98 girls are attending this year’s Women in Science (WiSci) camp in Windhoek, Namibia at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).
Internationally, there is a strong gender imbalance in the science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and mathematics (STEAM) fields of science, technology, engineering arts and design and mathematics. The WiSci Camp aims to help bridge that gap through access to education, mentorship opportunities and leadership training.
This is the fourth WiSci STEAM Camp and is part of the U.S. government’s efforts to empower the next generation of female leaders, especially in the STEAM fields.
Participants are required to have at least one year of secondary school still left to complete, and committed to attend the full duration of camp. They are also required to have regular access (at least once per week) to internet at a home, school, community center, internet café or other location. They are aged between 15 and 18 years or must be in Grade 11-12. Applications closed on February 18, 2018.
RCMRD/SERVIR-E&SA’s Science and Data Lead Anastasia Wahome and Land Use Land Cover and GHG Inventories Thematic Lead Phoebe Oduor are attending the camp to impart knowledge as facilitators. Also in attendance is Emily C. Adams NASA-SERVIR Eastern and Southern Afrfica Science Coordination Lead.
They introduced the girls to Earth Observation data (EO) and how it’s acquired as well as gave an overview of Remote Sensing (RS) and geographic information systems (GIS) and how all these address developmental issues in our communities.
The girls were also introduction to Google Earth Engine for Remote Sensing & GIS. Other sessions included training them on how EO is used to solve societal problems and show how NASA leverages the resource on GEE.
“We are out to inspire the girls. The motive is not really to get experts from our training but to inspire motivation for future experts,” Says Phoebe.
Anastasia adds, “In the evenings, we hold discussions with the girls and mentor them on career and related issues.”
Girls will participate in hands-on activities to learn about various STEAM topics in a cross-cultural learning environment.
This is a public-private partnership program designed to expand STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and mathematics) exposure and opportunities for adolescent girls. The 2018 WiSci Girls STEAM Camp is led by the U.S. Department of State alongside partners Girl Up Campaign, the Intel Corporation, Google, NASA and World Learning among other partners.
Why focus on STEAM education for girls?
Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging girls and women in STEAM education. Unfortunately, girls and women continue to face unique and significant barriers in accessing STEAM education. The Girls WiSci camp aligns with the United Nations’ 2015 Sustainable Development Goals to achieve gender equality and empower all girls and women. Women’s equality and empowerment is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but also integral to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development. In short, all the SDGs depend on the achievement of Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).
In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in STEM, and to further achieve gender equality and girls’ empowerment, there need to be greater opportunities made available to girls and an increase in investments around girls’ STEM education. That’s where the WiSci STEAM Camp comes in.