Team Sorteria, comprised of Kendal Isaacs, Jaylaughn Rutherford, Vania Deal, Joshua Adderley and Denereus Beneby, were the grand prize winners at Hack Bahamas 2019 and walked away with the $1,000 top prize for their “smart cup” invention during the camp, that focused on developing technology-based start-up social projects.
The addition of two new tracks for students in data science and cyber-forensics made for an exciting Hack Bahamas 2019.
With a focus on developing a technology-based start-ups, the camp gave nearly 100 participants the opportunity to apply their knowledge to an issue of social impact within The Bahamas and compete for a cash prize.
The sixth edition of the camp was open to public and private school students in grades nine through 12, who experienced five days of hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) instruction and challenged Bahamian youth to create and pitch their startups.
The camp ran August 13-16, and culminated with an awards ceremony on Saturday, August 17.
Since its inception six years ago, hundreds of students throughout the Caribbean have benefitted from programs designed and executed by STEMBoard and its partners.
Founded by Bahamian-American and former NASA aerospace engineer Aisha Bowe, students who have participated in Hack are pursuing degrees in STEM at prestigious and varied universities around the country including Georgia Tech, Purdue University and Morehouse College.
Attendees credited the STEMBoard team for influencing them to pursue careers in STEM and entrepreneurship and broadening their vision of what is possible. A nod to the quality of instruction provided, past keynote speakers have included Barrington Irving, the first Jamaican and the first black man to fly around the world solo, as well as NASA astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., the first African-American to walk in space.
STEMBoard is a technology company that creates smart systems and software solutions for U.S. federal and large-scale private sector clients. The team has more than 20 years’ experience in science, technology, engineering and math education and outreach. Through demonstration-based technical curricula for K-12 and college students, the STEMBoard engineering team designs and delivers activities that mirror real-world challenges.
Bowe described Hack as an incredible opportunity for Bahamian youth.
“We mix public and private school kids together from multiple islands and we expose them to a technology curriculum that challenges them to create startups that in some way will elevate and affect the Bahamian life. It’s been incredible to watch what the students have continued to do after they’ve graduated, in addition to those that have heard about the camp,” she told The Nassau Guardian in a previous interview.
“One of the things that’s really important for me is for students to understand that they can be entrepreneurs and technologists now. I’m not saying don’t go get that four-year degree, but you can build and generate revenue through a company that you own now. And the principles that we levered, which are really basic, help them as entrepreneurs to come up with ideas. They vet the ideas and then they compete.”
The camp does not require students to have any interest in engineering or science as a prerequisite to participate.
Hack is open to students from any island as long as they can secure accommodation on New Providence. Campers are provided with all the materials they need, as well as lunch.