STEM Guyana team returns from Washington DC: Placed 10th against 164 other countries

First Lady Sandra Granger (third from right) as she joins in the celebration with the STEM Guyana team.

other Government officials, at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, after fierce competition at the recently concluded First Global Challenge in Washington, D.C.

The young Guyanese team comprising Ryan Benschop (team captain), Anthony Frank, Arianna Mahase, Christopher Nelson, Sahief Poese and Vevekeanand Ramnarace, alongside Team Manager Farnaz Baksh; Coach Ricky Chan; and Public Relations Officer Horace Mosley placed 10th after battling against 164 other countries from around the globe.  

The achievement by the nine-member team is phenomenal taking into consideration they only had four months to prepare for a competition which was new to them. However, their achievement is being celebrated by the Guyanese population.

Twenty-two-year-old Farnaz Baksh, Team Manager and one of the two lone females on the team said that part of the team’s success came from observing their environment. She explained that during preparation for the competition they experienced some difficulties which were solved from engineering techniques used in Guyana for drainage and irrigation.

Baksh stated that, “one of the main focuses was our pull-up mechanism which was because of the weight of the robot it was a little too heavy and then we thought our koker system in Guyana, those doors are way heavier so what is the gear mechanism behind it so that it lifts all the weight, so some of the students went and inspected it and saw how the gear works and which goes where. So it was between torque and speed. We  needed more torque and less speed, so that’s how come we used a larger sprocket and it actually helped us in all six matches, we got out 20 points because of studying the koker system here in Guyana”.

During the competition, the robot was required to battle against opponents in the competition’s simulation exercise called ‘H2O Flow’. Vevekeanand Ramnarace, who is one of the youngest members of the team, said that aim of the competition was to promote global cooperation in one of the 14 engineering issues that the world is seeking to solve. Water contamination is one of those issues.

Ramnarace explained that they had to design a robot that is able to take contaminated water, sort the contaminant particle from the clean water and dispose of them accordingly.

However, competing in such a major competition called for cooperation and support from each member of the team. Horace Moseley, Public Relations officer for the team explained that upon seeing all the different robots from the various countries, the team was a bit skeptical about their chances.

Nevertheless, Moseley said the team all came together and put their best foot forward. “so, when we started… and even the first day of the match, we go out, we see our ‘bot moving really different from every other ‘bot, way faster, way better in performance and I was like wow to us, so our bot it really, really gave us a really good feeling right through the match, all the matches” he stated.

First Lady Sandra Granger who was instrumental in introducing the STEM initiative to Guyana, said that she was overjoyed with performance of the team, since robotics is fairly new to Guyana. Mrs. Granger highlighted that the feat by the STEM team demonstrates what can be achieved by the young minds of Guyana, once the opportunities are presented and all the necessary investments made.

Looking towards the future, Mrs. Granger pointed out that her main focus will be to ensure that every child across Guyana is involved in robotics.

Mrs. Granger explained that, “we are talking about setting up clubs and leagues and we start competing in communities and clubs so that we start to build and grow our talents in robotics, it can only be beneficial to us… So, I see it as just pushing everything together and all the pieces of STEM coming together and moving us forward. So, it is developmental on a personal as well as a professional technical level.”

STEM Guyana now turns their focus to the next global challenge which will be held in Mexico City in 2018. Their aim is to emerge on top of the competing countries and make Guyana proud once more. (DPI/GINA)




Results for the opening day of the First Global Robotics Competition, in Washington, DC.

Team Guyana:
1st Round —- Won
2nd Round —- Won
3rd Round —- Won

Team Guyana, is rank #1. We’re ahead of the 165+ countries, including China, India, Japan, Hong Kong, USA, Canada, etc. The final three rounds are scheduled for tomorrow, starting at 8:30 am.

Mark Anthony Benschop wrote:

Ok, so before the start of the First Global Robotics Competition, this morning. I was really excited for the entire team and got a little emotional after #TeamGuyana won the first round. Then, they won the second round, then after winning the third round, I squeezed back the tears of joy.

Here I am with the Captain of the team, Ryan Benschop (Yep, my son), he’s also the logistics guy. Overall, I admire and appreciate the entire team and their collective efforts in getting us to the #1 spot. I pray that tomorrow, we will see a repeat of today’s great performances.

Guyana’s team participating in the first Global Robotics Championship for high school students in Washington DC was in first place yesterday after three rounds, Co-founder of STEMGuyana Karen Abrams said yesterday.

Abrams, who has been giving regular updates on the team’s progress on her Facebook page, announced: “Team Guyana has moved into 1st place out of 160 countries, following the 3rd round in the World Robotics Championships for high school students taking place in the United States.

In the FINAL they earned 10th spot in the competition.


RANKINGS  – read more + videos here

Click here for the full list of rankings.

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  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 07/21/2017 at 12:23 pm

    Excellent performance! Imagine what they could achieve with better opportunities for their development.

