In years past, becoming a teenager in the Cayman Islands meant one thing to a young male: he would go to sea. Today, time away at sea for male teenagers is most likely a short jaunt to Rum Point across the North Sound.
The success of last year’s Mi Academy Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering camp, which is an initiative of Dart’s Minds Inspired programme, shows that young males — and some females — are still interested in connecting to the sea in meaningful ways.
For the second year, 15 students ages 13-15 will get the chance to become true naval architects and marine engineers at the one-week camp, held July 16-21, 2018. Due to limited space, Mi Academy campers must apply before being selected to participate.
The camp is produced in partnership with Webb Institute, an undergraduate college in New York dedicated exclusively to nautical engineering education. A select number of Webb students will once again travel to Grand Cayman to assist with the camp under the guidance of their dean, Matthew Werner.
The camp is split between classroom instruction and practical applications in the water. By the end of the camp, students are able to identify engineering concepts and apply them to a physical structure. Each day ends with a feedback session with students. Learning is the key goal, says Minds Inspired Programme Manager Glenda McTaggart.
“The most amazing thing I have found with conducting these camps is that whether their vessels float or sink, the students are able to articulate what they learned with confidence and ease,” she says.
Since its inception, the mission of Minds Inspired is to encourage more students to study STEM — science, engineering, technology and mathematics — subjects and ultimately choose STEM careers. The global demand for such careers is rapidly increasing, especially in the naval architecture and marine engineering fields.
Beyond its rich maritime heritage, the Cayman Islands is home to a dynamic shipping industry through the Cayman Maritime & Aviation Services Park, the Special Economic Zone that is part of Cayman Enterprise City. Maritime service providers and international shipping companies are able to set up in a Special Economic Zone and enjoy the same benefits as any other Cayman Islands-based company.
“Ships and marine platforms play critical roles in the world’s economic system,” says Werner. “Future naval architects, marine engineers, and ship designers will be required to develop the systems and technologies that will enable the further advancement of the global economy.”
Potential Mi Academy Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering campers should apply as soon as possible to secure their spaces. Applications are on the Minds Inspired website www.mindsinspired.ky.