||Central Bank Of Barbados
In 2017, Matthew Clarke was chosen as the Central Bank of Barbados’ scholar for the Students’ Programme for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE), a four-week residential programme for secondary school students with an aptitude for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects. The Central Bank recently caught up with the 18 year old Queen’s College student to find out what he has been doing in the six months since completing the programme.
Central Bank of Barbados (CBB): Tell us what you’ve been doing since SPISE.
Matthew Clarke (MC): Since SPISE, I’ve been focusing on making the transition to university. I was accepted to Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. It’s a fairly small but elite university. I’ve been accepted, so now I’m just trying to sort out my student visa and make other arrangements.
I’m also hoping to get a Barbados scholarship. I got four grade ones in the first unit [of CAPE] last year, and I’m trying to replicate that this year, in the second unit.
CBB: What subjects are you studying for CAPE?
MC: Right now I’m doing Physics, Pure Mathematics, Chemistry and Caribbean Studies.
Outside of that, we learned introductory level programming at SPISE so I’ve been trying to make myself at least functional in Python, the programming language that we learned.
CBB: How would you say SPISE has helped you with your studies and in other areas?
MC: It has helped me with my studies. It has given me greater discipline. Before because the subjects that I do are mostly analytical and application subjects, I found that I didn’t have to do much work in order to do well. But SPISE made me realise that the workload that I have now is nothing like the one I’ll get at university, so I’ve developed a study schedule.
Secondly, it opened my eyes to a lot. I wanted to be an engineer – I didn’t know for certain what kind of engineer I wanted to be, but at SPISE I realised that there are many different fields in engineering, and that the one I wanted to do most was electrical engineering.
Thirdly, SPISE showed me that there are a lot of brilliant minds in the Caribbean, so while I was living in my own little world in Barbados and I might have been one of the better students, there are many others in the Caribbean as good as or better than me, so I realised I have to get ahead of the rest of the Caribbean right now while I have the chance.
CBB: So what’s next?
MC: Through SPISE I got an internship at Foursquare Rum Distillery for four weeks, so that’s what I’ll be doing this summer.
Then when I get to Lehigh, I plan to do a major in electrical engineering and a minor in either finance or business. I also plan to do research with some of the professors because research helps you to understand the field better than you would just by taking the courses.
Apart from that, I want to see if I can find a sport to play as a hobby because I play a lot of sports right now.
CBB: Well thank you, Matthew. It was a pleasure talking to you, and we wish you all the best.
MC: Thank you.