Jénine Shepherd is a 22-year-old student at Amherst College, where she is double majoring in
Neuroscience and Economics.
She is the Director of Youths For Excellence Limited, a non-profit she founded at 17, that provides tutoring, healthcare, school supplies and food for inner-city children courtesy of 24 sponsors from the public and private sectors, KFC among them. On November 24, 2018, she received the Prime Minister’s Award for Nation Building for the work her organization does. She is currently in the process of expanding her company to the USA with the backing of its government, education economics researchers at Columbia University and the UN. She is also working on establishing community centers throughout the Caribbean with the support of CXC, Caribbean Examinations Council (the largest examination body in the region) and other regional leads. Her efforts have garnered her recognition on national news outlets in Jamaica and the Caribbean as well as US media outlets.
She got her start at Campion College where she obtained 15 distinctions for CSEC, placing 10th in the island for Additional Mathematics and 6 Cape Unit one ones and 6 Cape Unit two ones. In her final year, her team won the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica’s Science Competition in the 16-19 age category by devising a solar water pump that would alleviate the water crisis at her high school and could be integrated into a larger solar circuit to power the school. Her team won 1 million JMD
to run the project as a pilot at her school with the intention of spreading the design island-wide.
Jénine Shepherd is a proud Jamaican. She has collaborated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign trade to draft the core policy for the Global Jamaica Diaspora Youth Council. Through this proposal she ensures that 3.5 million Jamaicans residing in the USA, UK and Canada are heard on issues of cultural estrangement, how they can get involved in policy making, and how they can contribute to businesses, education, national security, and other matters relating to restoring confidence in Jamaica for Vision 2030.
Jénine Shepherd was recently appointed President of the Jamaican American Youth Alliance (JAYA), a New York based 501(c)(3) that supports Jamaicans in the USA with the endorsements of the US and Jamaican governments to provide networking and mentorship opportunities as well as a platform for advocacy on issues affecting diaspora members. JAYA recently partnered with the American Friends of Jamaica to host a virtual benefit concert in Europe, co-hosted by DJ Khaled and Busta Rhymes, in aid of the COVID-19 relief effort in Jamaica, in addition to the Embassy of Jamaica in Brussels and European diaspora groups to raise funds and organize repatriation flights in aid of Jamaicans stranded in France due to COVID-19.
In August of 2020, Jénine was approached by CARICOM, the Smart Caribbean Gathering, the Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Caribbean Development Foresight Institute to Co-chair and organise a forum for International Youth Day (August 12, 2020). The forum focused on 'Shaping the New Normal" for a post COVID-19 Caribbean from the youth perspective, touching on the issues of education, mental health and economic empowerment. The forum brought together heads of government from Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and reached 5,000 + persons across all 20 CARICOM member and associate member states. Senior executives from UNESCO, The United Nations Development Programme, the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Development Bank participated in the discussion and took pointers to craft their future policies for a COVID-19 resilient Caribbean.
At Amherst College, she has been heavily involved in student government. Her freshman year, she served as a senator on the Dining, Faculty Orientation and Planning, Sexual Respect, and Budgetary committees, where she oversaw the allocation of USD 1.2 million to various student groups as well as organized a neon paint rave as her senate project with the school sponsoring USD 14K for the event and USD 20k for its second run during her junior year. Her sophomore year, she served on the Executive Board of student government as Judiciary Council Chair. She has been chosen by Synapse National, an organization that caters to individuals suffering from acquired brain injuries by providing them with peer support groups, buddy programs and current research on the latest advancements in the fields of TBIs through the collaboration with other chapters across the USA (MIT, Stanford, UPENN, Brown, Emory, etc), to become a chapter founder at Amherst College. In her junior year, she was featured in the Amherst Magazine of Spring 2019 for her Prime Minister’s award and subsequently in Amherst News for her policy proposal for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and philanthropic efforts.
Below are some highlights of Jénine's meetings, events and accomplishments.