St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): For the first time in history, St. Kitts and Nevis will be entering an international robotics competition, starting next week.
The FIRST Global Robotics Challenge is an annual competition that seeks to foster the interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields among youth worldwide.
Teams from over 160 countries participate and build robots made from supplies provided by First Global, to complete various tasks, such as the handling and sorting of balls.
St. Kitts and Nevis is sending three students – Zhavier Shaw, Jervik Lapsley, and Jermelia Henry – and a mentor, Dr. Ricardo Neil, from the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College TVEMS Information Technology Unit to Washington D.C, where they will stay from July 14th to the 20th, however the actual competition runs from July 16th to the 18th.
Dr. Ricardo Neil, head of the CFBC TVEMS Information Technology Unit, spoke to WINNFM about the First Global Robotics Challenge.
“We are scheduled to leave the fourteenth and arrive on the twentieth, during that time we’ll be competing in various events such as forming alliances with other countries and also to do independent events so that’s the basis of the competition. We do not have all the information as in what will take place for day one, day two, day three, day four, what we know is that we are going to form an alliance so you have six nations that will compete against another six so for the Caribbean, I believe that we are going to be together, and we will be forming an alliance with them [other Caribbean nations] along with some of the other Americas countries to make six and we are going to go against another six and so that’s what the competition is going to be so even though it is an alliance we still have points given to each country but overall the points will be given to the alliance. Also we want to highlight that the project is funded by the Ministry of Education, in particular, P.S Hodge, for being instrumental in actually affording us this opportunity.”
Jermelia Henry, spokesperson of the robotics group and co-designer of the robot, explained the work the students put in to the project.
“We’ve been working on this project for four months, we started in March we’re now in July, so this has been taking up our time. We’ve been here day and night from morning to the next morning working on the project, we’ve been through about eight designs already so I think we found the most efficient one now and we’re really excited, we’re a bunch of excited students. We have three members on the team, we have Zhavier Shaw who is the programmer amongst us, we have Jervik Lapsley, he’s the head builder, he contributed to the hardware of the robot, and I, Jermelia Henry, also contributed with the hardware portion of it, and I will also be the spokesperson for when we head to the competition.”
Dr. Neil said that St. Kitts and Nevis’ participation in a global robotics competition shows the potential of youth in the Federation.
“Well my goal for the program is for students to actually be able to fashion their own future, not just to depend on the old idea on leaving school, go and work for the bank, go and cash somewhere, or just become a director but they are able to design, to create something, to solve some problem within their environment and that is why we like the robotics program. Once you have that kind of thinking, once we are able to fashion that kind of thinking, then young people will become more motivated, they will be more focused, they would have less time to get themselves in trouble, because now they are thinking independently, they are thinking about problem-solving, in that fashion, in that regard.”
FIRST Global’s International Robotics Challenge is organized to ignite a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) among youths across the world, with the goal of increasing their knowledge in these areas so they can become the next generation of scientific leaders who will work together to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.