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All Bahamas Merit scholar lives up to expectations

  • Grand Bahama native Genymphas Higgs, the 2008 All Bahamas Merit Scholar, will graduate Drexel University in Philadelphia with a 3.96 grade point average and a degree in biomedical engineering.

Guardian Lifestyles Editor

Published: May 08, 2013

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When Genymphas Higgs graduated high school he would not have been able to tell you that five years later he would have graduated university with a master’s degree. He would not have been able to tell you that he would present findings from his research papers at conferences in Philadelphia, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, California and China. And he would not have been able to say that he would have a great study abroad experience in the United Kingdom — that afforded him the opportunity to visit 13 countries and 21 cities — during his third year at university.

As the twenty-two year old puts the finishing touches to his master’s thesis for his June graduation from Drexel University in Philadelphia, with a 3.96 grade point average no less, the 2008 All Bahamas Merit Scholarship says his university experience has been more than he could ever have hoped for, and a lot more than he predicted as he looks to the future that he said is still be decided. But he’s not worried, because looking back at the past five years, he says if he’d been asked five years ago where he would be, he would not have been able to say he would have done all those things.

“It’s ultimately to be determined because I could not have predicted this so far. So I am in the process of establishing what the rest of my future will be,” said Higgs who studied biomedical engineering.

The Grand Bahama native’s immediate future has him working as a research associate for an implant research company that researches artificial joints.

“We look at these devices after they’ve been implanted and for whatever reason they have to come out. We look at them to try to figure out why they’re taken out and essentially why are they failing. We also look at how the implants themselves are changing in the body, and how the body is causing the devices to change and what affect it has on the body as well. We also look at the tissue that comes from around the device and we look at what debris may be in those tissues and what effect it has on the body.”

Carpet of his life still unfolding

As far as school is concerned, Higgs says he’s definitely not stopping at a master’s degree. For now he’s looking to get as much research experience as he can before he makes a decision on his course of study towards a doctorate degree.

“I want to make sure that my [doctorate degree] is in a field that I’m interested in and also one that I can give back as much as possible,” he said. “I’m hesitant to start a degree just yet because I want to make sure that I have essentially lined out how it’s going to play for the rest of my life.”

With the carpet of his life still slowly unfolding before him, the son of Glenn (an engineer) and Christine Higgs (a retired nurse) is already looking back at his university life at Drexel with appreciation. And he’s thankful that he was awarded the 2008 All Bahamas Merit Scholarship worth up to $35,000 per year, which afforded him the opportunity to attend the university and get the exposure that he did. Since his sophomore year he has participated in a program that allowed him to go to classes for half a year and work for the other half annually.

Without the scholarship he said he would not have had such an impressive university experience. And that he remembers being in shock for almost three months of starting Drexel, because the scholarship wasn’t something he expected.

“It was always my goal to work as hard as I can and do as well as I can, but I was still not expecting that scholarship. Without it [All Bahamas Merit Scholarship] I would not have been able to go to Drexel. I had some money from the school, but not enough to make it affordable.”

Genymphas is definitely one smart Bahamian. He has always been focused on his education and its importance was something that was instilled in him at a young age. He said it also helped that his parents were encouraging in a positive way and not a scary way.

“I got nothing but great encouragement and support to do well,” he said. “And it also helped that I had two over-achieving older brothers and so in their successes, they showed me what’s possible to set my goals higher.”

Looking back he said he realizes that every decision his parents made, they did for the benefit of their children and their future.

“When I was younger I wasn’t able to see it. I knew that they were always doing a lot for me in terms of the sacrifices to ensure that we were able to be in situations where we could have good opportunities, and I can say nothing but ‘thank you’ for it,” said Genymphas. “With regards to more specific things, they refused to let anything good go unnoticed in our lives. We would do well in high school and we would have award ceremonies and they always found themselves there. I remember actually coming towards the end of my high school career, my mom had something she was working on that was due and I was like, ‘mommy stay home and work on it’. I went to the awards ceremony, and lo and behold, she was right there in the crowd with everybody else. She was there to support me and enjoy in our successes.”

Advice to the youth

It was Genymphas placing importance on his education that has gotten him to where he is today and his advice to the school children of today is to do what they need to do to ensure that they are within the realms of where they are supposed to be.

“I can only say what has been said over and over, and I know it’s one of the things that they may need to hear from someone else for it to actually sink in; but I don’t think it can be stressed enough how important it is to ensure that during the time in their life when school is pretty much their only responsibility, that they spend as much as their effort and attention on doing as well as they can. Later on, school may be one of many things they have to do, and after that, everything else that they have to do will be based on how they set themselves up while they’re in school,” said the young man who will forever be known as an All Bahamas Merit Scholar.

This smart kid is now on to the next chapter in his life. Hopefully, he sets aside time for a little relaxation and fun as well after remaining focused on his educational pursuits for so long.

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