by Curlan Campbell
- GrenSTEAM 2020/2021 Student Project Competition launched
- Competition open to Form 4 and 5 students and year 1 and 2 TAMCC students
- Application deadline 10 October
Inspiring students to solve tomorrow’s problems today through the use of Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture and Mathematics (STEAM), is the driving force behind the launch of the GrenSTEAM 2020/2021 Student Project Competition that seeks to bridge the disconnect between skills acquired by students through formal education and what the job market requires.
Grenada STEAM, a youth-led organisation dedicated to youth education and professional development, has taken on the task of inspiring and encouraging students to consider careers fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture and Mathematics.
The organisation launched the competition to motivate students to think critically to find solutions to real-life problems, and to learn how to collaborate effectively with their peers on projects to improve Grenadian society. It will challenge students to research and develop projects in Technology in Public Health, Public Space Redevelopment, Marine Protection and Regeneration and Improving Exportability of Grenada’s Produce.
According to the rules of the competition, students are to work in teams of 3-6 members. Each group will select one of the 4 project challenges and, with the guidance of a team of GrenSTEAM mentors, embark on deep research of multiple solutions. Teams will attend 4 virtual workshops and participate in regular mentorship sessions to present their work at various stages of the project and gain feedback for advancement. Each team will submit a written report and give a visual/oral presentation to a mixed jury at the end of the project timeline. A successful project will merge the STEAM fields in innovative ways to address one of the given prompts.
The competition is open to Form 4 and 5 students and year 1 and 2 students at TA Marryshow Community College (TAMCC). The application deadline has been extended to 10 October 2020.
“We have not set a cap on applications, but we expect an average of 6 teams, with 6 members each, so at least 36 applications. Students can sign up as individuals and place in groups based on their preference for a particular project prompt and grade level or students can sign up as pre-formed groups in which case, only the team leader needs to fill out an application,” said Sydney Robertson, Marketing Director of GrenSTEAM.
In an attempt to narrow the educational gap by enhancing students proficiency in STEAM subjects, GrenSTEAM has also launched a new podcast to help disseminate information that places emphasis on the need for students to consider other unconventional careers in STEAM fields.
“We aim to achieve these goals by exposing Grenadian youth to unconventional careers in the STEAM fields, encourage innovative and entrepreneurial thinking and provide mentorship. One way we have started exposing youth to unconventional careers is through our new podcast – Pathways by Grenadian STEAM which can be found on these streaming platforms. There, we have conversations with Grenadians and West Indians, living at home and abroad who are currently working in the STEAM fields. We discuss their journeys to get where they are, challenges they faced and advice that they have for generations to follow. In the past, we have provided mentorship programs and it is definitely something we will do again. Our project competition is aimed at encouraging innovative and entrepreneurial thinking,” said Robertson.
Through the podcast, Robertson said the organisation will be able to connect with other Grenadian professionals who are currently working at top tech industries.
“In this podcast we speak with Grenadians and other West Indians who are practising within the realm of the STEAM disciplines. The goal is to have some real conversations with our guests about how they got where they are and setbacks they’ve had encounter along the way. We hope that these conversations will help students see that someone like them can get far in STEAM. Representation matters that’s why we chose to keep guests local and regional. We have Grenadians working as engineers at Tesla or architects in Morocco or even as tech entrepreneurs right at home. We want students to see that the possibilities are endless.”
Anyone who has applied to participate will be provided with a group mentor for the duration of the competition. Mentors will provide guidance throughout the competition and can be contacted via WhatsApp, email, Skype, or Zoom. Most of the mentors have completed Bachelor’s degrees in STEAM fields with some currently pursuing Masters and PhDs. In the end, the various projects submitted will be reviewed and graded by a panel of judges appointed by the Grenadian STEAM Project Competition Committee, who will select the winning project.
“We hope that these projects researched by the students don’t die with the end of the competition. We want to see students take their ideas to the next level through implementation. At the moment, we do not have the capacity to provide financial assistance towards implementation but we are working on providing continued mentorship to students and securing corporate partners that would make such an initiative possible,” Robertson said.
The podcast called “Pathways by Grenadian STEAM” is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Stitcher, Radio Public, Tune in, Overcast, Castro, Anchor and Pocket Casts.
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