  • Gigi  On 07/21/2017 at 4:13 pm

    To think I could have attended this event living a mere 40 minutes scenic metro ride away. Except that I did not find out about it until after the fact. And because of the egregious reporting by the Guyana media and the obscurity of the event, I had to exhaustively peruse the internet to find out more, including the Guyanese hosting website. It turns out that there are a lot of these robotic STEM championships events so I what to whittle my search down specifically to include Washington, DC and July 2017.

    Congratulations to the Guyanese college students who participated. I’m glad they were able to participate given that the event was for high school students. Schooling level aside, the Guyana gov’t forked out 23 million dollars to participate in this event. I’m still racking my brains to figure out how to see this as a prudent investment. Apparently, it was real feather in the cap for Global First because they sure dedicated a lot of web space to crow about it. But that should be a discussion for the Guyanese public.

    Now, 23 million dollars should have given them at least a bronze medal (gold or silver is a stretch) in any one of the different categories of the competition. Not sure about the purpose of the one lone chart above, but the country that won a gold medal for best engineering design and a bronze medal in the global challenge match took me back to the days of international cricket when I was growing up. I’m no fan of grown men playing sports and calling it a job. Fun or recreation sure, but a real job? Nope. But I digress. Now, the West Indian cricket team with its one token Indian, either Kanhai or Kalicharan (not sure which one), was never cheered or celebrated by certain groups, probably still isn’t. There was/still remains no pride or joy in rooting for a region and team flaunting blatant racism and openly committing harsh discrimination. The memories…they persist.

    • L. Michael Lewis  On 07/22/2017 at 8:56 am

      Gigi, your’s is a very myopic point of view….Instead of feeling proud that young Guyanese students held their own, and displayed acute mental capacity against students from even more ‘developed’ countries like the USA, UK, France and even China, you choose to wallow and bicker in some political quagmire.

      That 23 Million that you’re harping about is a great investment in the youth, who thankfully will be the ones that will take Guyana way forward into the Technological era that we now live in.

      Congrats to the young Guyanese students and indeed ALL Caribbean students who entered the STEM ROBOTICS….You have made us proud….(At least some of us).

      • guyaneseonline  On 07/24/2017 at 10:32 am

        Please note that the amount of $23 Million Guyana dollars would equal about $125,000 US dollars.

        Editor. Guyanese Online

    • Thinker  On 07/22/2017 at 4:26 pm

      As usual a load of racist nonsense from Gigi. Nobody and no group ever failed to cheer on Kanhai, Kalicharran, or Chanderpaul, among others. As a toddler I had a t-shirt portraying Ramadin and Valentine (those two friends of mine) and strangers loved to smile at it. It’s amazing that I always have to be the one to correct Gigi’s nonsense. Has no one other than I noticed this attempt to falsify history? We can blame the PNC government for somewhat dissing Kanhai by naming a smaller stand at Bourda after him but to talk of certain groups not cheering him is disgraceful.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 07/23/2017 at 12:33 am

    Thanks for stepping-up, Thinker ….

    I could NOT be bothered responding to such nonsense ….

    I honestly don’t care what she thinks!

    • Thinker  On 07/23/2017 at 3:56 pm

      My problem is that when nonsense goes unchallenged in such a public forum younger people might believe it and repeat it. To speak of one token Indian in West Indian cricket just underlines her abysmal ignorance on the subject. Has anyone accused the WI Cricket Board of being racist? Against Indians? Gigi is probably trying to justify the traditional support given by Indo-Guyanese to visiting teams from India and Pakistan (as is their right). However, we all need to be vigilant in view of her penchant for lying outright.

      • Youman  On 07/23/2017 at 4:27 pm

        I have read gigi comments. She seems like a desperate woman who needs to get a life

  • Clyde Duncan  On 07/24/2017 at 9:16 am

    Here is another important distinction for the ‘younger people’ out there.

    The population of Guyana is LESS than a MILLION people.

    Therefore, you could go down the list and surmise that since Guyana has less population than the competition, they have less ‘younger people’ to choose from.

    So, I am thinking that you are better off – in every way – avoiding people like the horror show with the obnoxious and deceitful comment above.

    I am limiting my comments because if I engage them publicly passerby may NOT be able to tell the difference.

    Always – Always – Always consider the source of your information.

  • L.Michael Lewis  On 07/24/2017 at 10:39 am

    In essence Gigi is bickering on a paltry $125K US that was spent to send these kids to represent their country, and who actually did so in a most admirable way….This Gigi person is indeed pathetic…a relic of some distant, morbid past.

  • Albert  On 07/24/2017 at 1:11 pm

    A thought in a slightly different direction comes to mind. Guyana always had talented and gifted youths but the political management of that talent always seem to be geared to benefit western developed countries. Our British educational system of years back has produced some of the most outstanding professionals. Engineers, medical doctors, architects, professors, scientists etc. The problem is they are all or mostly abroad. Meeting them at say a BHS/QC reunion establish the point.

    Electronic and computerized automation, robotic engineering are rapidly developing features in the US. There is a strong demand for such talent in the West. The technology has the effect of replacing manual labor, which will be relied on well into the future of developing countries like Guyana.

