NIHERST congratulates the @IEEE Trinidad & Tobago on its 10th Anniversary and looks forward to continued collaborations on cutting-edge projects

NIHERST has been a pioneer and trend-setter in non-formal STEM education supporting classroom and life-long learning with its trademark of highly interactive, often entertaining teaching strategies that illustrate science concepts and their application in daily life and technological innovation. A new milestone was achieved this year with its partnership agreement with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the IEEE Trinidad and Tobago Section that provides local students, teachers and the public with access to the educational programs, exhibits and materials of the IEEE. The first fruit of this partnership is the donation of the E-Scientia Exhibit, currently being installed at the National Science Centre in D’Abadie. The exhibit and its accompanying educational programmes will expose learners to the application of engineering and computing to solve problems. Learners will engage in solving challenges posed during a simulated space flight, receiving real-time training on how to address them in terms of energy, monitoring and detection, sensing of the environment, communication, and biomedical measurements, as well as the use of circuit components and devices to implement hardware solutions, an experience that can open young minds to consider future studies and careers in engineering and computing.

The partnership also allowed a cadre of local CAPE and university students to gain basic training in the Arduino open-source electronics platform from 24-26 August 2015. Based on easy-to-use hardware and software, Arduino is affordable, flexible and designed for anyone involved in interactive projects including engineers, teachers, students, artists, designers and techies. NIHERST plans to use Arduino technology to educate and inspire students to invent new products and create solutions to existing community/societal problems. The technology will be incorporated into its hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) camps, clubs, design challenges at the Caribbean Youth Science Forum (CYSF), Community-Centred Design and Innovation (COMDESI) programme, and more.

An exciting new initiative is YOUTHBUILD, a project inspired by the COMDESI programme and the IEEE training workshop on Arduino, executed in partnership with Scoda Serv Limited and the BG Group. This project plans to engage 250 secondary students in creative-thinking, problem-solving, innovation and invention, prototyping, civic engagement and social responsibility. Students and counsellors alike will be drawn together by a shared delight in the excitement of tinkering and creating, utilising technology through experimentation, exploration, problem-solving, and collaboration. These are the very ingredients that make for inspired and passionate STEM learners and practitioners. The project will provide opportunities for experiential and action-learning to address community needs while fostering social networks that allow youth to develop leadership skills and validate their vital contribution to community service through their connection with others. Students will engage with members of various communities, identifying problems and potential solutions to meet their needs.

With a focus on inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists, NIHERST and the IEEE Trinidad and Tobago Section hope to unfold other STEAM programmes on world-changing technologies - from computing and sustainable energy systems to aerospace, communications and robotics.