Caribbean organization, CSF, appeals for sponsorship of STEM students

 

Caribbean students participating in SPISE program.

Caribbean students participating in SPISE program.

Carmen Glover

The ability for some students to participate in an annual immersion program, scheduled for July 18 to August 15 at the Barbados campus of the University of the West Indies, is in jeopardy, according to a letter from Cardinal Warde, MIT professor and interim executive director of the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF). The immersion program is geared towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers  In an effort to generate support for the students who cannot afford to participate in the program, Warde made an email appeal for sponsorship. The edited email appears below:

“Each summer the Caribbean Science Foundation CSF) offers the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) to the most gifted 16 and 17- year- old Caribbean students who are interested in pursuing careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines. The goal of SPISE is to groom these youngsters to become the next generation of high-tech science and engineering leaders and entrepreneurs in the region.

Caribbean Science Foundation's logo.

Caribbean Science Foundation’s logo.

“The long-term overall goal of the CSF is to help diversify the economies of the region by stimulating more technology-based entrepreneurship, creating more high paying jobs, and thereby raising the standard of living of the people. SPISE uses the facilities of the campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill, Barbados. Key important partners for SPISE are the UWI – Cave Hill Campus, and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

The purpose of this e-mail is to solicit a contribution in support of the five remaining students who are currently wait-listed for admission into the 2015 SPISE. This year we have capacity to serve 20 students. Fifteen students have already been fully sponsored into the 2015 SPISE, thanks to generous contributions so far from this year’s sponsors. The  five unfunded students are from Jamaica, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis and Grenada.

Participants in the SPISE immersion workshop.

Participants in the SPISE immersion workshop.

 

“The full cost of sponsorship for one student is US$ 6,000 plus round trip air travel to Barbados. With full sponsorship, we brand the student as the SPISE 2015 scholar of his/her sponsor.”

Online contributions can be made by credit card at the CSF Website (via CADSTI) at http://caribbeanscience.org/donation/. Checks made payable in US dollars or Barbados dollars to the Caribbean Science Foundation may be mailed to Caribbean Science Foundation, CARICOM Research Building, UWI Cave Hill Campus, St. Michael, Barbados, West indies By wire to: Bank Name: BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA
SWIFT Code: NOSCBBBB, Bank Key (bank + branch code): BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA (40055), Bank Address: Broad Street, Bridgetown, Barbados, Account Name: Caribbean Science Foundation, Account Number: 9013083.

SPISE participants.

SPISE participants.

SPISE is modeled after the well-known and highly successful MITES program at MIT (http://web.mit.edu/mites/) for which Professor Cardinal Warde also serves as the Faculty Director.  Please view the video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75UUowD7-oM, from SPISE 2012 to capture the real spirit of SPISE. More specifics about SPISE can be found at http://caribbeanscience.org/projects/spise.php. The CSF Website is http://caribbeanscience.org.

For more information about sponsorship, opportunities please contact Professor Cardinal Warde, Interim Executive Director of CSF at warde.csf@gmail.com, Tel. 617-699-1281–OnPointPress.net.

 

 

22 students graduate from SPISE Caribbean summer workshop

Scenes from this summer's SPISE workshop.

Scenes from this summer’s SPISE workshop.

By CSF Team

Twenty two students graduated successfully from the recently concluded summer workshop in the Caribbean, designed to broaden Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. Annually, the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) offers a four-week-long Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) to the most-gifted Caribbean students in STEM education.

The goal of SPISE is to groom the Caribbean’s next generation of technology entrepreneurs and leaders in science, engineering and business. This year, SPISE served 22 such students from 11 Caribbean countries: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago. All of the students successfully completed rigorous university-level courses in calculus, physics, biochemistry, entrepreneurship, Caribbean unity and Mandarin, as well as hands-on projects in under-water robotics, renewable energy and electronics.

