The 5th annual SPISE (Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering) concluded on August 12th, with 19 graduates comprising the brightest 16-18 year old students from the Region interested in pursuing careers in science and engineering. The program is intended to nurture and groom the next generation of science and technology leaders and entrepreneurs in the Caribbean, in an effort to assist with the economic issues facing the Region. This year, students from Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago were selected from 48 applicants. The 4 week program was offered by the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) and conducted using the facilities of the UWI – Cave Hill. The students were challenged with classes that included university-level calculus, physics, biochemistry, entrepreneurship, Caribbean unity and Mandarin, and hands-on projects in computer programming, under-water robotics and renewable energy/electronics.
In addition, the SPISE students attended career seminars given by successful professionals who provided them with a glimpse of the tremendous diversity of science-related jobs and careers, and words of wisdom on academic and career decisions. A CV workshop also guided the students on developing a professional and polished CV, whereas a university application workshop gave the students strategies for optimizing their chances of admission with financial aid to the world’s top universities. SPISE graduates are now studying at universities such as MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, University College London, University of Edinburgh, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Macalester College, Temple University, Trent University and UWI.
On August 12th, the students presented their projects to a public audience that included Dr. DeLisle Worrell – Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Mr. Peter Williams – Managing Director of Emera Caribbean, Mr. Julian Jordan and Mr. Guy Beauvais – Directors of Peloton International, Ms. Natalie Brace – Legal Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Massy, Ms. Jacqui Cuke of the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, Mr. Jeffrey Barrus – Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the United States Embassy for Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS, Mr. Ayodele Pompey – Assistant Registrar of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), Dr. Anthony Fisher – Director of External Relations at UWI – Cave Hill, Professor Clive Landis – Deputy Principal of UWI – Cave Hill, other professionals and several parents and friends of the students.
During this final event, the computer programming, robotics, renewable energy, and entrepreneurship projects were showcased. For the Mandarin presentation, the students introduced themselves in Mandarin and performed several Chinese dances to music. The computer programming projects required the students to learn and use Python to create video games that were demonstrated. For robotics, each SPISE team built a basic model of an underwater robot, and then used innovation to endow it with movable arms of their own design to collect balls in a water-filled tank. For the renewable energy presentations, wind turbines were built by student teams, each with its own unique blade design. The teams competed against each other as the audience viewed how different blade designs affected the ability of the turbines to generate electricity. The entrepreneurship presentations comprised unique technology-based business plans in which groups of students competed, pitching their plans to the audience. Several members of the audience served as judges and selected the winning business plan.
The CSF is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization with headquarters in Barbados and representatives in several other Caribbean countries. Key partners in the SPISE are the UWI – Cave Hill campus, the CXC, the Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation (CADSTI), and Sagicor. Please visit http://caribbeanscience.org/projects/spise.php for more information about the SPISE, or contact Prof. Cardinal Warde at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-617-699-1281. Donations to the CSF can be made at http://caribbeanscience.org/donation/.
SPISE 2016 Sponsors: CADSTI International (USA), CADSTI-New England (USA), CADSTI-UK, Caribbean Development Bank, Caribbean Heritage Association (USA), Central Bank of Barbados, Dominica Electricity Services Ltd, Dominica Secondary Schools Supporters Association (UK), Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Emera Caribbean (Barbados), Guyana Ministry of Education, Kerosene Lamp Foundation (St. Vincent), La Collectivité Territoriale de la Martinique, Massy Foundation (Trinidad), Peloton International (Canada), PETNA Foundation (USA), Pfizer (USA), Sandy Lane Charitable Trust (Barbados), St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd, Trinidad & Tobago Ministry of Planning and Development, Anonymous (Barbados), Jeanese Badenock (Barbados),Agnes Brennan (USA), Jonathan Brooks (USA), Family of Linda Su-Nan Chang Sah (USA), Peter Clarke (USA), E.S. Cummins (Canada), Melton and Sandra McCleod Douglas (Jamaica), Lori and Joe Fitz (USA), Cheryl Greenidge (Barbados), John and Dorothy Herzog (USA), Neville Hunte (Barbados), Philip Lewis (Barbados), Lucia Lin (USA), Tom and Emily Chien Mahoney (USA), Jay and Joan Mandle (USA), Dodridge Miller (Barbados), Sekazi Mtingwa (USA), Burton Rabinowitz & Janine Galler (USA), Adam Raffoul (Trinidad & Tobago), David Sangster (USA), Brian Toppin (Barbados), Richard and Alison Vieira (USA), Colin (Tony) Walcott (Barbados), and Emerson Yearwood (USA).