By Samera Edwards, Program Associate
In the town of Madaba, mentors and fellows led an all-day event with different STEM workshops at the Latin Patriarchate School. The day was organized by Ghaida Khader, a Jordanian fellow from 2015 with the goal of inspiring girls to pursue STEM interests by connecting them with positive role models. Ghaida explained to the girls, “After 10th grade, students need to choose their study track. We hope some of you will choose STEM.”
Maram Damous, 2015 fellow from Jordan, coordinated a Fun Science workshop in collaboration with The Alchemist Lab, an interactive science program for children. The Lab facilitated two hands-on lessons for the students: the class first worked in groups to build a platform to hold as much weight as possible using tape and cardboard and then used electronics to create an alarm system.
In another session, students had the opportunity to hear from women in various professional STEM tracks as several delegation members each gave an introduction to their field of work and offered words of motivation. Amel Ghouila, a 2014 fellow from Tunisia, presented on her career and innovations in biomedical research and medicine. Meg Desko, a professional mentor, explained how her career shifted from chemistry to coding, and encouraged the girls to be open to changes in their education or career path. Zoe Schladow, a cultural mentor, explained her passion to the class, “I chose my field because I get to identify problems and then work to find a solution.” Aliya Janjua, a professional mentor, urged the students to consider STEM careers can be possible for anyone. She gave three tips: “One, keep learning. Two, be fearless. Three, show up, and do not apologize for who you are.”
During the next set of workshop sessions, students worked alongside delegation participants to learn basics about computer hardware and programming. Eileen Brewer, a professional mentor, mobilized mentors to lead students through hands-on exploration of computer motherboards using a step-by-step packet she designed. Many of the students mentioned they had never experienced anything similar before – or had never even seen a motherboard – and were engaged in tinkering with the hardware. A programming workshop was led by Sabine El Kahi, a 2014 fellow from Lebanon. Students worked in small groups to use Scratch to create moving images and other basic functions, and they also learned how to use Arduino to create a robotic car.
Visits to schools and working directly with students are always among the highlights of delegation trips for participants. Students were able to immerse themselves in a variety of STEM workshops throughout the day and experience technology in a hands-on manner.