Fostering Female Leadership through S.T.E.A.M. Activities

  • Education
  • Youth
  • Women & Gender
  • Technology
  • Moldova
This project is led by Autumn Curran, a Volunteer from California

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A local community intends to host a 5-day summer camp to support female leadership in S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, math) careers in partnership with a neighboring community. Because of the school's close proximity, to the neighboring community's school, we plan to invite students and staff from both schools to participate in both the planning and implementation of the camp in order to foster their relationship and build a more defined network of community professionals. 20 students from each school are expected to participate. Additionally, 5 teachers, 2 parents, and 6 students will be involved in the planning, implementation, and evaluation. A local counterpart will facilitate sessions on math and technology as she is both the Math and Computer teacher at both schools. Another counterpart will facilitate sessions on art. A third counterpart will lead sessions on science as she is the Biology teacher in one of the communities. By having the PCV's local counterparts lead the sessions, parents will gain valuable experience and students will see local women working and promoting careers and interest in the domain of STEAM. Aside from providing extracurricular opportunities for career exploration, the camp will focus on developing leadership abilities in all students, but especially women. Over the course of a week, each day will have different theme; Day 1:Leadership, Day 2: Math/Science, Day 3: Engineering/Art Day 4: Leadership & Women in STEAM Professions Panel, and Day 5: Mural Painting and a Field Trip. The panel will be composed of local women working in STEAM fields. The field trip will take students into the country capital to visit the national art museum and participate in a IT course where students will learn the basics to app designing and coding.

The idea for the camp originated from an active student who serves as the Health Club president. Furthermore, the needs assessment conducted with parents indicated that one of their primary concerns was lack of extracurricular opportunities for youth engagement, particularly on weekends and during the summer vacation. To address the disconnect found in the data provided by our needs assessment, a round table meeting was held with members of the community; including parents, teachers, and students. Through this discussion a plan of action has been created, community project heads of been appointed and a youth club council has been created.

Sustainability will be a key component of this projects model. Stakeholders have been involved in each step thus far and will continue to be involved to ensure continued participation after the program’s conclusion. Teachers will acquire skills and knowledge to continue to promotion of youth and girls in an extracurricular setting. Partner and students will gain confidence self organizing for future activities. Furthermore, the grant team will gain skills on the process of project design, implementation, and monitoring to be used on future projects. Finally, a meeting will be held at the conclusion of the camp to discuss how future projects could be implemented in a similar fashion without funding.

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