By Nadira Mohammed
The University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) recently hosted its 12th iteration of the student leadership workshop which began in 2018. The mission of this workshop is to provide Leadership development for our University Students through professional education workshops and programs. The vision is to enhance the leadership capacity of students so they enhance their profession, communities and society.
The aim of this program is to allow students to develop critical thinking skills, an understanding of change processes, and be able to think critically about obstacles to change, and to comprehend and be able to utilize a process for decision-making.
This event was hosted by Dr. Kenneth Niles, a faculty member of grad school and social sciences. He was there to make the students get comfortable with their peers around them. Mr. Jad Isidore (Mr. USC) held an ice breaker which allowed the students to come up on the podium and express their style of leadership symbolized by any object/s in the room.
The guest speaker for this event was Ms. Vernisha Ayoung. Ms. Ayoung is an information and digital technology professional with over 28 years of IT experience. Her work experience has taken her from the US to the UK, Canada, South America, Latin America, Europe, and India. Her leadership experience comes from various industries including nonprofit health education media and oil and gas as well as from various roles in church.
She graduated in 1999 with a double major in Behavioural Science and Computer Information Systems and later acquired a Masters in Business Administration. During the pandemic she later completed a postgraduate certificate in executive strategic leadership and is currently a doctoral candidate at Liberty University.
Ms. Ayoung’s presentation was on Ethical Leadership in the Digital Age. This topic had three (3) important components; ethics, digital age, and leadership, all of which she expanded on as she went along.
She started off her presentation with the definition of ethical leadership and stated, “Ethical leadership requires professionals to have a wide range of skills and competencies, which are underpinned by ethics, trust, integrity, and recognition of their corporate responsibility. Complexity in the professional environment brought on by rapidly evolving technology, digital disruption and mis/disinformation, is directly impacting all organizations and professionals.” Following this definition, she further stated, “all of these things directly impact organizations and impact you as a professional.”
With reference to Mr. USC’s ice breaker she indicated that this is where ethics come in, “it is about your values.” Her main points revolved around cyber security, artificial intelligence (AI), and mechanical learning.
She indicated that youths need to be careful in the news they hear and to trust, but always verify because not all news that is shown is correct, fake news is an epidemic. Ethics transcend all ages, not physically but every period, and as young leader, the values you harness have to tie in with the corporate responsibility.
She informed that the Digital Age, similar to the Industrial Age, still has a learning process with the new upcoming tools. The tools of the digital age are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) which is a subset of AI, Cyber Security, Data Culture, and Accessibility to Information. “Data is the new oil”
She begins her presentation on leadership with the stark difference between being a manager and a leader as explained by Steve Jobs. Following this Ms. Ayoung voices that information technology and business are extremely interwoven as everything in the digital age needs technology.
One of her most hair-raising quotations from the presentation came closer to her conclusion, “As a leader you look for the opportunities and the challenges and how you respond to them.”
She explained the different generations leading up to Generation Z (Gen Z) and tied it into the different markets that each generation reached and further explained how the current generation (Gen Z) can reach their target market.
Upon concluding, she quoted, “Christian leaders are driven by their ethics in any age,” and gave reference to persons from the bible such as Esther & Haman, Daniel, Moses, Joshua, and Gideon. With this she reiterated her points and shared the platforms in which you can reach her. Following the conclusion of her presentation, there was a brief question segment.
Ms. Anna Howell gave the vote of thanks and the closing prayer was done by Ms. Elsa Elvin.
By Nadira Mohammed
As the resounding cheers of students echoed and the enchanting melodies of musical and theatrical performances filled the air, USC wrapped up its semester with the grand culmination of Season 2 of USC Got Talent.
USC Got Talent stands as a beacon for nurturing and showcasing the finest talents from USC, extending its reach to embrace Trinidad and Tobago, the wider Caribbean, and beyond. This event was established and developed by the Spiritual Development Department and the School of Education and Humanities of the University of the Southern Caribbean.
The event spanned from November 8th to November 26th, kicking off with auditions on November 4th. It comprised five training sessions, one pre-recorded event, and two live showcases.
There were three plenary sessions that catered towards holistic development and professional networking of the contestants. The competition unfolded across three riveting rounds: Blind Auditions, Semi-Finals, and the climactic Final Round. Starting with a maximum of twenty contestants, each round saw a gradual elimination process, culminating in the top 3 contestants claiming their rightful places in the Final Round.
The Dean of the School of Education and Humanities, Dr. Loverne Browne, and Pastor Terry John are the two main stakeholders of this event. While the idea for a talent show was birthed in a Student Executive Committee meeting at the School of Education and Humanities in September, 2022, the students embraced the vision and have far exceeded all expectations.
