Another successful STEM Summer Camp for BETA!

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Another successful camp is in the books for the Bahamas Engineering and Technology Advancement ( BETA ) team this past summer. After 2 years of virtual camps, BETA camp was able to return to in person programming, thanks to the University of the Bahamas.

“At UB, we believe that in order to create a more inclusive and quality education for our students, it is important for us to engage with our communities and offer opportunities for collaborative experiences that serve the needs of our country.” says Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Maria Woodside-Oriakhi. “I thoroughly enjoyed assisting the organizers and administrators of BETA Camp with identifying suitable classrooms and laboratory spaces as well as authorizing access to the University’s high-speed network for the duration of the camp.”

For 2 weeks in July, over 55 Bahamian students from across the country in grades 7-9 were invited to the UB campus to learn about various fields in engineering and technology. Thesestudents were taught by Bahamian professionals working in their fields. Local businesses sponsored their employees’ time to volunteer for this important initiative. Nick Dean, Principal of Integrated Building Services, Ltd. comments on why IBS supports their engineers in volunteering. “One of our Civil Engineers, Deshinka Bostwick, has been a dedicated member of the BETA team since 2018. BETA Camp aligns closely with IBS’ core values and our dedication to promoting an interest in engineering and the applied sciences in the youth and in particular young females. The IBS Team will continue to support these efforts and welcome any opportunities to participate in future events.”

This year, in addition to learning about civil engineering, students also had the option to learn electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, software engineering, biomedical engineering, and aerospace engineering, with the introduction of a new discipline this year, data science. This focus on emerging technologies aligned with the platinum sponsor for the camp, FTX, and long time bronze sponsor Cloud Carib. “Part of our mandate is to help create and mold the next generation of tech industry professionals and we take that responsibility very seriously,” explained Cloud Carib Founder and Chief Technology Officer Stelios Xeroudakis. “We know students benefit from an opportunity to spend time with mentors in the STEM fields and we want to continue being a part of these incredible initiatives.”

The camp’s focus on the other STEM disciplines like chemical and mechanical engineering, appealed more strongly with long time camp supporter, Sun Oil, an integrated energy supplier and Shell Licensee. “Sun Oil Limited remains committed to fueling growth for people through our investment in young people and the communities that we serve. As technology continues to develop and shape the world we live in, we recognize this as an essential educational pillar and area of focus for youth investment.” says Fabian Fernander. “We care about our community and recognize the importance of supporting the development of our future leaders.”

Another long time supporter of the BETA Camp, URCA, commented on the inclusivity of the camp, with a focus on bringing young girls as students from the family islands.

“The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) has been a supporter of the BETA Camp since its inception and considers the mission of the camp to strengthen STEM education across the nation critical to our country’s continued advancement. As the regulator for electronic communications, we support STEM programmes like BETA Camp that assist in educating young people and encouraging them to enter the STEM field.” says Arnette Ingraham, Corporate and Consumer Relations Manager at URCA. “We are particularly impressed that the camp continues to attract not only young minds in New Providence but in the Family Islands as
well. In the last three years, we have seen the rapid growth of digital societies and despite our archipelagic make-up, it is important that none of our students are left behind and have an equal opportunity to succeed.”

In addition to learning in their technical disciplines, campers also had the opportunity to experience field trips. Camp sponsor New Providence Ecology Park (NPEP) showcased the science and engineering of waste management with a tour of their eco-friendly site. Duhiza
Smith, Corporate Secretary commented that NPEP is committed to “empowering students to become the change-makers of tomorrow.”

Meanwhile camp sponsor Aliv, showed there is more than just software engineering required to keep their data center the top in the country, showcasing the electrical and civil engineering aspects at their site on a BETA camp field trip.

“Overall I can see the need and desire for this camp, the kids were engaged and the environment was positive, there will definitely be long- term benefits that the kids will take away from this camp.” says Director of Engineering at Aliv, Lauren Campbell.

The camp culminated in a final design project competition, where students worked in interdisciplinary teams to design a solution on the theme of Bahamas 2050. The closing ceremony was hosted at the recently launched tech co-working space Cypto Isle. “It was a pleasure hosting the BETA Camp closing ceremony. The organization’s goal of increasing the awareness and exposure of STEM subjects to young Bahamians strongly aligns with Crypto Isle’s commitment to stimulating economic and cultural growth through new technologies like
blockchain and cryptocurrency,” shared Tevin Bannister, Crypto Isle Community Manager.

“Crypto Isle is a hub where creators from all industries can connect, network, and build, and we hope to grow our relationship with BETA Camp as they amplify STEM in the nation.”

The BETA team is excited about the renewed momentum of this year’s camp and is planning for more programming to impact our nation’s youth. “After 2 years of virtual programming, it was wonderful to return to in-person programming alongside our various corporate and community partners.” says BETA VP D’Andre Wilson-Ihejirika. As we expand our programming we look forward to continuing to work alongside our partners and welcome opportunities to work alongside companies and organizations across the country.”

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