Sunday 21 April, 2019

17-year-old named Central Bank of Barbados' 2017 SPISE Scholar

Matthew Clarke, the 2017 SPISE Scholar.

Matthew Clarke, the 2017 SPISE Scholar.

A 17-year-old student of Queen's College has been named as the Central Bank of Barbados’ 2017 scholar for the Students’ Programme for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE.

He is Matthew Clarke, who sees his upcoming participation in the programme as a major step in his journey in pursuing a career in electrical engineering.

He revealed what he hopes to accomplish during the four-week residential programme, which will take place at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus from July 15 to August 13.

“I am looking forward to getting my introduction to robotics because I have not had any practical experience with it. It’s also a great opportunity for me to really get hands-on experience with the specific fields.”

Clarke has always had an aptitude for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, something that seems to run in his family: his father is an electrical engineer while his mother is a food scientist. His brother and sister, both a year older than he is, will be studying engineering in Canada in the next academic year.

Like his siblings, he intends to pursue higher education overseas, although for him, the ideal school would be Brown University. He believes that SPISE could improve his chances of being accepted there.

“SPISE is a prestigious programme, and I hope that the detailed and intense learning experience in the required subject areas will go a long way into helping me get into a very good university.”

After thanking the Central Bank for sponsoring his time at SPISE, Clarke encouraged the business sector to offer more opportunities for students to develop their skills. “People that are involved in STEM are problem solvers and the best thing to have in any company, institution or household is a problem solver. So really and truly, from that perspective, it should be a no-brainer to invest in the future of those that are passionate about it.”

SPISE, an initiative of the Caribbean Science Foundation, is based on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) programme. Prominent Barbadian physicist, Professor Cardinal Warde, is the Faculty Director for both programmes.

In order to be accepted to SPISE, applicants must submit recommendations from three teachers, provide their academic transcripts for the past three years, and write four essays, including one that asks them to identify how STEM can help solve a significant problem facing the Caribbean.

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