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UWI Notebook: PhD students receive trilateral reconnection programme scholarships

Published:Sunday | January 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The first two recipients of the Trilateral Reconnection Programme Scholarships are Shakeisha Wilson from the Department of Community and Psychiatry, Faculty of Medical Sciences; and Amina Blackwood-Meeks, Institute of Caribbean Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Education. Both are PhD candidates at the UWI, Mona. Shakeisha is currently conducting research on HIV/AIDS, and Amina centres on storytelling as a means of preserving local culture. Both will conduct their research at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa.

The Trilateral Reconnection Programme, under which the scholarships are offered, allows for five students from the UWI, Mona, to attend at the UCT for approximately three months for research and seminar presentations. Two students will also attend Brown University, Rhode Island, on a similar exchange.

The Trilateral Reconnection Project (TRP) is an agreement between the University of The West Indies, the University of Cape Town and Brown University, which calls for student and faculty exchanges and joint research projects between the three universities. The project was initiated by the Centre for Caribbean Thought at the University of the West Indies, Africana Studies Department at Brown University and the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town.

UWI stages first physics workshop in Western Jamaica

What do kicking a football, throwing a basketball and drinking from a water fountain all have in common? The short answer is Physics. The over 120 participants at the first UWI, Mona Physics Workshop series held at the UWI, Mona Western Jamaica Campus, explored various topics covered in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) Units 1 and 2 syllabuses on Friday, January 8. The students, who came from three high schools and one community college in Western Jamaica, were exposed to the theoretic underpinnings of Physics in a fun-filled environment using practical demonstrations, experiments and computer simulations. The workshops covered two topics namely: Projectiles and Operation Amplifiers.

These workshops continued at the UWI, Mona campus in the Department of Physics from January 11-14. The series allowed over 900 sixth form and community college students from 24 schools in the corporate and rural areas to participate in one-day Physics workshops covering specific topics on the CAPE Units 1 and 2 syllabuses.

The Department of Physics in 2007 initiated this outreach activity as a way of responding to gaps in teaching Physics at the sixth form level, owing to insufficient and inappropriate equipment in some high schools to teach particular topics such as Operational Amplifiers. Students also have an opportunity to conduct experiments as part of their school based assessment, an internal component for the CAPE examination, during these workshops.

Additionally, the workshops provide the students with small group interaction with lecturers with greater expertise in Physics, as the Workshops are conducted primarily by a team of UWI lecturers supplemented by graduate students. Coordinator of the Workshop and Lecturer in the Department of Physics, Dr Michael Ponnambalam, says that the workshop helps the students to "taste and see that Physics is fun", and has been a tremendous success since its initiation.