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FOR THE PAST four weeks 16 teenagers from across the Caribbean participated in an intensive residential science programme at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus. Among them was 17-year-old Cheryse Greenidge, the lone Barbadian in the 2013 Student Programme for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE). SPISE is an initiative of the Caribbean Science Foundation which is headed by Barbadian Professor Cardinal Warde, who lectures in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Cheryse and the other secondary school students were exposed to university-level calculus, physics and biochemistry along with a special focus on entrepreneurship, robotics and Mandarin. The Christ Church Foundation School student told the SUNDAY SUN she heard about the programme from her chemistry teacher when it was staged for the first time last year. However, she did not apply. “This year she had flyers around the school and the newspaper articles from last year. Seeing these flyers almost every day made me contemplate applying. “I also watched last year’s video on YouTube and it seemed like a great programme. I also was in need of some help finding a career path so I thought that SPISE could do that for me,” she said last Friday following the students’ final project presentations at UWI’s 3Ws Oval. Cheryse said the workload was challenging since homework was assigned almost every day, resulting in late nights. “When it was not homework, it was revision for a quiz or preparation for our final presentations. This meant staying up later than usual for me and I normally go to sleep very early,” she said. Despite this, she enjoyed the experience of “living on hall” and she didn’t miss home as much as she thought she would. “I enjoyed working with everybody, getting and giving help, working on group projects. “I am normally not one to talk very much but it seemed so much easier to talk to everybody and I think I have learnt to be more sociable,” she said. The teenager, who also has a passion for languages, said she enjoyed learning about the different cultures of the Caribbean although some accents were hard to understand. She also learned about how school differs throughout the region; some students have to reapply for their second year of sixth form while others stage proms. Cheryse is not yet sure which career she wants to pursue. “From SPISE, many people encouraged me to find some career path which would allow me to merge science with languages. I was told I could be a translator for science books and journals. “I think I need now to do some research to find the potential careers that would make this merger possible,” she explained. For now, she will be focused on completing unit two of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) in biology, chemistry and physics. She will then most likely study at Cave Hill before attending a university “in some country where English is not the official language”.