CDB supports Science and Technology programme (SPISE) for Region’s youth

(L-R) Senator Dr. The Hon Esther Byer Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Barbados, poses with SPISE students Erica Virgo and Terrikia Benjamin. Sharing in the moment are Klao Bell Lewis, Head of Corporate Communications at the Caribbean Development Bank, CDB and Professor Cardinal Wade, Interim Executive Director of the Caribbean Science Foundation, CSF. The occasion was the launch of the SPISE programme on Sunday, July 19, 2015.

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 Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE). This year, the programme will immerse 18 Caribbean students in a 4-week programme of study, focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Students are from 10 countries, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Trinidad.

CDB has provided funds for two students to participate in SPISE, 17 year old Terrikia Benjamin 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, as well as the costs of living expenses for the four weeks. Students are housed at the University of the West Indies, 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 amoung our youth”, said Klao Bell-Lewis, Head of Corporate Communications, CDB.

The CDB scholars, along with the 16 other students, will spend the next 4-weeks doing university level courses in calculus, physics, biochemistry and entrepreneurship, with the aim being to stimulate an interest in science and engineering. 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 modeled after the well-known and highly successful MITES program at MIT for which Prof. Warde has served as the Faculty Director for over 15 years. All post-SPISE students also have the opportunity to be assisted with their college applications, and have the opportunity 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.