STEM Guyana seeking to build national robotics programme

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STEM Guyana is seeking to build a national robotics programme to develop talent in young people, according to its founder, Karen Abrams.

At a reception held at State House Wednesday to honour the STEM Guyana team that won the Albert Einstein Gold Medal for Excellence in Dubai last weekend, Abrams said that the team continues to look for talent in every community.

She believes that talent is equally distributed, opportunity, however, is not.

“What we are building is a national programme, we are looking for talent everywhere, we are looking for talent in rich communities, poor communities or ethnically diverse communities…wherever the talent lies we are interested in finding them and enriching them,” Abrams said.

The reception was hosted by First Lady Mrs Sandra Granger. The STEM team in Dubai included seven young Guyanese, two of whom were mentors and five were students.

The team competed in the First Global Robotics Competition. This event was held in Dubai from October 24-27.

First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger, Minister of State Dawn Hastings-Williams, Minister of Public Telecommunications Cathy Hughes, Minister of Education Nicolette Henry and with members of the STEM Guyana team. (Department of Public Information Photo)

“Last week in Dubai Guyanese talent met opportunity and our young people prevailed. The children of Guyana overcame many stressful road blocks and displayed remarkable resilience, that they earn the Gold Albert Einstein, the most prestigious award,” Abrams said.

Out of 195 countries, Guyana placed 39 and is part of the top 25% of the countries that participated.

The First Lady noted that the Albert Einstein Gold Medal for Excellence is awarded to the team with the best performing robot, great game strategy and exemplary team work and also the team that earned role model status throughout the competition.

“What was shown was the resilience and the flexibility and the stamina of our young people. Our team who went to Dubai was drawn from Enmore, Hague, Georgteown and Timehri and they were supported by an extended team in Guyana and in the diaspora,” the First Lady said.

Guyana participated for the first time in the First Global Robotics Olympics in 2017 held in Washington DC and placed 10th.

The country again participated in the First Global Robotics Olympics in Mexico last year, but did not place.

Robotics was first introduced in Guyana in August, 2016 by Abrams. Since then a number of robotic clubs and STEM programmes have been implemented across the country.

Arrianna Mahase receives her plaque and tablet from Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry. (Department of Public Information Photo)

Meanwhile, one of the mentors, Arrianna Mahase who participated in all three international robotics competition, said she has seen growth over the years in robotics.

“Some of the challenges we faced this year it started in Guyana, we didn’t get to ship the robot; the airline did not want to ship it.”

Arrianna explained while other teams got to fix their robots in Dubai and practice with it, Team Guyana was waiting for their robot to arrive.

“Our robot came in like 1:30 the morning of competition, we had to be there early building because parts of the robot got damaged in shipping,” she said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Public Telecommunications Cathy Hughes presented each team member with an electronic tablet and a plaque.

Also in attendance at the reception were Minister of State Dawn Hastings Williams, Minister of Education Nicolette Henry and representatives from sponsors including Tullow Oil Company.

Other STEM Guyana team members include Sahief Singh, Shamar Stewart, Joshua Reece, Maryam Bacchus and Daniel Eastman.

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