Tue | Sep 26, 2017

CMI student has big plans for St Thomas

Published:Thursday | April 21, 2016 | 4:00 AMShanna Monteith
Vashawn Burnett
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MORANT BAY, St Thomas:

Vashawn Burnett, native of Spring Garden, St Thomas is set to graduate from the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) this November and his tenure there will not go unnoticed.

Completing his bachelor's of science degree in industrial engineering, Burnett told Rural Xpress that he has never failed a course nor has his GPA fallen below a 3.

The past student of Morant Bay High School is lauded for his academic performances, but what stands out for him are his exceptional leadership qualities and hands-on approaches.

"I was awarded by the Nutrition Products Limited for my outstanding performance in the Caribbean Maritime Engineering Internship in 2014. There I worked as an assistant to the safety and maintenance officer. I helped to supervise the team and I created safety manuals and emergency handbooks. I also conducted training sessions and created training manuals," he said.

Burnett's superb performance afforded him the ability to set up a link between the CMI and Nutrition Products Limited so that more interns will be able to participate in the programme he was a part of.

Securing his spot in the institution's history book, the 22-year-old now stands as the founding president of the school's Society of Industrial Engineer and also founding president of the CMI Jamaica Institute of Engineer Chapter which, he says, is scheduled to be launched later this month.

"During my tenure as president (of Society of Industrial Engineer), my team and I set out to make a mark by moving engineering to the top of the food chain in CMI and Jamaica. As such, we planned an in house drone competition in which each group had to design and build a drone from scratch and programme it to use a microcontroller. No pre-assembled parts were accepted," Burnett told Rural Xpress.

That was a success as one of the drones was featured on Smile Jamaica last week Monday. We also partnered with the school's students' union to host an engineering conference which was also a success. Representatives of the International Electrical and Electronic Engineers was at the conference and was pleased with our work so we met with them and we are now working with them to develop a chapter. The launch of this chapter will be announced at a later date.

I wanted to take it to a next level so we wrote to Jamaica Institute of Engineers to start a chapter over by CMI. We met with them and now we are in the process of launching our chapter on the 25th of April," he confirmed.

In addition to his many moves, Burnett revealed that he also offers tutoring for other engineers within the clubs.

When asked about how he plans on improving his parish with his newly acquired skills, Burnett told Rural Xpress that he wishes to start with his community.

"I realise that majority of the people there never finished high school. The guys however, go to a garage to learn a trade. I want to try to set up some classes in the district to help them get some subjects and at least get them certified with a HEART Trust National Training Agency (programme) in auto mechanics so they can further themselves.

As an industrial engineer, they train us to use less and produce more. In St Thomas, we have the least, and farming is the best thing I see going on there. Things and times are changing and I believe St Thomas farmers are behind. They are still stuck in the traditional way of farming and marketing their goods (which is simply sell to higglers for little or nothing). So in some way I want to help to educate and create ways to help farmers in my parish. There is so much I want to do, but I have to just take it little by little," he said.

rural@gleanerjm.com