Dart Minds Inspired programme is synonymous with STEM in the Cayman Islands and is grounded in the Dart family’s legacy of supporting education and a longstanding belief that STEM subjects are essential for success in and beyond the classroom.

In 2018 Dart broadened the scope of Minds Inspired to include teachers – the hardworking individuals who, although behind the scenes, are often responsible for a student’s love of, and success in, school. The Award for Excellence in Teaching STEM was introduced, with a goal of supporting and encouraging the growth of STEM in Cayman by rewarding excellence in teaching STEM, and providing school grants to purchase STEM related resources.

The Cayman Islands National Robotics team, made up of 11 students representing seven schools, competed in the FIRST Global robotics challenge in Dubai, United Arab Emirates 24 through 27 October. After completing nine matches over three days, the team finished 109 out of 190 teams with a total of four wins and five losses. In addition to their excellent work on the field, they also received two awards recognising their commitment to robotics through their preparation in the lead up to Dubai.

The future is now and it involves solar-powered bugs. That was just one element of the eighth international STEM conference held last month at the University College of the Cayman Islands.

The three-day conference, which featured a local and international line-up of speakers, involved presentations and events focused on the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That's where the solar bugs came in.

Held in May, the inaugural Dart Minds Inspired Awards for Excellence in Teaching STEM recognised Von Ryan Abrantes of St. Ignatius Catholic School and Lune Vermeire, previously of Island Montessori, for their outstanding work in teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics – collectively known as STEM.

As part of their awards, Abrantes and Vermeire each received a grant to attend a STEM related professional development course of their choice, a US$3,000 grant for their schools to enhance their STEM educational resources, and a cash award of US$1,000.

As the Cayman Islands National Robotics Team prepares to compete in the FIRST Global Challenge, the students visited the offices of Aureum Re, Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) and Health City Cayman Islands to learn firsthand about STEM careers available locally.

In October 2019, 11 students will make the journey of a lifetime to compete in the FIRST Global Challenge as the Cayman Islands National Robotics Team.