Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) Tops 150

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Jara Emtage-Cave of Barbados and Daniel Baldeo-Thorne of Guyana getting ready to place their under-water robot into the tank during the SPISE 2019 Final Projects Presentations.

The Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), a non-profit organization promoting science and technology in the Caribbean, today announced that more than 150 top science and math students from the Region have now graduated to-date from its flagship program, the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE).  Of the 152 graduates since inception in 2012, 10 students will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as undergraduates this fall.  SPISE graduates are also attending many of the world’s other top universities including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, University of Toronto, McMaster University and the University of the West Indies (UWI).

This year, 21 students ages 16-18 participated from 8 Caribbean countries – Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent. The annual four-week program was held on the UWI – Cave Hill campus, and included university-level calculus, physics, biochemistry, entrepreneurship, and Caribbean unity, as well as hands-on projects in computer programming, renewable energy/electronics and underwater robotics.

SPISE instructors comprised academic ad industry professionals from the U.S. including MIT, faculty from UWI, and leaders from the biotech and high tech industries. Guest speakers included Mr. Ian Hickling – President and CEO of Lenstec, Dr. Dinah Sah – biotechnology executive, Dr. Jeanese Badenock – Lecturer at UWI-Cave Hill, Emeritus Professor Jay Mandle from Colgate University, Barbadian Professor Cardinal Warde from MIT, and university admissions officers from MIT, Acadia University in Canada and UWI – Cave Hill.

The highlight of the 4-week long program was the Final Projects Presentations by the students on August 9, 2019 before an enthusiastic audience of sponsors, supporters, friends and family. These presentations featured competitions in: (a) under-water robotics, (b) electronics and renewable energy, (c) computer programming and (d) business plans for new technology companies.

MIT Professor Cardinal Warde, Interim Executive Director of the CSF, said that “the program’s goal is to help groom the next generation of Caribbean science and engineering leaders. Creativity, innovation, teamwork and excellence are the standards at SPISE, and the students gained newly found knowledge and skills as well as increased self-confidence.”

Dr. Dinah Sah, the Director of SPISE and biochemistry instructor, stated “This summer we raised the bar in the electronics and the biochemistry courses, and so this SPISE 2019 class found the program more challenging than last year’s class. However, everyone rose to the challenge and experienced a huge delta in learning the new material.   So I am very pleased with the performance of the SPISE 2019 class.”  She went on to say that the CSF is tremendously grateful to its sponsors and supporters without whom this program would not have been possible.

After the conclusion of the 4-week residential program, SPISE graduates continue to receive assistance with their university applications from the CSF, and are eligible for internships in the US, Canada, UK and Caribbean organized by the Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation (CADSTI) – New England and the CSF.  These internships provide opportunities for the students to experience first-hand the application of science and engineering to developing products in industry.

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