Nine students at the International College of the Cayman Islands returned recently from a week in South Florida examining how technology impacts business and society as part of their academic seminar on technology and society.
This year the course focused on Miami, according to ICCI, because of its potential to become the next big regional tech hub, since the city has already attracted millions in venture capital and numerous technology-related startups.
Chief Information Officer and Director of the Information Technology Department of Miami-Dade County Angel Petisco hosted one of the student visits. Mr. Petisco briefed students on how Miami-Dade uses data analytics and cloud computing to improve overall services, reduce operational and capital costs while increasing service delivery to the county’s 2.5 million residents.
Students also visited Venture Hive, an entrepreneurial education company and Microsoft Innovation Center, home to 31 companies from 18 countries. Serial entrepreneur Dr. Susan Amat, who founded the company, conducted a mentoring session with students.
In a press release from ICCI, business student Naresa Peart-Robinson said, “The thing that stuck out most for me is that Dr. Amat said as students we have to decide if we are going to be people who start businesses or people who work for others who have started businesses. I never looked at the world this way before. “Especially as a woman, it was good to see her example. It made me think that maybe I may have the next big idea that could change the world.”
Finance student Shaun Morgan noted that students are often pushed into careers in financial services and tourism. “I think teachers in Cayman should also be pushing careers in technology and letting us know that we can also become entrepreneurs instead of looking to others to provide us jobs.”
Students also visited the offices of Cisco Miami, hosted by account manager Mark Herman. Cisco presented the company’s latest business collaboration tools.
In addition, Miami Herald entrepreneurship and tech writer Nancy Dahlberg spoke to the students during the trip and gave a presentation on how technology and business impact economic growth.
“Getting off the island and seeing firsthand what it takes to be globally competitive in business really opened my eyes and let me know what I need to do to be successful,” said business student Opal Ruiz.
“I see so many ways how we can apply geographic information systems to reduce crime, improve traffic flow, manage natural resources like coral reefs and so many other aspects to make the quality of life in Cayman better. This exposure is just amazing,” said business student Shenek Conolly.
ICCI President David Marshall, who led the seminar, said, “We are very proud of the way these students represented themselves, the college and the country. Our goal is always to provide students with world-class teaching and learning experiences. We are ecstatic that these students have come back to the island enriched and motivated.”
Each student at ICCI has to complete two international seminars as a condition of graduation. The seminar topics include technology, business, religion, organizational behavior and Cayman Islands history, among a host of other academic topics.