Dominica: The Dominica State College introduced their student Janice Corbette. She was awarded the John and Dorothy Herzog Award, the highest distinction in the SPISE Program.
Read about her experience and help us celebrate one of our own!
“Hello, my name is Janice Corbette, and I am an incoming second-year student at The Dominica State College majoring in Chemistry and Biology. This summer, I completed the five-week intensive Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) program held virtually this year due to COVID-19. SPISE is an intensive five-week summer program for Caribbean high-school students region-wide, aged 16-18 years, who are interested in Science fields such as Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and interested in studying and exploring careers in these disciplines. SPISE is a clone of the well-known MITES program at MIT. SPISE’s short-term goal is to address the low numbers of Caribbean students pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering and to hone the talents of these students in the region. This program’s long-term goal is to help diversify the region’s economies and significantly improve the standard of living for the people by revitalizing more technology-based entrepreneurship in the region.
Admission to SPISE is based on academic transcripts, lecturers’ references, and four essays on required topics. I luckily got admission into the program along with fourteen other students in the region, including five fellow Dominicans. In SPISE, I was pushed immensely by the rigour and pace of the courses, which comprised Calculus, Physics, Biochemistry, Electronics, Computer Programming, and Entrepreneurship – all of which were at university level difficulty. Collaboration and teamwork among students were emphasized throughout the five weeks, be it on the weekly problem sets or the final presentations in front of an audience of over sixty attendees. The nights were gruelling as 1:00 am became the new 8:00 pm for me. I was thoroughly challenged during those five weeks with five hours of homework every night and new course material. However, when the program came to a close on Saturday 27th of August, I was able to reap the true benefits-improved problem-solving skills and new knowledge of Biochemistry, Calculus, and much more at the graduation ceremony when I was awarded numerous prizes over the six courses and bestowed the highest distinction in the SPISE Program; the John & Dorothy Herzog Award given to the model female and male SPISE students who demonstrated high overall academic performance in all courses and projects, showed leadership in activities and assignments and assisted classmates in gaining mastery of the material. Finally, my hard work and efforts paid off as I was this year’s SPISE 2022 Top Female Performer.
It was not easy in the slightest. I was guaranteed a challenge, and a challenge I did get 24/7 from Sunday to Saturday. The calibre of the instructors and their network had me, at times, feeling as if this was beyond my capabilities, but with the amazing support from my teaching assistants, instructors, and SPISE friends, as well as my parents, I was able to keep persevering through the five weeks and reap the fruits of my labour. Looking back on SPISE mere days after completion, I realized that I left with greater knowledge, work ethic, network opportunities, and amazing friendships with other like-minded individuals my age in the region. These friendships are genuine and were forged during those long-nights-turn-morning. One of my favourite parts of SPISE was not only the building of my very own electromagnetic levitator involving dual magnetic fields but also the people I met and was able to learn from, be it cultural differences, tastes in music, or future aspirations. SPISE is an experience that I will never forget and will forever be grateful for, as I will consider it as a stepping stone in achieving my goals and aspirations, including someday enriching the region in ways that have never been seen before. I would encourage anyone interested in STEM disciplines to give SPISE a try; it will definitely pay off in the end,” said Janice Corbette.