Co-coordinator of the Queen’s College Summer Institute (2019 edition) Shifiera Surujballi briefly addressed the students before overseeing the ‘reflections’ session. She chronicled her vocational journey from the time she graduated secondary school until her current occupation. The QC alumnus drove home the point that passion should be the over-arching theme when pursuing a lifelong career in any given field.
After lunch, during which the students played rousing games of cricket and football, there was a brief mathematics session, then via Skype the students interacted with the Math Institute’s Founding Father himself- Dr. Terrence Blackman. Dr. Blackman- aside from being a QC ‘Old Boy’- dons the hat of Dean, School of Science, Health and Technology Medgar Evers College, CUNY. Dr. Blackman reiterated the importance of STEM in the world of work and expressed his gratitude towards the facilitators of this year’s summer camp.
Finally, the guest-speaker du jour was Ms. Candace Nelson- a software engineer hailing from V75 Inc. The tech whizz shared a few of the requirements of her job, stating that building artificial intelligence applications and information systems are all in a day’s work for a software engineer of her caliber. She also highlighted the importance of problem-solving in her career path and the assistance that a solid mathematical background provides. She stated, “When you think of Math, think: this is going to help me in life.” Nelson further identified the underlying problems plaguing students and their fractured relationship with math. She empathized, “The disconnect between students and Math is that students don’t understand why they do what they do.” She further emphasized the importance of applying academic learning to real-world scenarios. After answering the numerous questions proffered by the students, Ms. Nelson took her leave-no doubt piquing the interest of the budding STEM students.
Written by: Pretha Smith
Photos by: Nathan Chinapen