The students also participated in a career seminar series where they heard first-hand about the career paths, decisions and experiences of six eminent professionals in science and engineering from the Diaspora and the region, including Grenadian Nicholas Brathwaite, founding partner of Riverwood Capital. Instructors included faculty from the University of the West Indies and senior management from the U.S. biotechnology industry. SPISE, which is led by Professor Cardinal Warde of MIT, is modeled after the well-known and highly successful MITES program at MIT (web.mit.edu/mites) for which Prof. Warde has served as the faculty director for over 15 years. All SPISE students participated free of charge, due to generous donations from numerous corporate and individual sponsors.

The governing committee of the Caribbean Research Foundation.

The governing committee of the Caribbean Science Foundation.

The SPISE workshop culminated with the students presenting their final projects in robotics, renewable energy, entrepreneurship and Mandarin to the public on August 15th. The audience included U.S. Ambassador for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Dr. Larry Palmer;  Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr. DeLisle Worrell; Managing Director of Light and Power Holdings Mr. Peter Williams; Barbados Minister of Labor Social Security & Human Resource Development Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo;  Barbados Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Hon. Ronald Jones, Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development Dr. Rikhi Permanand;, Mr. Collin Cunningham and Ms. Klao Bell-Lewis of the Caribbean Development Bank, Ms. Petal Jetoo from the Guyana Ministry of Education, Ms. Jacqui Cuke of Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, and several parents and business professionals.

In the robotics demonstrations, the students designed and built underwater robots from kits donated by the MIT Sea Grant program for the task of retrieving floating balls and sunken objects, and placing them into a basket. This was a true test of their ingenuity, and innovative engineering and design skills! The renewable energy demonstrations featured a vertical-axis wind turbine, a solar-powered cell-phone charger, a solar-powered boat, and a circuit that converts stored power in a battery (direct current output) to house-hold alternating-current.

For entrepreneurship, teams of students pitched their business plans, and then fielded tough questions from the audience. The students also performed three skits in Mandarin that brought much laughter and applause from the audience. The SPISE students, who on average had 5 hours of homework each night, commented on how much new and difficult material they had learned, and how their confidence was boosted for competing at universities with other students in their age group from any part of the world.

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 University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and Sagicor. Please visit http://caribbeanscience.org/projects/spise.php for more information about the SPISE, or contact Prof. Cardinal Warde at warde.csf@gmail.com or 1-617-699-1281. Donations to the CSF can be made at http://caribbeanscience.org/donation.-OnPointPress.net-

Annual Caribbean summer STEM program underway in Barbados

Students hard at work with their projects at SPISE.

Students hard at work with their projects during the summer SPISE intensive in Barbados.

Bridgetown, Barbados, July 27: Twenty one students have been participating in the annual month-long STEM summer intensive effective July 19 at the Barbados campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI). The annual Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) is one of the flagship initiatives of the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) whose mission is to help harness science and technology for the diversification of the economies of the Caribbean.

Dr Maya Trotz of the Caribbean Science Foundation addresses students.

Dr Maya Trotz of the Caribbean Science Foundation addresses students.

This year the students will demonstrate their hands-on projects, and present their business plans and Mandarin skits at the conclusion of the program in a public forum on August 15. Another key feature of the SPISE is that post-SPISE graduates are assisted by the CSF with their university applications, and have the opportunity to participate in research internships organized by the CSF and Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation (CADSTI).

Students demonstrating their craft.

Students demonstrating their talents.

SPISE is an intensive four-week enrichment residential summer program for Caribbean high-school students who are gifted in STEM, not less than 16 and not more than 18 years of age on July 1, and who are interested in studying and exploring careers in these and related fields. SPISE graduates have been admitted to such prestigious universities as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Duke and University of the West Indies (UWI). The CSF believes that one or more of these STEM superstars could create the “next Google” in the Caribbean or become the Region’s first Nobel laureate in science.

The governing committee of the Caribbean Research Foundation.

The governing committee of the Caribbean Research Foundation.

SPISE 2014 runs from July 19 to August 16 on the UWI-Barbados campus with 21 students from 11 countries (Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago). The cost of sponsorship is US$6,000 per student plus airfare. All students attend free of charge thanks to generous donations from the 2014 sponsors.