The UGT is an initiative aimed at facilitating development and training of students on several levels. In the first instance it is geared at providing the platform by which students can lead out in the planning and execution of the event. The goal was to ensure that students found ways to harness their skills in productions such as these and create new skill sets that may not have been their prior.This is of critical importance for the students in the School of Education and Humanities in particular as well as other interested students in USC. One of the major selling points of UGT is that students are given the opportunity to lead while we as administrators provide administrative support. For all involved, they receive training in their various talent areas on stage and off and in so doing they obtain a take away that will be beneficial for the rest of their lives.
With Mr. Anton Charles being the Executive Producer, Director, Creative Director, and overall Host of USC Got Talent, he stated, “USC is a lighthouse for talent, talent emanates from every fiber of this school, and the Got Talent series is so important to the development of those talents because there are so many persons who are gifted in so many areas but do not know how to advance themselves in said areas, and so USC Got Talent aims at being that platform that allows students to grow the appreciation for developing their talent instead of just viewing it as a hobby.”
Four discerning judges, each representing distinct talent realms, presided over the elimination process. Post the semi-finals, contestants received personalized mentorship from their judges, honing their skills for the Final Round—a two-stage showdown culminating in the crowning of the USC Got Talent monarch. The People’s Choice Award honored the finalist with the highest online votes of the season.
Following each season, USC Got Talent plans to host professional Master classes guided by seasoned experts, aimed at students keen on refining their skills. Additionally, an event akin to the original USC Got Talent is set to spotlight the talents of registered students to a broader audience.
The panel of judges comprised experts in their respective categories:
- Cleon Richardson, the voice category judge, renowned for his multifaceted expertise in music production and education.
- Anthony Woodruff, known as Tony Paul, led the instrumental category, celebrated for his prowess in jazz education and performance.
- Lesley Lewis-Alleyne, a distinguished figure in both scientific and artistic realms, presided over Dance & Choreography.
- Ronaldo Mohammed, an advocate and artist in Spoken Word/Poetry/Theatre/Drama, brought his expertise to the judging panel.
The pinnacle of Season 2 saw Ms. Ivana Wong, Ms. Alphiesha Guischard, and Mr. Jesse Schultz emerge as the top three winners.
Jesse Schultz claimed 3rd place in the music (instrumental) category, showcasing his prowess as a third-year Music major at USC.
Alphiesha Guischard, a Hospitality and Tourism major at USC, earned 2nd place in the Spoken Word/Poetry/Theatre category, captivating audiences with her phenomenal performances.
Securing 1st place was Ivana Wong, a Nursing major at USC, distinguished for her soulful voice and devout focus on faith-based music. Her winning piece, a powerful narrative woven through music, resonated deeply with the audience.
Ivana’s winning performance, starting as a poignant portrayal of a slave bound by chains, evolved into a powerful message of liberation and empowerment, urging everyone to “Let Go and Let God.”
Reflecting on their experiences, Alphiesha expressed it as “overwhelming, heart wrenching, and awesome,” while Jesse described it as a pivotal developmental moment in his life. For Ivana, it was nothing short of a blessing.
For those eager to witness these remarkable performances, USC Got Talent offers access to the winning showcase, events, and episodes on their YouTube channel (youtube.com/@uscgottalent) and Instagram (instagram.com/uscgottalent). Season 3 is slated for November 2024, with registrations opening officially in April 2024. USCians can actively engage by signing up for roles within the production team, management team, or editing bay.
Authored By: Golden Eagle
After a two year hiatus due to Covid-19, Praise Break returned with a cast of popular local Gospel Ministers and Guyana’s International Minister, Samuel Medas. The 2022 edition of this Praise and Worship Eexperience in its 5th edition proved to be its best to date.
Patrons were able to praise and worship in the seated air conditioned comfort within the new Auditorium at the University of the Southern (USC). A safe and family friendly environment was evident with ample secured parking available throughout the University’s compound.
Praise Break was conceptualized to give USC students a “break” from studying and the stress of academia before going into end of semester exams with student artistes sharing the stage with more accomplished ministers. The patrons of the show now extend beyond the University’s students and also include international artistes as stated above.
The show kicked off at 6.30pm with local talents, J-Rich, Renee Lawrence, Ron Christopher, Bjorn Pierre, Carla Watkins, St. Hilarie Brothers and Pastor Clive Dottin closing the first half with a plea to March against crime and other issues plaguing society.
The second half of the show kicked off with all artists backed by live bands with performances by Marc Isaacs joined by the host Jahzy the Voice, Jaron Nurse, Positive and Samuel Medas with a surprise appearance from Blessed Messenger. The night was truly a blessing to all present and left many stating it was “the best Praise break ever”.
Register Now: http://conferences.sta.uwi.edu/nhrc/