21 Students Arrive at Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) for July 19 Start of SPISE 2014
The annual Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) is one of the flagship initiatives of the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) whose mission is to help harness science and technology for the diversification of the economies of the Region. The CSF’s objectives are to: (a) assist with Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education reform, and (b) stimulate more technology-based entrepreneurship and thereby create more jobs. In this regard, the goals of SPISE are to help address the low numbers of Caribbean students pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering, and groom the next generation of science, engineering, business and technology leaders in the Region. It is widely believed that the Region needs to create more technology companies that would export more innovative and competitive products and services to earn more foreign exchange. It is imperative, then, that we prepare the next generation for the challenges ahead!
SPISE is modeled after the well-known and highly successful MITES program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (web.mit.edu/mites), and includes university-level courses in calculus, physics, biochemistry and entrepreneurship taught by eminent academic and industry scientists and engineers from the Caribbean and the U.S. The SPISE environment discourages rote learning, and teaches the students how to focus on understanding and applying the fundamentals so as to achieve mastery of the material, critical for solving new, complex problems.
In SPISE, students also practice teamwork as they participate in hands-on projects to design, build and test systems in the areas of robotics and electronics (with a renewable energy theme this year). The underwater robotic kits are a generous gift from the MIT Sea Grant Program made possible through the assistance of Mr. Tim Downes. In addition, SPISE 2014 includes a biochemistry lab, an introduction to Mandarin, a course on “Caribbean Unity”, a career seminar series featuring technology role models from the Diaspora and the Region, and workshops on optimizing CVs and strategies for maximizing chances of admission to U.S. universities.
SPISE 2014 runs from July 19 to August 16 on the UWI-Barbados campus with 21 students from 11 countries (Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent plus Trinidad and Tobago). The cost of sponsorship is US$6,000 per student plus airfare. All students attend free of charge thanks to generous donations from the 2014 sponsors. Key partners in the SPISE are UWI-Barbados, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and CADSTI.