(StLuciaTimes)The Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), a non-profit organization promoting science and technology in the Caribbean, graduated the 12th group of students from its flagship program, the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE).
Since its inception in 2012, SPISE has served 225 students from 17 Caribbean countries, including 19 students in the class of 2023.
The new graduates, ages 16-18, hail from 10 Caribbean islands – Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, the Grenadines, Jamaica, Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Tobago, and Trinidad.
For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual five-week residential program returned to the in-person format this summer.
Students worked hard to balance a packed SPISE schedule consisting of classes, laboratory projects, seminars and workshops. The curriculum continues to include university-level calculus, physics, biochemistry and entrepreneurship, as well as hands-on projects in computer programming and electronics.
SPISE has continued to attract top instructors, including academic and industry professionals from the US, with 4 from MIT, as well as faculty from UWI, and leaders from the biotech and software industries.
The Caribbean Diaspora enthusiastically gives back year after year, guiding the younger generation to greater excellence in science, technology, engineering and math, serving as instructors and speakers, and making financial contributions to support the program.
The 2023 SPISE included career seminars from prominent guest speakers such as Mr. Mark Levin – biotechnology icon, Dr. Dinah Sah – biotechnology executive, Dr. Jeanese Badenock – Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, and Senior Lecturer (chemistry) at UWI-Cave Hill, Emeritus Professor Jay Mandle from Colgate University (economics), Professor Robert Sah from UCSD (bioengineering), and Barbadian Professor Cardinal Warde from MIT (electrical engineering).
In addition, workshops were held by university admissions officers from MIT, Columbia University, Princeton University and U Penn.
On Friday August 11, 2023, the program culminated with the Final Project Presentations where the student teams presented their capstone projects in Entrepreneurship, Computer Programming and Electronics to an enthusiastic audience of sponsors, colleagues, friends and family.
The projects spanned fun adventure games created in Python such as a platform-jumping game to make learning math fun, futuristic new business concepts such as using sargassum seaweed as a renewable source of biodegradable plastics, and clever electronics circuits such as a multi-sensor device for monitoring the condition of a plant’s environment to optimize growth.
These presentations showcased the brilliance, creativity, hard work and talent of the students.
Dr. Dinah Sah, the Co-Executive Director of the CSF and Director of SPISE, stated that “SPISE provided transformative experiences for these exceptional students who are the next generation of Caribbean leaders in science and engineering. We look forward to their changing the world to make it a better place for all.”
Key partners and sponsors who provided critical support for SPISE include the UWI – Cave Hill Campus, the Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation (New England Branch), Caribbean Development Bank, Central Bank of Barbados, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Emera Caribbean, Kerosene Lamp Foundation, LUCELEC, Peloton International, PETNA Foundation, Sagicor Insurance Company, Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, the U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS, and the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science which provided electronics lab components through Professor Steven Leeb.
Without their continual support and the support of many individual donors, SPISE would not be able to celebrate these past 12 years of excellence.