From left, Minister of Labour and Social Security Senator Dr Esther Byer, SPISE students Erica Virgo and Terrikia Benjamin, Caribbean Development Bank head of corporate communications Klao Bell-Lewis, and Professor Cardinal Warde, interim executive director of the Caribbean Science Foundation. (GP)
THE CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (CDB) has once again thrown its support behind the effort to groom the region’s next generation of science and technology leaders.
The bank has partnered with the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) for the 2015 edition of the Student Programme For Innovation In Science And Engineering (SPISE). This year, the programme will immerse 18 Caribbean students in a four-week programme of study focussing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students are from Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, News, St Lucia, St Vincent and Trinidad.
CDB has provided funds for two students to participate in SPISE: 17-year-old Terrikia Benhamin from Antigua, and 17-year-old Erica Virgo from Jamaica. All SPISE students attend the programme free of charge, with sponsorship covering the costs of round-trip airfare from their home country to Barbados.
This was in addition to the costs of living expenses for the four weeks. Students are housed at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus.
“We believe that developing an interest in science and technology among our young people is crucial for future development of our region. Our goal through sponsoring students to participate in SPISE is to stimulate science and technology entrepreneurship among our youth,” said Klao Bell-Lewis, CDB’s head of corporate communications.
The CDB scholars, along with the 16 other students, will spend their four weeks doing university level courses in calculus, physics, biochemistry and entrepreneurship.
Students will also participate in hands-on projects to design, build and test systems in the areas of underwater robotics and electronics.
SPISE is led by Professor Cardinal Warde of MIT, and is modelled after the well known and highly successful Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) programme at MIT for which Warde has served as the faculty director for more than 15 years.
All post SPISE students also have the opportunity to be assisted with their college applications, and the chance to participate in research internships in the Caribbean and abroad.
Graduates of the programme have gone on to be admitted to prestigious universities such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Duke and UWI. (PR/SC)