Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Innovative Local Teens “Hack.IT” at STEMBoard Camp Opening

By Arthia Nixon, for STEMBoard

(Nassau, The Bahamas) Suggestions to prevent frequent power outages and technological strategies to help the Royal Bahamas Defense Force were among the ideas students presented to facilitators at this year’s STEMBoard’s Hack.IT camp. The middle and high school students, who will also learn to operate drones this week, will be vying to win prizes when Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr., the first African-American to walk in space serves as a chief judge this week at St. Andrew’s School. The public is invited to attend a reception on Friday at 11am at St. Andrew's.

Aisha Bowe encourages students
Aisha Bowe, the youngest Bahamian American woman to work with NASA, along with John Martellaro co-founded STEMBoard, the company hosting the summer program for Bahamian youth. The team made certain to include students from the Family Islands and through the generous donations of sponsors, the camp is free of charge, complete with lunch and for some students, bus transportation.

Day one of the camp began with Bowe immediately encouraging an impromptu thinktank, splitting the youngsters into teams and inviting them to come up with resolutions to technological challenges facing The Bahamas.

16 year-old Stephen Seymour presented four ideas with his team on how the Royal Bahamas Defense Force could benefit from using advanced technology.

Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr.
“I want to be an astronaut,” he said excitedly. “Or maybe an engineer. I’m very interested in these types of things and working in the STEM field.”

With an interest in becoming an aerospace engineer, Wilfred Moss was one of over 50 students who showed up to participate in the camp. His father Celi Moss said that the camp not only provides hands on learning but also allows his son to see firsthand the possibilities to make it in an industry that seems overlooked in The Bahamas.

“The STEM industries are the way forward,” said Moss. “I look at my son and the other like-minded young people here and wonder which one of them could be the next Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. We really need to consider investing in our youth in this arena because there are so many possibilities. I’m very proud to know that Aisha has come back to nurture the next generation of thinkers who can very well change our world. I’m excited to see what the future will hold for all of the camp attendees.”

Derek ‘Fonzworth Bentley’ Watkins, John and Aisha Bowe
During the opening of the camp, author, BET talk show host and entertainer Derek ‘Fonzworth Bentley’ Watkins gave attendees some entrepreneurial food for thought. The Morehouse graduate revealed he worked as a researcher in a genetics lab after earning a degree in biology before heading on the hip hop circuit to work with the likes of Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Kanye West. He also signed copies of his book “Advance Your Swagger”.

“There are some students from last year who are back this year,” said Bowe. “I personally am very excited to work directly with these students. They have global mindsets and have already put in research into their projects. So far, they are working well in their teams on their various projects and we are all excited to see what they will be presenting at the end of the week.”

This year’s STEMBoard camp is sponsored by Millennium Engineering and Integration Company, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, URCA, CBS Tech Emporium, K3 Enterprises, Adorn the World, Change Catalyst, Caribbean Innovation Ventures and Production Services Management Inc. The week of activities concludes on Friday. For more information visit bahamascamp.com