After kicking off on Sunday 30th July 2006 at the Auditorium of the School of Continuing Studies, UWI, St. Augustine, the 5th annual Caribbean Youth Science Forum promised to both meet and surpass the expectations outlined by NIHERST President, Mrs. Maureen Manchouck and some of the Forum's participating students.
The week long forum featured myriad activities from lectures given by regionally and internationally recognized scientists, field trips, debates and a host of socializing and interactive opportunities for the region's up and coming scientists.
With a schedule chock full of activity, this year's CYSF itinerary somewhat mirrored that of a university student's taxing schedule, the days beginning with back-to-back early morning lectures and continuing late into the night, sometimes due to "home-work", other times simply due to socializing.
Monday's schedule offered a much-anticipated lecture by Dr. Andre Cropper, Technology Development Manager at ITT Industries Space Systems Division in Rochester, New York, who took students through the steps from "Ideation to Creation".
Outlining his extensive work on the LCD and flat-panel displays used in today's popular flat screen televisions, the dynamic speaker assured the students that they were all inventors and, more importantly, innovators, applauding and encouraging their interest in science and asserting his confidence in their potential to become regionally and globally influential scientists.
By mid-week, the young scientists were getting some practical experience and exposure while on various field trips across the island. From bpTT and the UWI BIOMED facility to the Forensic Science Centre and Asa Wright Nature Reserve, the participants were amazed at the range of local career opportunities and facilities afforded in the field of science. The regional visitors in particular were indeed impressed by Trinidad and Tobago's science institutions and knowledge intensive industries.
By far, the most popular and best-enjoyed activity was "Socializing with the Scientists", a night on which the eager participants were able to have one on one conversations with Trinidad and Tobago's leading scientists, including doctors of all disciplines, environmental scientists, engineers and architects to name a few. No matter what the school, organization or country delegation, every participant relished the opportunity to speak with a pioneer in their field of interest, establishing or reaffirming future plans in the pursuit of careers in science.
The 2006 CYSF featured a series of debates on science-based topics that everyone in attendance agreed were of an exceptionally high calibre. The keenly contested final round of debates showcased not only the participants' research skills but also their ability to understand and transmit complex scientific information to an audience.
Caribbean Night was spectacular in entertainment as participants showcased a wealth of talent, creativity and showmanship with contemporary and traditional performances in song, dance and drama. Not to be outdone by the excellent performances from their charges, the team of local hosts brought the curtains done with a comic commando presentation entitled "Phantoms".
The final farewell and official end to this year's forum took place on Sunday 6th August 2006, with a spirited Sports Day held at the University's Sports Grounds. With experiences gained, bonds formed and friendships made, the Caribbean Youth Science Form proved to be nothing short of an astounding success that only promises to grow bigger and better with the coming years.