hagley Ollivierre: The decision to transition from the public sector to the private sector was a fairly easy one. My time with the Grenada Public Service allowed me to work with brilliant colleagues and develop the skill set and competencies that today serve as the foundation for future growth and development. Naturally, I felt I was at a stage in my career where I wanted to make a difference and simply enjoy what I did for a living. 

Joining the team in the Office of the Dean was the answer to my prayers. I finally had the opportunity to apply my theoretical knowledge and years of experience to a real-life situation. Here, my productive capabilities are demonstrated. I feel a sense of accomplishment as I execute my duties and navigate this dynamic and often unpredictable environment. 

I am fortunate to have a terrific manager who appreciates my contributions and provides the necessary support and guidance. I enjoy going to work and collaborating with our competent faculty and staff. It gives me a great sense of pride knowing that our collective efforts contribute to the success of our students and organization. 

SGU: Going back to your time as a student, how would you describe campus life for an MBA student? 

Hagley Ollivierre: My on-campus experiences generally involved attending residencies, or studying at the library or study spaces on weekends. St. George’s University is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Grenada—it’s simply the gold standard in my book. I feel extremely fortunate to have experienced its scenic ocean view, the refreshing environment, and the well equipped and comfortable facilities. 

SGU: Would you recommend SGU’s MBA program to entrepreneurs? 

Hagley Ollivierre: The MBA-IB program is designed with an international perspective and is especially beneficial in terms of providing very practical case analyses. It culminates with the defense of a business-related capstone project. This component I believe is particularly useful for aspiring entrepreneurs, as it helps develop appropriate business acumen and provides practical experience. I would highly recommend it. 

– Tornia Charles

SAS grad: Don’t miss out on “the entire experience” at SGU

2020 graduate Dominic Gaspard has used his degree to earn a teaching position at Anglican High School in St. George’s.

From his time as a student at St. George’s University, Dominic Gaspard values the people he met and the adventures he went on as much as foundation it provided for his career

“If you come to SGU with the mindset of obtaining a degree as fast as possible, you would have missed the entire experience,” said the 2020 School of Arts and Sciences alum who earned degrees in international business as well as accounting and finance.

Currently a teacher at the Anglican High School in Grenada, Mr. Gaspard is also a full-time entrepreneur involved in two business ventures, one of which started as a project for the SAS Principles of Marketing course in which they were tasked with creating a marketing plan for a new product. Their product of choice: insect repellent candles.

SAS grad Dominic Gaspard encourages students to take advantage of the “entire experience” at SGU

After receiving positive reviews, he encouraged his classmates to join him in pursuing the concept further. They later took the idea to the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation’s Young Innovators Challenge where similar sentiments were echoed.

“Most of my time at SGU was actually spent with the SGU community and forming relationships. I’ve learned so much more outside the classroom thanks to the network I’ve built,” said Mr. Gaspard. “The level of student support and student engagement greatly enhanced my studies, especially given the additional responsibilities at home with my mom.”

The highlight of his time was the opportunity to participate in the 2018 Global X-Culture Conference and Symposium held at the University of Macerata in Italy. There he competed among 140 students from 29 countries, and he and his team captured one of only four company challenge trophies. In addition, the international experience provided him with the opportunity to learn about various cultures, interact with different nationalities and understand the importance of global perspectives.

“To SGU, I would say thank you—it’s the most enlightening experience I have ever had is my university experience,” he said. “That slogan ‘Think Beyond’ is something that has been branded into me and I don’t see the world the same way as I used to. I’m always looking at the bigger picture.”

It was not only a reward for him and his colleagues, but when he was faced with personal challenges leading up the Symposium—prompting him to second-guess his participation—he was instead buoyed by the enormous outpouring of support from his fellow classmates, as well as faculty and staff alike.

“I have been involved with another universities, and when I assess the level of student support systems SGU has in place, I can tell there is a conscious effort to take care of both students and staff,” he said.

During his time at SGU, Mr. Gaspard was also named president of the Business Students Association and served as a key member of the orientation team.  For those who aspire to pursue any number of careers locally, regionally, or around the world, he would implore them weigh all their options but also to know that “being a product of St. George’s University, including the quality of the education, the level of student support, and the extensive ability to network, prepares you for life.”

– Tornia Charles

Then a student, Dominic Gaspard (left), aided by his team of international students, was presented with one of the four company challenge trophies at the 2018 Global X-Culture Conference and Symposium held in Italy.