The National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST) hosted sixth form science students from across the region for the 4th Session of the Caribbean Youth Science Forum (CYSF) 2005 from July 31st to August 7th. This year's CYSF boasted 150 students from seven countries including Cuba, first-time participants. Students attended a full week of stimulating science-based activities at The University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus.
CYSF 2005 opened on Sunday July 31st at the Faculty of Engineering UWI, St. Augustine. Dignitaries in attendance included Senator the Honourable Satish Ramroop, Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education; Mr. Darian Hedricks, President and Executive Director of the Robert R. Taylor Network, Inc. in the USA; and Mrs. Maureen Manchouck, President of NIHERST.
During his keynote address, Minister Satish Ramroop indicated that:
"As a region, we not only want to encourage our students to study and pursue scientific careers, but we also want these students to stay in or return to their countries after studying. Of course, to reverse the brain drain we have to some things that money can't buy, and I am sure that the experiences at CYSF provide them with professionally rewarding incentives to stay. But there are 2005 will bring out in participants the higher value of working together to further develop their homelands and improve the lives of their fellow country men and women"
During her opening remarks, NIHERST President, Mrs. Maureen Manchouck stated:
"When we initiated the forum in 1999, we saw it as fulfilling several critical goals and these include:-
Providing our budding scientists and engineers with the opportunity to meet and be tutored by some of the top academics and professionals in their fields.
Inspiring students to pursue careers in Science and Technology while developing interdisciplinary thinking and attitudes.
Developing in our science students an appreciation for the value of undertaking research.
And indeed the participants' own accounts of their achievements have confirmed to us that the objectives of this event are being met."
Special guest speaker on the programme was Mr. Darian Hendricks, President and Executive Director of the Robert R. Taylor Network Inc. (RRTN) and former Chair and current Board Member of the Black Alumni Association of MIT, USA. The RRTN is a premier network that advocates, attracts and mentors young people of African heritage to pursue careers in Architecture, Science and Technology. The RRTN is achieving this by documenting the contributions of people of African heritage to Architecture, Science and Technology, and then immersing students in hands-on programmes which create connections to these individuals and their work, as well as encouraging new thinking, ideas, products and services.
Mr. Hendricks stated:
"It is important to know and document your past, honour and understand the contributions of scientists (formally trained and untrained) who share your roots and identity. It is important to incorporate and build upon their thinking and research their difference in approach to problem solving and seeing a problem may hold the answer to solving complex problems. It is the diversity of thought and full participation of all cultures, countries and regions that will enable us to reach beyond the stars, beyond our current comprehension of the universe and its inner workings, and the betterment of life for all."
Mr. Hendricks spent a lot of time with the students during the course of the week. He delivered an inspiring lecture entitled "The Spirit of Adventure". He socialised with students; shared his experiences; gave advice on careers in Science and Technology; and made valuable contributions to their project presentations.