Jamaican student makes NASA history
A delegation of six students and one chaperone represented Jamaica at the 10th Annual Caribbean Youth Science Forum (CYSF) in Trinidad during the period August 7th to 14th, 2011. The Scientific Research Council (SRC) as the national focal point for CYSF, was responsible for the selection of participants to this Annual forum. Airline fare for the Jamaican delegation was fully covered by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce. The Jamaican team was comprised of: Sherine Williams (Clarendon College); Paula-Marie Ivey (Westwood High School); Zahra Henry (St. Andrew High School); Herona Thompson (Immaculate Conception High); Brandon Burke (Munro College) and Khamal Clayton (Cornwall College). The students were the national finalists of SRC’s Annual Schools’ Science & Technology Oratorical Competition 2010. Ms. Kerry-Ann Curtis of the Scientific Research Council travelled with the students as chaperone.
The Caribbean Youth Science Forum (CYSF) is designed to encourage senior high school students to pursue careers in Science, Technology and Innovation via field trips, social and cultural activities, lectures, discussions, and interaction with scientists. Jamaica was one of five Caribbean islands represented at the forum, and there were over 250 students in attendance.
On Monday, August 8, 2011, Jamaica made history, but participating in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Amateur Radio in International Space Station (ARISS) programme. A total of 12 participants were selected to each ask a question of Satoshi Furukawa, a Japanese Astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Khamal Clayton represented Jamaica, and asked the question “Do you believe that we will find life forms on other planets within our lifetime?” Other questions posed by selected participants included: “What are the impacts of space travel (ascent, orbit and descent) on the human body?”, “Is the debris from space harmful to our marine environment when dumped into oceans?”, and “What has been your most rewarding experience being on the ISS?”
Prior to the interaction with astronauts, all participants were engaged in a lecture and discussion with Ms. Camille Wardrop Alleyne, Assistant Programme Scientist at the Johnson Space Centre, in Houston, Texas, USA. Ms. Alleyne is the first Caribbean female astronaut to work on the ISS, and through her efforts, the island nations of Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Grenada and St. Lucia have now been added to the list of countries participating in the ARISS programme.