WiSci Girls STEAM Camp

Internationally, there is a strong gender imbalance in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The WiSci Camp aims to help bridge that gap through access to education, mentorship opportunities and leadership training.

FAQs

What is a STEAM Camp?

STEAM = Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics.

The Women in Science (WiSci) camp aims to close the gender gap through access to education, mentorship opportunities, and leadership training. Girls will participate in hands-on activities to learn about various STEAM topics in a cross-cultural learning environment.

When and where will the camp be held?

The WiSci: Girls STEAM Camp will be held in Malawi, from July 30, 2017 through August 15, 2017. The camp will be hosted at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), a new facility located approximately 45 minutes from the city of Blantyre, which serves as a major commercial and financial hub. Camp participants will sleep in supervised dormitories  and participate in daily STEAM activities in classrooms, all within the center’s grounds. All camp activities will take place within the confines of the center, except for specifically designated off-site excursions.

Who are the WiSci camp organizers?

The camp is a public-private partnership effort between the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, Intel Corporation, Google, Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany, the Government of Malawi, and other partners, implemented by World Learning. The inaugural WiSci camp was held in Rwanda in 2015 and the second WiSci camp was held in Peru in 2016.  Learn more about previous WiSci camps.

What are the goals of the camp?

The primary goal of the camp is to expose and train girls with the technology that can help create a safer, more secure world. As seen by the many innovations made in the last ten years in the tech sector, from apps that connect resources to people in need during times of natural disasters to driverless vehicles, developments in technology are building a safer tomorrow. WiSci Girls STEAM Camp 2017 will focus on applying all aspects of technology to create a safer and more secure world across all sectors, from food security to cheap and accurate diagnostic tests, and to offer the participants a window to their future career potential. The camp program is built to be a cross-cultural, immersive learning experience.

What is the deadline to apply to the camp?

The deadline to apply is  Monday, February 13, 2017 at 23:59 UTC/GMT. Incomplete and late applications will not be accepted.

Who is eligible to apply for the camp?

Female students aged 15 through 18 who are citizens and residents of Malawi, the United States, Rwanda, Tanzania, Liberia, Uganda or Zambia and have at least one year of secondary school left are eligible to apply. Applicants must also meet the following eligibility criteria based on their home country:

·         Malawi – students in Form 1, Form 2, or Form 3 in the current term

·         Liberia – students in grade 9, grade 10 or grade 11 in the current term

·         Rwanda – students in Senior 3, Senior 4, or Senior 5 in the current term

·         Tanzania – students in Form 1, Form 2, or Form 3 in the current term

·         United States – students entering grades 10, 11 or 12 in the fall 2017 academic year

·         Zambia – students in grade 9, grade 10 or grade 11 in the current term

Applicants should also have a demonstrated interest in the STEAM fields and engagement in their community, with an open mind to and interest in cross-cultural learning experiences. While technological literacy (ie. familiarity with using computers and technology) is required, all levels of STEAM experience are welcome, particularly in science and technology.  

What cost is there for attending the camp? Are lodging, food and activities included?

All selected participants will receive a scholarship to attend the camp free of charge. All costs associated with lodging, food, and activities during the camp are covered through the support of partners, in addition to transportation to/from the capital city of your home country (origin of departure). However, selected participants will be expected to pay for transportation to their country’s capital city from their hometown for their departure flight to Malawi. Similarly, selected participants will be expected to pay for transportation to their hometown from their country’s capital city following their return flight from Malawi. This means: 

·         U.S. participants must pay for their costs to travel to/from Washington, D.C. to travel together to Malawi

·         Rwandan participants must pay for their costs to travel to/from Kigali to travel together to Malawi

·         Tanzanian participants must pay for their costs to travel to/from Dar Es Salaam to travel together to Malawi

·         Liberian participants must pay for their costs to travel to/from Monrovia to travel together to Malawi

·         Zambian participants must pay for their costs to travel to/from Lusaka to travel together to Malawi

·         Ugandan participants must pay for their costs to travel to/from Kampala to travel together to Malawi

 

Limited need-based financial assistance is available for direct costs associated with travel to the capital city to fly to the camp. In the application, applicants are asked to indicate their family’s income level. The answer to this question will not impact the status of the application.

Participants can bring a limited amount of spending money for small souvenirs and snacks if they wish. 

Is a passport required to apply for the program?

