M.Eng. student honored by Jamaican Prime Minister

By: Chris Dawson

Cornell Financial Engineering Manhattan (CFEM) student Tashae Bowes recently received the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for Excellence from Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Bowes is one of 21 Jamaicans under the age of 30 to be chosen for the honor this year.

Bowes was awarded in the category of “Academics” and was nervous at the ceremony. “All of the nominees who made it to the short list were invited,” Bowes said. “But we did not know who the awardees would be until that moment when they announced our names.”

Tashae Bowes holds two awards and smiles.The awards ceremony took place on April 20, 2024 on the lawns at Jamaica House, which is the official residence of the Jamaican Prime Minister. “We gather here this evening to celebrate these qualities in our young people and to award those who through natural talents, resilience, and perseverance, achieved a level of excellence in diverse spheres,” Holness said. “Many of our past recipients have gone on to further excel nationally and internationally across various sectors … . These awards are not only important for the national recognition it gives to awardees, but it serves as a platform for the contribution of young people to be projected as inspiration for other young persons to pursue excellence.”

Bowes, who was in Ithaca for the spring semester of the CFEM program, flew to Jamaica for the ceremony and attended with her father, who lives on the island. “It is a massive honor just to be nominated and to make it that far in the process,” Bowes said. “To win was a real thrill.”

Bowes grew up in Jamaica and earned her undergraduate degree in actuarial science at the University of the West Indies. After finishing her degree, she moved to the United States and started work in 2021 with Morgan Stanley as a wealth management associate. When Bowes learned about Cornell’s CFEM program it sounded to her like the perfect bridge from the actuarial-type work she has been doing to something more quant-related.

For the past two semesters Bowes has been working with Morgan Stanley and full-time on her master’s degree in financial engineering. “It's extremely challenging,” Bowes said. “Probably the hardest thing I've ever done. But it's obviously an investment in my career, and one that I know will pay off.”

One of the first people Bowes contacted after receiving the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for Excellence was the director of M.Eng. programs for the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering, Eric Gentsch. He had written Bowes a letter of recommendation as part of the award process and she wanted him to know how things turned out.

Bowes has enjoyed her two semesters in Ithaca and she is now looking forward to the more hands-on aspects of the CFEM program and the capstone project that will happen in the fall semester in Manhattan.

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