Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stephen Farry has arranged for eight further education students from Northern Ireland to spend two weeks at a prestigious Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) institute in America this summer.
The students - including Jonathan Mitchell, NRC, from Ballymoney - will take part in the ‘FRONTIERS’ programme at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts in July.
WPI is a private, high class STEM university primarily devoted to the instruction and research of technical arts and applied sciences. They were selected following participation in the annual Colleges NI ‘Business and Education through Skills and Training’, or ‘BEST Awards’. The ‘BEST Awards’ celebrate the creative and innovative talent within Northern Ireland’s six regional colleges.
The Minister said: “Following a visit to Belfast by an American delegation in January this year, led by the US Department of State, I announced that I would strive to build partnerships and avail of opportunities with our counterparts in the US. This is the beginning of this process.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for these students and we hope that this will be the beginning of a long lasting relationship with Worcester Polytechnic Institute and other further and higher educational establishments in the Massachusetts area. The knowledge and experience that these eight young people can bring back home will be invaluable in their STEM studies and careers in Northern Ireland.”
The focus of the ‘FRONTIERS’ programme is on students learning current laboratory techniques and exploring unsolved problems across a wide spectrum of engineering, mathematics, science and robotics disciplines. Four of the local students attending will also take part in the ‘Women’s Leadership Academy’ strand of the programme.
The eight students, who are all from different parts of Northern Ireland, were selected for The Awards were created to support students in their project based learning throughout the year and showcase entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation in STEM across the further education sector.