No. Applicants are not required to have a passport to apply for the program. However, participants will need a passport and visa in order to travel to Malawi. Participants and their families are responsible for fees associated with obtaining a passport and visa.

Who will campers be traveling with?

All camp participants will travel with an adult counselor from their country‘s capital city (origin of departure) to Malawi, as well as return from camp with an adult counselor back to their country’s capital city. Camp counselors will all undergo a background check and receive extensive training from camp partners (see more below).

How many students will be participating in the camp?

The camp will bring together approximately 100 female students.

Who will the campers interact with during the camp?

Camp participants, young adult counselors, and camp staff will all stay in the university’s dorms onsite. Each counselor will be responsible for a group of 10 campers. Camp staff will be composed of staff from organizing partners like the  U.S. Department of State, Girl Up, and World Learning. Classroom facilitators will also be present during the day to carry out STEAM programming. Additional mentors and guest speakers, including government officials, will visit the camp to interact with the camp participants.

Who will the camp counselors be?

Candidates for the counselor position will be identified by Girl Up and the U.S. Department of State through a selective application process. This application process is not open to the general public.  Girl Up will interview top candidates and select the final group of 10 counselors, who will represent all participating countries. All counselors and camp staff will undergo a background check.

Are parents allowed to travel and stay with camp participants?

This experience is intended to foster cross-cultural learning for students through a full immersion experience. To maximize the experience for all camp participants, parents will not be allowed to attend the camp or stay on-site. WiSci camp organizers will arrange for campers to be accompanied by chaperones to and from their respective countries of origin. The camp staff and counselors will keep track of the campers’ activities and whereabouts during the camp, and will share regular updates with parents during the camp.

What are the responsibilities of participants before, during and after the camp?

Participants are responsible for attending and actively participating in all camp activities for the duration of the two-week camp. Campers are expected to be open to new opportunities and to treat each other with kindness and respect to create a safe learning environment for all.

Before camp begins, participants will need to participate in several pre-departure webinars. Additionally, participants will have online activities and suggested readings to complete before the camp to get to know other participants and to enhance their overall camp experience.

Following camp, participants should bring what they’ve learned back with them to their home communities. This knowledge sharing could come in the form of a presentation, workshop, science fair, classroom activity, etc. Previous WiSci campers have started science and coding clubs at their schools, have remained in contact with mentors they met at camp, and have even continued to work on projects they started at the camp with campers from other countries. Campers will also be expected to remain connected to Girl Up and will be connected and informed of additional opportunities as alumnae of a U.S. government exchange program. 

When will selected participants be notified?

Applicants will be notified of their application status by mid-March.

What does a typical day at the camp look like?

No day at the WiSci camp is the same! The camp will encompass all aspects of STEAM alongside cross-cultural and leadership activities. The core STEAM curriculum will offer participants hands-on experience with the topic, including work in pairs and small groups. Campers will also participate in leadership development sessions, small group discussions, and cultural-exchange activities including cultural presentations led by the participants themselves. Campers will interact with mentors in various STEAM fields, and there will also be time for other fun activities like arts and crafts and sports. Campers can expect to learn through many different forms, and will be busy from morning to lights out/bedtime in the evening. During the camp, there will be at least two excursions off-site for campers to explore the culture of Malawi and witness STEAM in action. 

Further information on the camp schedule will be shared with selected participants in advance of the camp.

What safety and/or health precautions are being taken on behalf of the camp participants?

Travel and health insurance will be provided to all camp participants. MUST contains an on-site clinic staffed with two full-time nurses to treat minor ailments. Additionally, counselors and core staff will be trained in first aid. A safety protocol plan will be developed by camp organizers and communicated to all camp participants during orientation. Should any serious medical condition arise, transportation will be available from MUST to the nearest hospital, Missionary Hospital, only 10 km from camp. Campers are responsible for their own personal medications. 

The camp is implemented in consultation with the Government of Malawi and the U.S. Embassy in Malawi to ensure the safe participation of all campers. The MUST campus is set off by a security wall, and security guards are present. MUST contains a water treatment facility as well as back-up generators. 

Where can I learn more about Malawi?

Please visit the U.S. Department of State’s country information page on Malawi.

How can I get involved? 

Interested partners and donors can contact wiscicamp@worldlearning.org. Unfortunately, volunteers and/or mentors are not being accepted at this time.