The sky’s the limit for 32-year-old Verrol-Ann Scott. And she is on a mission to help more Barbadians have the same aspiration.
Scott, who is currently the Industrial Waste Inspector at the Barbados Water Authority, has set her sights on spreading awareness of the opportunities associated with the increasingly popular space industry.
She is the national point of contact for the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), a global non-governmental organisation which describes itself as a network which aims to represent university students and young space professionals ages 18 to 35 to the United Nations, space agencies, industry and academia.
Scott received that appointment in November last year to serve for a two-year period, following an application process.
She became aware of the SGAC while participating in the 2019 ClimateLaunchpad programme in the Netherlands where she and her business partner were finalists for their organic and biologic soil treatment and crop protection solutions company Red Diamond Compost.
She recalled being advised to seek out space industry technology to help enhance her research in the area of food security.
“A lady said to me, ‘look at SGAC and see what you can do with them’, and then I applied,” she recalled.
Stating that Barbadians tended to be more reactive than proactive, the former Lodge School student told Barbados TODAY she was still on her mission to find ways to help Barbados become self sufficient in food production.
At the same time, she wants to do whatever she can to help young Barbadians think more global and pursue studies and careers in nontraditional areas including the space industry.
As such, she has taken part in the 2021 Global Space Summit, which was hosted by the Space Development Nexus (SDNx) in collaboration with Helium Learning Labs.
It was designed to widen the spheres of global space community influence and to work with entities in the development and implementation of space policies in emerging nations.
Scott explained that the SGAC provides an opportunity for countries to be exposed to other organisations to see how they can assist in increasing the awareness of the space sector.
“As it relates to being a part of the summit it gives us an opportunity to be recognised and seen on the global platform along with other countries and other national point of contacts, whether it is in the region or internationally,” said Scott.
“It also gives us a chance to form partnerships with other organisations such as SDNx or Helium Learning Labs to give that platform for the youth to have an opportunity to explore the space sector, rather than just thinking of traditional career paths, and let them know there are many opportunities out there as it relates to the space sector,” she said.
Scott said she was now at a point with the SGAC where they were having conversations at the level of CARICOM to have a regional representation.
She said a part of her intention was to form strategic partnerships with companies to provide “a simulation platform” for students from the primary to tertiary education level.
“I want them to have the opportunity to have an actual hands-on experience with the space technology out there.
“It is okay to give you a theoretical platform but sometimes that hands-on experience is necessary. So we are looking to do student exchange programmes,” said Scott.
“What I do in terms of being the national point of contact, rather than having a single voice we decided all the Caribbean countries would come together as one and we present our plans going forward to council to let them know what we are looking to do.
“So we have started to do a series of webinar titled What Space can do for WI, where WI is the acronym for the West Indies “There we look at different topics be it climate change, decent work ethic and all the opportunities out there.
So we let them see what we are interested in and who else is coming to partner with us to let these opportunities come to life,” she explained.
The webinar series, which started in May and will continue until the end of the year, are open to everyone who is interested and can be accessed by logging on to the SGAC website.
Pointing out that the space industry was not something that people in the Caribbean would readily gravitate towards, Scott said she believed through education more residents would have a greater appreciation for the opportunities and begin to explore.
“I think we need to look at embracing the whole space sector and the idea of the technology, because we can implement this in many areas as it relates to agriculture, and science and technology as it relates to our water resource management and education on a whole,” said Scott.
One of the few females in the Caribbean with a lot of interest in the space industry, the St George resident did her university studies in bio-chemistry with psychology.
She also did nanotechology and cardiovascular research in North Carolina.
Scott said prior to the pandemic she had a lot of plans, which she was still hoping to make good on, including forming a number of partnerships.
Scott is advising young Barbadians to reach for the stars and not to let the size of the country determine the extent to which they pursue a field of study and work.
“You have endless opportunities out there.
Don’t limit yourself to Barbados. Get in contact with other people out there.
“There are people out there willing to talk to you and if you have questions ask them something.
“Find out what you need to know.“Don’t limit yourself to thinking you have to just work here in Barbados. The world is your oyster,” she said.