Students from Jamaica participate in the debate team at the Caribbean Science Foundation.

Students from Jamaica participate in the debate team at the Caribbean Science Foundation.

Key partners in the SPISE are UWI-Barbados, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and CADSTI. SPISE is modeled after the well-known and highly successful MITES program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (web.mit.edu/mites), and includes university-level courses in calculus, physics, biochemistry and entrepreneurship taught by eminent academic and industry scientists and engineers from the Caribbean and the U.S.

The CSF is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization with headquarters in Barbados and representatives in several other Caribbean countries. Please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75UUowD7-oM to view a video which captures the real spirit of SPISE. visit http://caribbeanscience.org/projects/spise.php for more information about the SPISE, or contact Prof. Cardinal Warde at warde.csf@gmail.com or 1-617-699-1281. Donations to the CSF can be made at http://caribbeanscience.org/donation.-OnPointPress.net.

Deadline for Caribbean organization’s student program is March 31

Dr. Trotz of the Caribbean Science Foundation, address participants.

Dr.  Maya Trotz of the Caribbean Science Foundation, address participants.

The deadline for qualified students to apply to the Caribbean Science Foundation’s (CSF) annual Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) is March 31. SPISE is an intensive four-week enrichment residential summer program for gifted Caribbean high-school students who are interested in studying and exploring careers in science and engineering. The goal of the program is to help address the low numbers of Caribbean students pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering, and to groom the next generation of science, engineering technology and business leaders in the region. Students who gain admission to SPISE are among the top scholars in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in the Caribbean.

SPISE is one of CSF’s initiatives with the long-term goal of helping to diversify the economies of the Region by stimulating more technology-based entrepreneurship within the Region. The program is based at the CSF headquarters, which is located on the Barbados campus of the University of the West Indies. Key important partners of the SPISE are the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, and the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC). SPISE is modeled after the well-known and highly successful MITES program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), web.mit.edu/mites. SPISE strives for a balanced class of 50% girls and boys. SPISE students study university-level calculus, physics, biochemistry, entrepreneurship, Mandarin and humanities. SPISE instructors are university professors and lecturers from the Caribbean and the MIT. SPISE students are also exposed to and coached by role models in career paths and choices, and assisted with their applications to universities and to internship opportunities in research centers globally.

CADSTI-CSF-Relationship-final-10-15-11

SPISE is a learning environment in which students are trained to think critically and to develop analytical and logical problem-solving approaches in several disciplines. Rote learning is discouraged. Grades, though important, are not emphasized. The focus is on understanding the concepts and fundamental principles in each discipline, and to gain enough mastery to apply these fundamentals to find solutions to complex problems that have not been encountered before. Students are judged on their self-improvement during the program.

Teamwork is yet another essential component of the SPISE experience, as the hands-on projects require students to work in groups, and to design and fabricate modules, components and systems that will be showcased to the public at the end of the program. Further, efficient study habits and time-management skills are taught. Students have about five hours of homework each night. Each student is challenged just outside his/her comfort zone. Teaching Assistants reside in the dormitories with the students so that course work assistance and general supervision are available 24/7 to the young students.

Debate Mae Jamaica team with Marilyn Nash of the Flanker Peace and Justice Center in Montego Bay.

Debate Mae Jamaica team with Marilyn Nash of the Flanker Peace and Justice Center in Montego Bay, show their enthusiasm to participate in the Caribbean Science Foundation’s events.

In 2014, approximately 20 students will participate free of charge, courtesy of generous support from sponsors. SPISE 2014 will run from July 19 to August 16. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age on July 1, 2014, and have completed CSEC exams or equivalent in math and science subjects. Students from low-income households and girls are encouraged to apply. Student, Teaching Assistant and Instructor application forms are posted on the CSF website at http://caribbeanscience.org/projects/spise.php. Student applications are due on March 31, 2014. Please be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at the Website for further details. Sponsors from as many different countries as possible are invited to join in support of the program. Sponsors may opt to designate support for students from specific countries. Each student is branded as a scholar of their sponsor.

