The Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) held the inaugural Caribbean Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Olympiads virtually from January 20 – 22, 2023.
Individuals and teams representing educational institutions, clubs or themselves competed in several events at three different age levels: Level 1 those 12 to 15 years old, Level 2 for those 16 to 18 years old, and Level 3 for those 19 to 21 years old.
The event included Math Olympiads, a Robotics Showcase and Computer Coding Games. The Computer Coding Games consisted of Apps and Websites aimed at solving one of six challenges faced by Caribbean communities (energy production and consumption, food security and food safety, non-communicable diseases, transportation, money movement, financial education, and geo hazards and climate change).
A total of 215 students from ten Caribbean countries registered for the Olympiads. After the preliminary rounds, 30 teams (98 students) made it to the finals.
There were 28 finalists in the Math Olympiads, 34 in the Robotics Showcase, and 36 in the Computer Coding Games. Medal certificates were awarded in platinum, gold, silver, and bronze categories.
In addition, cash prizes of US$400 (platinum), US$300 (gold), US$200 (silver) and US$100 (bronze) were awarded to the teams.
At the awards ceremony, held on Sunday, 22 January 2023, Jamaica led the count with seven medals, followed by Guyana with five, Barbados with four, Trinidad and Tobago also with four, and Antigua and Barbuda had three (two of which were gold).
Noteworthy was the fact that females out-performed males in the total number of medals won, by approximately 5:3.
Jamaica earned three platinum medals. Specifically, Ehinome Ehikhametalor who attends Campion College but represented himself, won the Level 1 Math Olympiad platinum medal; Micaela Mclean, Orvi-Ann Brown and Keneilia Bailey of the Glenmuir Math Club won the Level 3 Math Olympiad platinum medal; and Abigail Allen, Laraine Williams, Nishanae Williams, Demaria Walker and Kristian Coke of Campion College, won the Level 2 Computer Coding Games platinum medal.
From Trinidad and Tobago, Fazeel Ali, Saleem Salick and Raymond Liu of Presentation College, Chaguanas won the platinum medal in the Math Level 2; and Sarah Sellier (on gap year) and Neysa Sylvan (University of Trinidad and Tobago) forming a private team earned the platinum medal for Level 3 Computer Coding Games.
The platinum medal for the Level 2 Robotics Showcase went to Jamani Bowen, Trevan Parris, Malik Blackman, Mystica Inniss and Jovani Gittens of Harrison College’s Kolij Robotics Club (Barbados) for their clothes-folding robot.
Professor Cardinal Warde, the Interim Director of the CSF, stated, “I am very pleased and impressed by the high level of STEM talent in the region! I have to wonder if I could have solved the difficult Level 3 problems in the Math Olympiads as quickly as the platinum medalists did.”
He thanked the judges, his staff, the institutional and individual sponsors, and friends and family who made financial contributions with very short notice to make the inaugural Olympiads a success.
Several students highlighted the impact of participating in the event. Kristian Coke of Campion College, Jamaica, said: “I have always wanted to create video games and even started a club at my school centred around game development, but I often encountered difficulty in mustering the motivation or direction needed to actualise my ideas.
“This competition provided me with an outlet to create a functioning game and hone my skills in programming and game design. For this, I am very grateful.”
Sarah Baharally of Queen’s College, Guyana said: “This competition was immensely ineffable, quite thrilling and euphoric!” Many students indicated they would compete again next year and encouraged their friends to join.
At the closing ceremony, Julian Jordan, a member of the Board of Directors of Peloton International, one of the sponsors, delivered inspirational remarks and explained the relevance of STEM and entrepreneurship to the founding of his company which develops software for the oil and gas industry. “This company was built by people like yourselves 35 years ago. Because they [the founders] were STEM students, they became engineers, got their degrees and they looked for problems
in the business world that they could use their technical skills for,” he said.
In addition to Peloton International, sponsors included Emera Caribbean, Fujitsu Caribbean, the Barbados Ministry of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology, Trident Insurance, PromoTech, and TAG software.
The CSF is a regional non-profit NGO that aims to help the development and diversification of the economies of the Caribbean by promoting STEM education reform and stimulating technology-based entrepreneurship. For more information on the CSF and the Caribbean STEM Olympiads, please visit https://caribbeanscience. (PR)