The Jamaican Robotics team received a top prize at the Robotics Olympics in Singapore, taking home the Katherine Johnson Award for Engineering Documentation. The award is presented to the team that can best demonstrate the path it took to build its robot. The Robotics Olympics are a yearly event that attract participation from some 160 countries worldwide. The theme of the 2023 Robotic Olympics highlighted “Hydrogen-based Energy Technologies.”
Named for ‘the Human Computer”
The award is named in honor of African American mathematician Katherine Johnson who had been called “the human computer” when she worked to calculate the aeronautics that helped in returning astronauts John Glen and Alan Shepard back to Earth from a voyage into space.
Jamaica’s Team Members
The captain of the Jamaican Robotics Team was Johnathan Smith of Campion College. Members included
Shawn-Michael Ferguson, also of Campion College; Duncan Stanley from Wolmer’s Boys’ School; Terrance Grant from Glenmuir High School; Kimmi Chang of Hillel Academy; and Taeija-Lee Hall-Watts from The American International School in Kingston (AISK). Accompanying the team were two coaches and two chaperones.
UJAA Sponsored Team Since 2017
The Union of Jamaica Alumni Associations (UJAA), a nonprofit organization, has been the chief sponsor of the team since its participation in the FIRST Global Challenge (FGC) event in 2017. According to the UJAA, the robotics program offers students a unique opportunity to engage with other students from around the world, display their skills, and encourage them to be proud ambassadors for Jamaica on the international stage. UJAA president Donovan Wilson noted that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education represents the future and that the robotics competition provides a way to expose Jamaican students to modern technological developments. He emphasized that it is important for Jamaica’s students to be exposed to robotics if they want to succeed in the future.
Photo – Facebook of UJAA, USA Inc.