Dart Minds Inspired has partnered with Aureum Re, Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC), Digicel, and Health City Cayman to bring FIRST robotics programmes to high school students in the Cayman Islands. From left, CUC President & CEO Richard Hew, Health City Cayman Global Sales Manager Kafara Augustine, Aureum RE CEO David Towriss, Digicel CEO Raul Nicholson-Coe, and Dart CEO Mark VanDevelde, are joined by “Kraken”, the robot designed by local students to compete in the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge in Mexico. This year’s FIRST programme will launch with a “Rover Ruckus” themed interschool robotics tournament in May which will act as a prerequisite for nomination to the National Team to represent the Cayman Islands at the 2019 FIRST Global Challenge.

FIRST Robotics Officially Launched in the Cayman Islands

Dart Minds Inspired has partnered with Aureum Re, Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC), Digicel, and Health City Cayman to bring FIRST robotics programmes to high school students in the Cayman Islands.

FIRST, which stands for ‘For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology’, is a US-based non-profit organisation that inspires young people to be leaders in science and technology.

Dart Education Programmes Manager Glenda McTaggart says the decision to introduce FIRST as a Minds Inspired programme was prompted by the experiences of Adrian Phillips-Hernaez (Cayman Prep and High School), Ethan Cronier (St. Ignatius Catholic School) and Joe Allom-Perez (Cayman International School), who represented the Cayman Islands at last year’s FIRST Global Challenge.

“Minds Inspired was invited to participate in the 2018 challenge and, not wanting to miss the opportunity, we quickly selected Adrian, Ethan and Joe based on their grades and their commitment to STEM,” she explains. “After experiencing the incredible learning opportunities provided by the challenge, we knew it was something that all students in the Cayman Islands should have the chance to participate in going forward.”

Themed around the 14 Grand Challenges of Engineering identified by the National Academy of Engineering, the FIRST Global Challenge empowers young people to use STEM to solve global problems like access to clean water and sustainable energy resources.

STEM FOR SUCCESS

Dart CEO Mark VanDevelde explains that nurturing local talent in the STEM subjects is essential to workforce development.

“Our focus on STEM is based on the Dart family’s belief that these subjects are fundamental to building the skills necessary to succeed academically and develop a diverse, resilient workforce,” Mr. VanDevelde says. “It was a logical decision to partner with like-minded, local businesses to bring FIRST Robotics programmes to the Cayman Islands.”

Each of the sponsoring companies is associated with one of the STEM subjects: Health City Cayman represents science, Digicel represents technology, CUC represents engineering, and Aureum Re represents mathematics.

“As Cayman’s economy continues to evolve, the local demand for STEM jobs – and to be more specific for jobs which use robotics and artificial intelligence - will continue to increase. Our organisations share a common goal in ensuring our young people are prepared to fill those roles.”

The 2019 FIRST programme will launch with a “Rover Ruckus” themed interschool robotics tournament in May that will serve as a prerequisite for nomination to the National Team – which will represent the Cayman Islands at the 2019 FIRST Global Challenge.

For more information, visit mindsinspired.ky.   

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