    Will management of our limited resources ensure that projects such as these are undertaken with a view of application only to local problems….. or let the talents and energy of our youths be exported.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 07/31/2017 at 2:12 pm

    Forget Trump’s Boy Scout Speech. Let’s Talk About Girl Scouts and STEM.

    By Sher Watts Spooner | Daily Kos

    Many people across the country were appalled by Donald Trump’s rambling and boorish political speech to the Boy Scouts of America National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia.

    The insecure braggart-in-chief found a way to work in:

    •Insults to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Washington, and the news media.

    •An incoherent anecdote hinting about a fellow real estate mogul’s sexual escapades aboard a yacht.

    •A threat to fire a member of his Cabinet if the Affordable Care Act isn’t repealed.

    •Indoctrination of the Boy Scouts and their families in the crowd into becoming worshipers at the Altar of Trump.

    Many Scouting families and former Scouts took to Twitter and the BSA Facebook page to register outrage, threatening to stop donating to the organization and to take their sons out of Scouting.

    Many demanded that the BSA issue an apology and some kind of statement distancing the Boy Scouts from Trump’s inappropriate conduct. They were not satisfied with the BSA’s initial tepid response.

    Even worse was the realization that the president of the BSA, Randall Stephenson, is also the president of AT&T, which needs the Trump administration’s approval for an $85 billion deal to merge with Time Warner.

    Under Stephenson’s leadership, with so much money on the line, it wasn’t likely that the Boy Scouts were going to take Trump to task.

    But the BSA chief executive, Michael Surbaugh, did issue a real apology. “I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree. … For years, people have called upon us to take a position on political issues, and we have steadfastly remained non-partisan and refused to comment on political matters. We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.”

    So instead of dwelling on such unpleasantries, let’s take a break from the constant beat of the Trump drum and celebrate the fact that the Girls Scouts of America just introduced 23 new badges in the outdoors and STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

    Putting a priority on STEM isn’t new to the Girl Scouts. This is how the website of Girls Scouts of the USA describes the organization’s emphasis on science and its related fields:

    We introduce Girl Scouts of every age to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to help them see how they can actually improve the world — whether they’re discovering how a car’s engine runs, learning to manage finances, or caring for animals.

    We’d like every girl to explore different aspects of STEM every year, so we’ve developed a unique, “fun with purpose” K–12 curriculum to inspire girls to embrace and celebrate scientific discovery in their lives.

    These new badges, aimed at all Girl Scout levels, K-12, from Daisies to Seniors and Teen Ambassadors, represent the biggest increase of the number of new badges in 10 years.

    The new badges cover areas like robotics, mechanical engineering, and programming.

    So why should we care about Girl Scout badges? Let’s look at what it means as those girls grow up into women. From a GSUSA press release announcing the new badges, which also lists the many partners who helped work on these new badges and the Scouts’ STEM programs:

    Girl Scouts are almost twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to participate in STEM (60 percent versus 35 percent) and outdoor activities (76 percent versus 43 percent).

    With the introduction of 23 new badges, which marks the largest programming rollout in almost a decade, Girl Scouts can create algorithms, design robots and race cars, go on environmentally conscious camping trips, collect data in the great outdoors, try their hand at engineering, and so much more. …

    Girl Scouts do better than their non–Girl Scout peers in the classroom, earning better grades and aspiring to higher educational attainment, and are more likely to seek careers in STEM, law, and business — industries in which women are under-represented.

    And the benefits of Girl Scouting are not exclusive to any particular demographic, which means that no matter where girls live or what their age or background, Girl Scouts can help them develop to their full potential and excel in all aspects of life. …

    GSUSA created programming that included contributions from many notable organizations. Collaborators include the STEM-focused, GoldieBlox, SciStarter, Society of Women Engineers, and WGBH/Design Squad Global, as well as the outdoor-focused Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

    These new badges are on top of another effort to let girls earn badges in cybersecurity.

    An AP story about the new badges describes how the emphasis on STEM helps girls get over their “crisis of confidence” in pursuing education and careers in these fields.

    The effort takes a progressive approach to STEM and also nudges girls to become citizen scientists using the great outdoors as their laboratory.

    Among the new badges are those that introduce kindergarten and first graders to the world of robots and engineering. Scouts can learn basic programming and build prototypes to solve everyday problems.

    Older scouts will have the chance to enhance those skills, learning more about artificial intelligence, algorithms and how to formally present their work. …

    One study cited by the Scouts showed women remain vastly under-represented in [the cybersecurity] industry, holding 11 percent of such jobs globally.

    Another study, done by the Computing Technology Industry Association, found that 69 percent of women who have not pursued careers in information technology attribute their choice to not knowing what opportunities are available to them.

    This essay is not meant to be a puff piece about GSUSA, although I am a lifetime member after being a Scout as a youngster and an adult leader for nine years while my own daughters were in Scouting. But after having to put up with buffoonish Trumpery at a Boy Scout event (at any time, really), I thought we could all use a little good news for a change.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 07/31/2017 at 2:18 pm

    Here is a White House Photo of a REAL President in a Tiara …

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