Belizean mariculturist wins UNESCO Young Scientist Award
Caribbean Net News 12/02/2005 12:34:55
The Ministry of Education and the Belize National Commission for UNESCO have announced that Belizean Frantz Smith has won the 2005 United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Young Scientist Award.
Mr. Smith was among the ten candidates selected by the Bureau of the International Coordinating Council of the MAB Programme of UNESCO at its meeting held at UNESCO's Headquarters, Paris on October 25 to 28, 2004. He found out about being awarded by UNESCO in December 2004.
In explaining how he first learned about the award scheme, Mr. Smith said that through his research program at Texas A & M University, where he has obtained a Masters Degree in Mariculture, he came across the MAB Young Scientists Award. Immediately, he went ahead and developed his research proposal and shared it with Ms.Theresita Levy, Secretary-General of the Belize National Commission for UNESCO, who coincidentally was on her way to UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France to attend a training workshop.
Ms Levy used this opportunity to advance Mr Smith's proposal with the relevant authorities at UNESCO Paris. Mr Smith's research proposal is entitled, "Phytoplankton of aquaculture effluent canals and a pristine site on the Belize Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage Site". He explains that in aquaculture, to create a pond, there is the need for both fertilizers and feed which, combined, create an algae bloom which has to be managed through a process of flushing out water periodically.
Upon receipt of the research grant from UNESCO, Mr Smith says that students from the Biology program at the University of Belize, under the tutelage of himself and Dr Menon, Lecturer, will carry out the project.
Mr Frantz Smith is 32 years and originally from Belmopan and a former employee of Melinda Mariculture and Haneys Shrimp Farm in the Stann Creek District where he served as Processing Supervisor and Biologist respectively. When asked about his interest in science, Mr Smith shares that he developed his love for science back in Standards V and VI as a student of Belmopan Junior School.
He further states that he would like to pay tribute to Ms Judy Diego and the other teachers at Belmopan Junior School who gave him much guidance and support while he explored his love for science at primary school. Ms Judy Diego is presently an Education Officer at the Cayo District Education Center of the Ministry of Education.
Mr Frantz Smith has made history for Belize as the first Belizean to ever win the prestigious Young Scientist Award from UNESCO. In his message to the young people of Belize, he states, "Science can be used to identify where we have comparative advantage in the global economy. Thus, science should be promoted, as it can certainly help to advance the country of Belize".
Mr Frantz Smith will leave Belize on Friday, February 11 for New Zealand where he will take up doctoral studies in Mariculture with a focus on studying the culture of lobsters.