The Aerospace in the Caribbean (AIC) arm of the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) in the United States will be hosting a free virtual forum to introduce the world of the aerospace industry to students in the region.
“We’re targeting high school children mainly in Jamaica and Trinidad but it’s open to anyone else who has access to it. We’re trying to expose and inspire students to get involved in aerospace,” engineering globalisation project manager for the branch, Felina Chotoo, told Guardian Media.
The forum will feature experts in various fields across the aerospace industry, many of whom were born in the Caribbean.
Chotoo, 26, was born in T&T, is the holder of an Aerospace Engineering degree from the Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, a licensed pilot and is currently working as a flammability certification engineer at Collins Aerospace in the US.
However, she admits the path toward the industry was not as clear-cut as other professions for those in the Caribbean. She explained that she had an enormous task trying to find information on her own to chart her course in the field. This is one of the gaps she said the forum is geared toward closing.
“Back in my day, for me, aerospace was such an abstract term. We heard about it but we never really got into any depth in it, so the purpose of this forum is to make aerospace accessible to students. To distribute the information in an easy-to-understand format to give the students the confidence to explore the industry further. What we’re going to try to do is expose the children to all the various industries that aerospace encompasses and highlight the different roles and functions that people play in aerospace and aviation on the whole,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter if you like Math, if you think Physics is difficult, if you think Math is difficult, if you just like to read, if you just like to write. The purpose of this forum is to show that there is a place for you in aerospace.”
ACI globalisation strategist Javia Shaw was born and raised in Jamaica and is currently a software engineer in the aerospace industry. He agreed that there is a lack of exposure of the industry to those in the Caribbean region. It’s why he said this forum is just the beginning of outreach the branch intends to do in the region to open the industry to its youth.
The forum will be hosted on July 2 from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm. Those interested can register by visiting their website at www.nsbe-aerospace.org/advocacy/aerospace-in-the-caribbean.