UWI student ready to revolutionise Jamaica through engineering
Nile Anderson plans to be a transformative figure in Jamaica's information and communications technology (ICT) landscape, harbouring thoughts of using innovation to help the country achieve the ambitious targets set out in its 2030 plan.
The 25-year-old, final-year student at The University of the West Indies, Mona, was among 10 Jamaican students who participated in the Huawei Seeds for the Future programme held in Panama last week. The initiative enabled participants to engage industry experts in areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and leadership.
Anderson, an electronics engineering major, said he found the programme to be very useful, adding that it will assist him in his quest to "revolutionise Jamaica through engineering". In addition to advocating for greather emphasis on technical and vocational education in schools, he wants to become an engineering educator.
"I believe that Jamaica has very powerful but under utilised minds. I really have a great interest in bringing across STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) content in a new, fresh and fun way so many more young minds can connect with it," the St Ann native told THE STAR.
Anderson said that the Huawei Seeds for the Future programme helped to sharpen his ICT skills, while ensuring that the knowledge gained is used to solve real-world problems. The problem-solving component took the form of Huawei's Tech4Good competition that is designed to help young adults learn about the latest trends in digitalisation and explore how digital technologies can address common social issues.
Anderson and his compatriots focused on increasing the efficiency and efficacy of the healthcare system. They created an application that can be used by patients and healthcare workers to predict health outcomes, using simple artificial intelligence algorithms.
"Based on these predictions, both healthcare workers and patients would be advised when they would need to see a healthcare provider face-to-face before it leads to a detrimental event," Anderson said. The advisory takes into account the capacity of the health facilities and severity of the patient's symptoms.
"I think that was a very big thing, and, really and truly, it was a fun experience," Anderson said of Tech4Good. "We're going to be doing a lot of good from this fun experience, so it makes it double, just double good," he added.
The role of ICT has been singled out in Jamaica's Vision 2030 plan as being important in ensuring that Jamaica becomes 'the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business'. In fact, innovation has been singled out as the single most important ingredient in a successful modern economy.
Anderson said that his Seeds for the Future experience has reinforced in his mind that he made the right decision to pursue electronics engineering. He is convinced that ICT holds the future to transforming Jamaica to developed-country status. He said that the Seeds for the Future programme was "just the catalyst I needed to be able to make the change I wanted to make in my country".