Globally, girls and women continue to face unique and significant barriers in accessing STEAM education and careers. Fewer girls and women graduate than their male counterparts with advance degrees in the STEAM fields. Women in the global labor force are often paid lower salaries than men in similar jobs and are concentrated in lower skill/lower wage jobs and industries, with significant gaps in higher value added jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
The global community recognizes the gender gaps in STEAM. WiSci partners aligned forces to create WiSci for gender quality in STEAM, aligning with partner goals and with the United Nations’ 2015 Sustainable Development Goals to achieve gender equality and empower all girls and women. In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in STEAM, and to further achieve gender equality and girls’ empowerment, there need to be greater opportunities made available to girls and an increase in investments around girls’ STEAM education: That’s where the WiSci Girls STEAM Camp comes in.
What is the impact of WiSci?
In 2018, an in-depth evaluation of WiSci Camps held in Africa (Rwanda, Malawi, Namibia), was completed by Deloitte. The evaluation gathered insights from surveys completed by campers and interviews with campers, counselors, staff, and over 15 partners from the three WiSci Girls STEAM Camps.
Of the girls surveyed:
– 100% of girls reported that as a result of camp they now
motivate others to be more active in the community;
– 94% said their self-confidence improved as a result of camp;
– 90% Said the camp helped them to be more them to be more empathetic and to see things from others’ perspectives;
– 89% of girls felt their leadership skills improved as a result of WiSci Camp;
– 89% of girls reported that since the camp, they work in their communities to empower other young women;
– For those who are now completing their tertiary (University/College) education, 78% are studying the STEAM subjects!
Are parents allowed to travel and stay with camp participants?
This experience is intended to foster cross-cultural learning for students through a full immersion experience. To maximize the experience for all camp participants, parents will not be allowed to visit the camp premises or stay on-site.
What are the responsibilities of participants before, during and after the camp?
Participants are responsible for attending and actively participating in all camp activities for the full duration of the camp. Campers are expected to be open to new opportunities and to treat each other with kindness and respect to create a safe learning environment for all.
Before camp begins, participants are responsible for obtaining necessary travel documents to travel internationally. Participants will also need to participate in several pre-departure webinars. Additionally, participants will have online activities and suggested readings to complete before the camp to get to know other participants and to enhance their overall camp experience.
Following camp, participants should bring what they’ve learned back with them to their home communities. This knowledge sharing could come in the form of a presentation, workshop, science fair, classroom activity, etc. Previous WiSci campers have started science and coding clubs at their schools, have remained in contact with mentors they met at camp, and have even continued to work on projects they started at the camp with campers from other countries. Campers will also be expected to remain connected to Girl Up and will be connected and informed of additional opportunities as alumnae of a U.S. government exchange program.
What does a typical day at the camp look like?
No day at the WiSci Camp is the same! The camp will encompass all aspects of STEAM alongside cross-cultural and leadership activities. The core STEAM curriculum will offer participants hands-on experience, including work in pairs and small groups. Campers will also participate in leadership development sessions, small group discussions, and cultural-exchange activities including cultural presentations led by the participants themselves. Campers will interact with mentors in various STEAM fields, and there will also be time for other fun activities like arts and crafts and sports. Campers can expect to learn through many different forms and will be busy from morning to lights out/bedtime in the evening.
Further information on the camp schedule will be shared with participants in advance of the camp.
Is the camp really all-expenses paid?
Yes! For campers and counselors, all expenses are covered, including travel costs, food, and lodging.
What does Girl Up look for in applicants? What does the application process entail?
Those who will identify as first-generation college students upon entering college/university are highly encouraged to apply, as well as those applicants who have not previously traveled internationally. Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in the STEAM fields and engagement in their schools and communities – if the opportunity has been presented to them. Preference will be given to applicants who are interested in learning more about STEAM and have limited financial resources or access to other learning opportunities. Additionally, applicants should be willing to have an open mind and interest in cross-cultural learning experiences.
Please check www.girlup.org/wisci for application links. To be selected as a camper, girls must submit an application online, be able to provide the contact information for an adult teacher or mentor (non-family member), complete a virtual interview, and sign a letter of agreement committing to their attendance at camp.
Interested in being a counselor for WiSci Camps?
All WiSci Camps include counselor representatives from all participating countries.
The role of the Camp Counselor is primarily to serve as the core support person for a group of 10 campers, 24-hours a day, with backup and support from program facilitators and Girl Up staff. In addition, the camp counselor facilitates daily Girl Up curriculum for leadership trainings for campers, supports day-to-day programming on-site, accompanies participants during off-site excursions, and develops close relationships with campers.
All camp counselors will be expected to act as a link between the camp management and the campers. They will also be responsible for the general development, skill achievement, safety, and well-being of all campers. This is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of high school girls from all over the world and the United States! You will play a critical role in helping this camp be a life-changing and rewarding experience for them.
Camp Counselors will be considered volunteers. All counselor costs to participate will be covered by Girl Up and partners, including airfare and room and board for the period that they are required to be at camp and training.