Over the past few years, women have been increasingly speaking up and asserting themselves as game-changers in innovation, international collaboration, and technological advancement. We have witnessed this global rise in demand for more women’s engagement through the expansion of our own public-private partnership, WiSci, which is now accepting applications for the summer of 2019.
The WiSci (Women in Science) STEAM camp is designed to teach high school girls skills in science, technology, engineering, art and design, and mathematics, fields where there have previously been gender disparities. The camps also expose participants to new cultures, while unleashing their leadership potential and connecting them to top industry leaders. WiSci started in 2015 with its inaugural camp in Rwanda, but has since expanded into four new countries and will now include three camps in 2019 to meet the demand of more young women seeking STEAM opportunities.
This summer, WiSci STEAM camps will be held in three different countries. The first will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from July 3-16 for U.S. and Ethiopian girls. From July 14-27, 100 girls from the United States, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, and Georgia will be invited to join the camp in Tallinn, Estonia. Girls from the United States, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia will be selected to attend a camp in Pristina, Kosovo from August 18-31.
Girls from 22 countries and over 30 states who have participated in WiSci have continued to drive change and innovation in their communities. The program has also helped these young women voice fresh ideas to tackle challenges facing societies today. Seventy-eight percent of WiSci alumnae who are now pursuing post-secondary education have chosen to study in STEAM fields and 89 percent of past participants indicated that since they completed the camp, they have chosen to work in their communities to empower other young women. WiSci also includes some incredible partners such as Intel, Google, GirlUp, Millennium Challenge Corporation, NASA, World Learning, Microsoft, and others that are providing the industry expertise and skills-based learning needed to excel in the modern workforce.
The girls themselves are the best advocates for the impact of the camps. One camper was inspired specifically by the career component saying, “The camp showed me how many different careers there are in science and how diverse they can be…I was reminded at the camp how fun it could be to create things.” Another voiced, “The camp helped me realize how ready other girls are to rise up and dominate the STEAM fields.”
The cultural exchange, mentoring, and gender empowerment aspects also left strong impressions on participants with some commenting, “Just the nature of being with a bunch of people you haven’t met improves your confidence and your ability to make new friends.”
As we continue creating more opportunities for women’s voices to be heard, WiSci is providing the skills-training and confidence-building that will bring these girls off the sidelines and onto the playing field. We look forward to seeing all the incredible stories to come from our 2019 WiSci camps and the impact they will have on girls across the globe.
Apply now at https://www.girlup.org/wisci
About the Author: Megan Soller serves in the Secretary's Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State.