Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
It’s Science Week and to help us celebrate, our recent cohort of WISCI SOUTHEAST ASIA campers are sharing all the reasons they love science as well as the ways STEM has changed their past, and now, their future!
Worldwide, girls face various cultural, social, and economic barriers to pursue higher education and careers in STEAM-focused fields. For those who do, only 29% of girls globally feel they have the opportunity to apply a STEM education in their communities.
The WISCI Girls STEAM Camps, made possible due to a partnership between Girl Up, the U.S. Department of State, Intel, and the Caterpillar Foundation, provide secondary school-aged girls from around the world a fun and supportive learning space to explore their interests in science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and mathematics to help them develop a better understanding of how they can create STEAM-centered solutions to tackle the world’s biggest issues.
During the latest WiSci Southeast Asia Camp in July 2022, more than 70 girls from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines connected through both virtual and in-person learning, working together to accomplish STEAM-based activities and create final projects that investigated just how exactly they can use STEM FOR SOCIAL GOOD in their communities.
Some WiSci Southeast Asia participants have had prior opportunities to engage in STEAM, such as AC Kedah camper Varsha who is a member of the STEM club at her school and AC Davao camper Janna, who has “handled various STEM subjects, starting from pre-calculus, probabilities, and statistics up to robotics.”
Although fellow AC Kedah camper Alisasofea has represented her school at various STEM-related competitions in her country—and has even won medals!—many girls at her school are not enrolled in science subjects because of stereotypes that boys are “better” in STEM fields. After joining the WiSci Southeast Asia camp, where she met other young STEAM enthusiasts and heard from inspiring female STEMinists in the industry, Alisasofea is excited to return to her school and share what she’s learned in hopes that her fellow girls will also become “brave” and pursue their passions in STEAM. “I used to want to be a doctor but as I explored at this Women in Science program, I decided to pursue what I dream of instead of what my parents want…My dream now is to be something related to chemistry, a chemist or a chemical engineer.”
Other campers are also looking forward to sharing how accessible science really is with their friends and communities back home—and are busy planning their future STEAM careers in order to create social change! “As an aspiring industrial engineer, I would love to embrace all types of STEM subjects for the betterment of the world,” shared Janna.
“I want to use STEM for social good because I want to be a vet in the future and help abandoned animals in the world,” said AC ITS camper Melati.
“I am most excited to use STEM for social good because I want to be a planologist. I really want to make eco-cities for everyone to have a good future,” said AC ITB camper Zafira.
Since its start in 2015, WiSci Camps have trained more than 1,000 girls from 35 countries around the world and while their teachings are immediate, their effects are long-lasting. A recent impact survey of WiSci alumni found that 78% of those who are currently enrolled in university are now studying STEAM subjects! While some WiSci participants like AC Batac camper Angeline are now “100% sure” they’re going to pursue a career in STEAM after joining this camp, others are still deciding how exactly to channel their passion for science & technology into their professional journeys. For AC ITS camper Nuri, a future in STEAM is “definitely a possibility” for her after realizing technology is “actually quite fun” thanks to WiSci, but she’s excited to further discover what that could look like in the years to come.
Regardless of their background, their home countries, or their past experiences with STEAM, the consensus is clear. This next generation of problem-solvers and leaders are confident they can use their newfound STEAM skills to promote gender equality and change the world! “If I were to pursue a career in STEM I would want to bring a big change to the world, especially to girls,” shared AC Kedah camper Nisha.
Keep scrolling to watch how more of our campers are planning to use STEAM to educate and inspire girls and the important role science plays in all of their lives!
The gender gap in STEAM may still exist today, but it won’t exist tomorrow if our WiSci campers have anything to do about it! Check back next week for Part 3 of the WiSci in Southeast Asia blog series to hear how these bold, barrier-breaking STEMinists are advocating for equal opportunities in science, technology & beyond!
Special thanks to all of our incredible partners–the U.S. Department of State, Intel, Caterpillar Foundation, and the American Corners supported by the U.S. embassies in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia–for their generous support in making this WiSci camp possible and joining Girl Up in our commitment to achieve gender parity in STEAM.