WAAW Foundation 2013 STEM Camp – A Success!

WAAW Foundation 2013 STEM Camp – A Success!

Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation in partnership with Womens Technology Empowerment Center (W.TEC) Nigeria just concluded a high quality, exciting and technically challenging one week residential Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) camp for African Girls in Senior Secondary School (9th to 12th Grades). The theme of the camp was Robotics and Renewable Energy. The camp was held from July 28th to August 3rd at the Laureates College in Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.

The girls were from various public and private schools in Lagos. During the camp, the girls made generators, water purification system, automata, robots and windmills from simple and readily available materials put together with out-of-textbooks knowledge. The camp was full of various activities and all of them experienced the process of designing and making various types of robots, alternative energy generation and supply technologies. The girls had the opportunity to make projects based on what they learned in camp and were legal to buy provigil online able to showcase their projects during the closing ceremony to parents, friends and co-campers.

Joy Olufemi of Princeton College,  Feykunmi Akindileni of Airforce Secondary school, Comfort Ogunojuwo and Grace Ogen, both of Bolade Senior Grammar School teamed up to build a six by five inches windmill from Balsar wood. They used a five volts motor to power the windmill, but they were able to use a parallel circuit to boost the voltage to a level that could generate adequate electricity to power a household. Olufemi said, “What we have made is capable of providing electricity supplies to houses, be used in pumping water from a distant source to homes and areas that they are needed among other uses.”

Similarly, Maria Akpom of Gboya Girls Senior High School, Tolulope Adelegan and Mercy Ohanacho of Bosgram College all in Lagos, were able to make a robot that is driven by a censor to avoid dark spots. Akpom who spoke on behalf of her team disclosed that they used the law of reflection and refraction to develop the censor. “We are optimistic that robots could be used to help earth moving machines and commonly used vehicles in their routine functions,” Akpom said. She also said they aim to make a robot that could identify potholes on roads, pick objectives and do other essential functions that are of benefit to the safety and comfort of humans, especially in a country like Nigeria.

Dolapo Nurudeen of Laureates College and her team were able to use basic and readily available plastic materials like plastic containers to make water purifying technology, and showed how it could make very dirty water almost portable.

“The camp used an integrated learning approach centered on the theme to show how robotics, computer science and programming are useful for solving significant problems in Africa, including electricity generation,” Dr. Unoma Okorafor, Founder WAAW Foundation said.

Chief Executive Officer, W.Tec, Oreoluwa Somolu, who was on ground to give tips to the kids on computer and ICT said the girls have demonstrated that they could fill in the desired technological gap for Nigeria and indeed, Africa if adequately empowered.

The Robotics STEM camp, the first of its kind in Africa, included hands on activities, lectures, tutorials, and experiments, all led and presented by female role models as an avenue to develop the girl’s interest in STEM careers and fields.

Participants were African girls (ages 13 – 17) who show high aptitude and interest in STEM disciplines, drawn mostly from government public schools fed by low income families, who otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn about or be exposed to possible STEM careers.

According to WAAW founder, the camp is designed to challenge traditional African societal beliefs that female education is wasted resources. She said, “It is intended to also demonstrate that STEM innovation helps solve real problems in the communities in which our participants live.”

Dr. Okorafor said the program will be evaluated based on increased students’ awareness of STEM careers, and increased excitement, participation, recruitment and retention into careers that are dependent on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

“The broader impact of our STEM camps is to alleviate poverty in Africa by promoting technology innovation and female education as two key components of economic development,” she disclosed.

The 2013 hands-on camp was technically driven by Dr Kaye Smith, Associate Professor of Physics and STEM Education at St. Catherine University, Minnesota, USA, who has had over 12 years of industrial experience in Research and Development, manufacturing and technical service.

She was backed by Frances Van Sloun, a Mechanical Engineering graduate of St. Thomas University in Minnesota who served as the Assistant Director at Wolf Ridge ELC Camp in Finland, Minnesota where she has experience training and working with staff and counselors.

We are grateful to all our sponsors, family and friends who have contributed in one way or the other to the success of the Camp. Thank you!!

Ebele Agu

Ebele is a certified Special Education Teacher in Texas and has recently finished a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Texas in Arlington. She has taught a diverse group of students in several Texas charter schools where she has mentored children from low socio-economic background. She has worked as a Management Consultant/Trainer; with training specialization in Leadership/Management and Interpersonal Skills, focusing on the Behavioral and Psychometric aspects of learning interventions. She is a PRINCE 2 Project Management Foundation expert and a Thomas International System Certified User. She is a volunteer Executive Director for WAAW Foundation.

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