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.


What is a STEAM Camp?

STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Design, and 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 Namibia, from June 17 – June 29, 2018. The camp will be hosted at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), a university located in Namibia’s capital city of Windhoek. Camp participants will sleep in supervised dormitories and participate in daily STEAM activities in classrooms, all within the university’s grounds. All camp activities will take place within the confines of the university, 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, NASA, the American Society of Microbiology, and other partners, implemented by World Learning. The inaugural WiSci camp was held in Rwanda in 2015, the second camp was held in Peru in 2016, and last year’s camp was held in Malawi. Learn more about previous WiSci camps.

What are the goals of the camp?

The WiSci Girls STEAM Camp is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for girls to experience new cultures directly from their peers. Campers build lasting global friendships across countries. The primary goal of the camp is to expose and train girls in the STEAM disciplines while instilling them with leadership and social awareness skills to tackle issues within their communities.

What is the deadline to apply to the camp?

The deadline to apply is Friday, February 16, 2018 at 23:59 UTC/GMT. Incomplete and late applications will not be accepted.

Who is eligible to apply for the camp?

Self-identifying girls, ages 15 to 18 at the time of the camp, who are citizens or residents of Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Swaziland, or the United States of America and have at least one year of secondary school classes left at the time of camp are eligible to apply. Applicants must also meet the following eligibility criteria based on their home country:

  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Namibia
  • Swaziland
  • United States of America

Applicants should also have a demonstrated interest in the STEAM fields and engagement in their schools and communities – if the opportunity has been presented to them. Applicants are encouraged to share if they face any personal and/or financial barriers to furthering their interest in learning about and pursuing educational and extracurricular opportunities STEAM fields. Preference will be given to applicants who are interested in learning more about STEAM and have limited financial resources or access to other learning opportunities. Additionally, applicants should be willing to have an open mind and interest in cross-cultural learning experiences.

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 WiSci partners, in addition to transportation to/from the capital city of your home country (origin of departure). Participants can bring a limited amount of spending money for small souvenirs and snacks if they wish.

Limited need-based financial assistance is available for direct costs associated with travel to the capital city to fly to the camp.

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 Namibia. 

How many students will be participating in the camp?

The camp will bring together up to 100 female students. 

Who will the campers interact with during the camp?

Camp participants and young adult counselors will 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 the U.S. Department of State, Girl Up, and World Learning and all staff staying overnight on the camp premises are required to undergo a background check. Classroom facilitators and private-sector partner staff from organizations such as Google and Intel, 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.

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 visit the camp premises or stay on-site.

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 full duration of the 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 late 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, 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 Namibia.

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. NUST has an on-site clinic staffed with a full-time nurse to treat minor ailments. Additionally, counselors and core staff will be trained in first aid. A safety protocol plan will be communicated to all camp participants during orientation. Should any serious medical condition arise, transportation will be available from NUST to the nearest hospital. Campers are responsible for bringing and administering any necessary personal medications.

The camp is implemented in consultation with the Government of Namibia and the U.S. Embassy in Namibia to ensure the safe participation of all campers. The NUST campus is set within a security wall, and security guards are present 24 hours per day.

Where can I learn more about Namibia?

Please visit the U.S. Department of State’s travel information page for Namibia.

How can I get involved? 

Interested partners and donors can contact partnerships@state.gov. Unfortunately, volunteers and/or mentors are not being accepted at this time.