The Clarence Fitzroy Brown College of Information Technology held a capstone networking event July 26 to connect the college with local business leaders in St. Kitts. The event focused on allowing students to broadcast their knowledge on information technologies in order for local business around St. Kitts and Nevis to understand the impact these students can have on their workforce.
The capstone featured students’ work on computer repair, drones, robotics and web page design. The Division of Technical Vocational Education & Management Studies, fresh off of being the first robotics program from St. Kitts & Nevis to compete on an international level, carried that momentum forward into the capstone presentations. Students at the college developed an A.I. algorithm that was used as announcer of the event, broadcasting their skills in all facets of the networking showcase.
“It’s about what the students had to bring for the private sector,” said Dr. Ricardo Neil, a lecturer at CFBC. “Every year we develop something new, so this year we had the program hosted by using an artificial intelligence program, so opposed to having someone host it, we had a software that actually would run the presentations and call on people to come up and present. The private sector was taken aback by that.”
Neil explained that he was unaware of any other A.I. program like this one in the Caribbean, and it was only the beginning of the works the students had to offer. A “smart podium” was broadcast, which had its own monitor installed on the face of the podium, allowing speakers to examine their work at any time in the presentation. The drone program showed off drones they had designed and built. The drones flew around the room taking photographs of the event. Programmers and web designers broadcast examples of web pages they had built and a C++ program that could function as an ATM.
The robot that had pushed the robotics team into 36th place internationally was also in attendance and lifted itself onto a table; other robots designed by the department moved themselves across the room.
“Most of what we have developed is at the prototype stage, and we are discussing to see how the chamber of commerce can assist us in moving from a prototype to a marketable product,” Neil said. “We find that there is a gap between the private sector and the college and we wanted to tighten that gap, to make sure that students met with the private sector and [got] a little heads up on what they can do for certain organizations.”
Neil also explained that if enough time and effort is invested into the department, students would not have to wait until they enter the workforce to create products that are marketable.
“One of the main things that we need is to have the right people around us, people who share the same vision and understand that we can’t be importing everything,” Neil said. “Once we have the right people around us who will support us in terms of having the resources to move things out of the prototyping stage, I’m sure the whole economy of St. Kitts and Nevis would turn around. If you look at it around the world, science and technology is what drives most of the world’s economy. We need [people] around us will actually support us, people who will push the program.”
Events like this one, which exemplify the incredible work the youth can do if given the right tools and education, are sure to go a long way toward accomplishing Neil’s goals of a home grown technology infrastructure.