Young Anguillan, Shamar Gaskin, inspired by SPISE summer programme

Having participated in the Caribbean Science Foundation’s 2014 Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE), Shamar Gaskin’s mind is wide open to how important it is for Caribbean youth to pursue professions in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Shamar, a 17 year-old student of the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School in Anguilla said:  “I now possess an even larger appreciation for the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and I am now aware that the development of the Caribbean, and by extension, the world, will be highly dependent on the advancements made within these fields. I wish to continue studying within the range of STEM, and I hope that my future career may be a result of the inspiration that I received at SPISE.”

The SPISE programme was held at the Cave Hill Campus at the University of the West Indies from July 19 to August 16, 2014 has been supported by the Caribbean Development Bank and other national, regional, public and private organisations this year.

“We were pleased to expand our support of the SPISE programme this year and are encouraged by the positively transformational effect it has had on each of the students. The programme is well run and we commend Prof. Cardinal Warde and the entire team,” said Klao Bell-Lewis, Head of Communications at the Caribbean Development Bank.

One of SPISE’s aims was to attune its young participants to the positive difference they can make to the future of the Region, and Shamar is now sold on that idea:

“SPISE has shown me that I have the ability to accomplish challenging goals, so long as there is hard work and a great effort put forward by myself.  I am now aware that the development of the Caribbean, and by extension, the world, will be highly dependent on the advancements made within these fields.”

Shamar worked on three group projects: a simulated start bio-technological group project to design and test a medically inserted micro-chip; a robotics project where he helped build an underwater robot which could move backward, forward, dive and retrieve floating items; and a skit where the dialogue was completely in Mandarin.

The participating students were five girls and seven boys from Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago.

The students were introduced to university-level courses in calculus, physics, biochemistry as well as Mandarin, entrepreneurship and Caribbean Unity. The practical components included solving problems using robotics, renewable energy and electronics. They participated in seminars 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 in the programme included faculty from the University of the West Indies and senior management from the U.S. biotechnology industry. SPISE is modeled after the well-known and highly successful Minority Introduction to Technology, Engineering and Science Programme run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at which Prof. Warde has served as the Faculty Director for over 15 years.

Source: Press Release from Anguilla’s Ministry of Home Affairs
CAPTION: SPISE participants Shamar Gaskin of Anguilla and Shamone Fine of Jamaica show off their underwater robots to CDB’s Klao Bell-Lewis, Head of Corporate Communications and Collin Cunningham, Information Assistant.