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Students reap rich experiences from Huawei’s Seeds for the Future | News

After taking part in a four-day cultural exchange in Panama, 10 Jamaican tertiary students are dubbing the Huawei Seeds for the Future programme as the experience of a lifetime.

The group, which consisted of students studying in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – fields at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, and the University of Technology, Jamaica, departed the island thinking they would just be getting tips to better themselves in information and technology communications technology (ICT). However, the programme not only equipped them with knowledge to bolster their technical skills but to improve their lives holistically.

First launched in 2008, the Seeds for the Future programme is a global corporate social responsibility initiative aimed at developing the ICT talent of the region while bridging communication and cultures. Resuming physically for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, the trip was Huawei’s reward to the top students in online workshops last year.

The Jamaicans joined students from Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and El Salvador, engaging in workshops around storytelling, time-management technology and the environment, technology and the creative space, and entrepreneurship and leadership as they explored Panama City.

Brianna Roper, a 20-year-old computer science major at the UWI, Mona, said the programme was exceptional.

“This has been a phenomenal experience and I’m so grateful to be here,” she told The Gleaner. “At first, I was somewhat hesitant to apply because I thought I might not get it, but being here, I couldn’t be more thankful. It’s been so many new experiences and I’m intent on implementing everything I’ve learned here into my life going forward.”

Roper emerged the top female performer among the 17 participants.

Echoing Roper’s sentiments, Janielle McKoy, a 21-year-old student of medical physics at UWI, Mona, said: “It really has been very impactful. I found the sessions very informative and just the whole the group of persons we’re working with. … It’s very much a diverse group; we’re talking to persons from Trinidad, Suriname, El Salvador! It was a whole group with different personalities and very brilliant students, so having the opportunity to work with them and just interacting and the values they would have imparted on me, it was really special experience.”

While on the exchange, the students engaged with technology experts from Technologico de Monterrey, a private university based in Mexico.

According to Justin Newell, a third-year actuarial science student at the UWI, Mona, the lessons taken from this experience will chart a clearer path for him after completing his degree.

“The online programme itself, the weeklong programme. I learned so many things about 5G, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and as someone who has been in the field of actuarial science, I’ve done computer science as well. It also helped me to strengthen my areas in coding and computing and it helped me to understand about artificial intelligence,” he said.

“It’s almost like I know my way forward after graduation now,” Newell added.

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