The cost per student is US$ 6,000 plus round-trip airfare between the student’s country and Barbados. The US$ 6,000 covers student housing, meals, stipends for the instructors and teaching assistants, and partial costs of lab equipment and supplies. The CSF supplies the sponsors with interim and final updates on the performance of their students and assists the sponsor by providing reports, photos and other materials to showcase their corporate social responsibility.

Please contact Prof. Cardinal Warde (warde.csf@gmail.com or 1-617-699-1281) with  questions about the program and about student sponsorship.-OnPointPress.net.

 

STEM awareness gets boost from Caribbean conference

Participants at the recent CSF Conference in Guyana.

Participants at the recent CSF Conference in Guyana.

(December 19, 2013, Georgetown, Guyana): In a packed conference room at the Grand Coastal Hotel, enthusiastic professionals from the Caribbean joined students and teachers from Guyana to discuss careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Under the title, “Stimulating Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Science and Engineering,” the Caribbean Science Foundation (SCF) hosted its third annual conference. Details were provided about promoting STEM careers to help diversify the economies of the Caribbean. The event was held December 2-3.

The Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), in collaboration with the Guyana Ministry of Education and the Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation organized the conference. The CSF was established in 2010 as an independent non-profit non-governmental organization whose mission is to assist with the diversification of the Region’s economies by promoting education reform in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and stimulating more technology-based entrepreneurship.

Students listen intently during workshop at the conference.

Students preparing for micro-science experiments.

Prime Minister of Guyana, the Hon. Samuel Hinds, opened the conference, and both he and Guyana’s  Minister of Education, the Hon. Priya Manickch, highlighted the importance of harnessing science and technology for the development of the region. Collaboration and cooperation across institutions and sectors throughout the region, and networking with the diaspora, were mentioned frequently as key to facilitating science and technology advances. The recent approval of Guyana’s National Science and Technology policy was highlighted by Science and Technology Advisor to the President of Guyana, Mr. Navin Chandarpal. He stressed the policy as a national milestone in elevating awareness of the importance of STEM education reform. Barbados Ambassador Designate to China, and Director General Emeritus of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, focused on the importance of food security, the expanded agricultural sector, and the need for the Region to produce more of the food it consumes.

Many students and teachers from high schools in Guyana participated in the conference, with the students posing some of the most difficult questions to the speakers. The students, under the supervision of Ms. Petal Jetoo of the Ministry of Education of Guyana and her team of Guyanese scientists, also carried out experiments using microscience kits provided by UNESCO. The students commended this hands-on learning experience.

Conference presenter shares information while students gaze in rapt attention.

Professor Winston Mellowes engaging students at the conference, while students gaze in rapt attention.

CSF programs such as the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge and the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) were featured, with three Guyanese students speaking about their recent experiences in those programs. Also covered were STEM curriculum and modernization updates, with the primary objective of making science fun for the students. Teaching with examples drawn from local resources and needs, inquiry-based science approaches, the scientific method, and the use of digital e-learning were also emphasized. The need for more national science fairs, math Olympiads and science museums was also stressed. The vast range of career options in the STEM disciplines was the subject of a career panel. The requirements for the launch of a high-tech electronics start-up company were demystified with examples showing how, in the Internet era, the materials and components needed could be sourced worldwide from a desktop. The critical need for execution to bring ideas to fruition was emphasized.

The 2013 CSF Distinguished Service Awards went to Prof. Maya Trotz of the Univ. of South Florida, Ms. Petal Jetoo of the Ministry of Education of Guyana, Sagicor Financial Corporation, and Sagicor Life Caribbean. Key sponsors of the Workshop included the Caribbean Examinations Council, the Organization of American States, the Canadian government, UNESCO and Sagicor.

Individuals or organizations interested in supporting CSF projects may donate at http://caribbeanscience.org/donation/ or send inquiries to Professor Cardinal Warde (warde.csf@gmail.com). OnPointPress.net.

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