The president and founder of the Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) foundation, Dr. Unoma Ndili Okorafor met with the members of the Chevron Petrotech SIG to network, share her experience & motivation on helping girls in pursuit of a career in STEM, discuss WAAW future plans and the strategies to support female Education in Africa.
It was a good occasion to thank the members for their contributions to the success the 2015 WAAW STEM camp in Lagos, Nigeria. WAAW STEM camp program, a week-long residential camp designed to create an opportunity for secondary school girls to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as well as computer science (CS) through technology-rich demonstrations, classroom presentations, hands-on activities and connections with successful Women in technical fields that serve as role models. Last year summer, Chevron Nigeria Limited hosted 39 secondary school girls who participated in the WAAW camp at the Lekki office. Members of the Chevron Petrotech SIG engaged the girls in STEM career talk and poster sessions – showcasing the different aspects of the upstream sector of the oil industry. Also, they chaperone the girls on the tour of the Lekki Conservation center.
The main theme discussed during the meeting was the importance of mentoring and role modeling for young girls in Africa especially through STEM disciplines. WAAW believes that mentoring is an essential part of STEM programs that inspire women and girls about the myriad career opportunities that can result from a STEM education. Female leaders must be role models to advocate for the possibilities of STEM education and support programs that inspire female students, especially those from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, to study in STEM fields. “We introduce young girls to successful female role models in STEM through programs such as our week-long summer camps for girls, and our college-to-secondary school outreach program. In these programs, we break down stereotypes about the traditionally male-dominated STEM fields and train girls that these fields can lead to successful and exciting careers.” said, Dr.Unoma Okorafor. Industry mentors particularly women in positions of influence are one important link to increasing the pipeline of talent. She encouraged the members of the Petrotech SIG to engage in Mentoring and become part of WAAW role model and mentor community.
Other themes discussed in the meeting focused on some of the challenges faced by Tech. women in the office place and how to discover one’s passion in life and make a difference even in the sphere of influence.
There were lots of questions and answers and the women were really impacted, and inspired to go forth and give back to their society. Several committed to sponsoring a girl’s scholarship or mentoring event. It was a delightful evening.
In the end they had light hor d’ouves. The event was organized by Mrs. Ozzy Ajibade,Petro-tech SIG coordinator, Nigeria.