Monday, June 17, 2024

Girls in STEM Club: Empowering Future Innovators

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By: Kodou Jeng Gaye

In the ever-evolving landscape of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), it is crucial to cultivate interest and participation among young students, especially girls. Recognizing this need, a group of dedicated women in STEM founded the Girls in STEM Club. This initiative aims to nurture problem-solving skills, increase participation, and foster confidence among girls through a structured series of activities designed for each academic term.

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A core objective of the Girls in STEM Club is to expose students early to research writing. This not only hones their problem-solving skills but also lays a strong foundation for academic and professional success. By engaging in research writing, students learn to think critically, analyze data, and present their findings coherently.

Increasing the percentage of girls in STEM fields is a primary goal of the club. Through advocacy and mentorship, the club aims to build confidence and provide role models for young girls. Experienced women in STEM offer guidance, share their journeys, and support students in navigating their own paths in STEM.

Engaging students in meaningful classroom discussions is vital for deepening their understanding and interest in STEM. The Girls in STEM Club facilitates these discussions, encouraging students to explore various topics, ask questions, and develop a passion for science and technology. Encouraging scientific innovation and practical problem solving is at the heart of the club’s mission. Students are inspired to think creatively and apply their knowledge to real-world challenges, fostering a hands-on approach to learning.

During the first semester, members of the Girls in STEM Club participate in a panel discussion. The club is divided into four working teams, each representing a branch of STEM. Two members from each group engage in discussions on topics provided by Women in STEM (WiSTEM). This activity aims to develop public speaking skills and deepen the students’ understanding of various STEM fields.

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The second term focuses on research writing and presentation. Each group works on a specific project, which they present during an assembly. These projects are implemented practically and showcased at a STEM Fair. At the fair, participating groups present their findings before a panel of judges. The best projects represent their school at the National STEM Fair, where an inter-school competition takes place among the selected groups.

In the third term, the club organizes a Career and STEM Fashion Day. Members of WiSTEM visit the school to discuss various STEM careers with students. The highlight of the event is a fashion show where students dress as STEM professionals. Participants present on the profession they represent, blending creativity with career exploration.

The Girls in STEM Club is proud to have active chapters at several institutions, including:

– University of Science Engineering and Technology (USET)
– Gambia College
– Mansa Colley Senior Secondary School
– St. Peter’s Senior Secondary School
– Nustrat Senior Secondary School
– Marina International School
– Al Furqan Islamic School
– Methodist Academy
– Sbec International High School
– Mbolo Skills Center in Tujereng

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In addition to these existing clubs, WiSTEM is committed to expanding its reach by opening new chapters in provincial schools. This expansion will ensure that more girls across the region have access to the resources and support needed to thrive in STEM fields.

The Girls in STEM Club is more than just an extracurricular activity; it is a movement to empower young girls to pursue their interests in STEM. Through carefully designed activities, mentorship, and advocacy, the club aims to build a supportive community that fosters scientific curiosity and innovation. WiSTEM is open for partnerships and collaborations to further expand its impact. As we look forward to the next academic year, we are excited to see the positive impact this initiative will have on our future innovators.

Kodou Jeng Gaye
President and Founder, WiSTEM

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