Covestro inspires girl students in India with #STEM4Girls2019 Festival
This year, the girls brought in as participants were mostly from those schools where laboratories have been installed as a part of Covestro’s Brighter World Lab project. Such schools include government and government-aided schools, municipal schools, tribal schools, and a few private schools, mostly from the vernacular medium. Respecting their regional language, the speakers spoke in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and Tamil wherever possible, to be to able create a deeper connection with the girls.
This programme is carried out on ground with the support of local volunteers, who are typically female college students studying in science or, are undertaking teacher training. They are adequately briefed about the STEM4Girls approach and philosophy. For example, it is important for the participants to be allowed to make mistakes. “Are you alright?” is what they hear should something go wrong. They are encouraged to repeat the experiment any number of times until they get it right.
77 volunteers were engaged during the workshops in 2019. Having them on board to conduct the experiment sessions was also one of the levers for motivation for the participants. “I can do it” is the feeling with which each participant leaves with.
The speakers at #STEM4Girls2019 hailed from diverse professions like scientific research, academics, medicine, engineering, space science and administration. The zeal and zest of our speakers, broke myths about women and STEM-related careers, ignited young minds and filled them with dreams of a myriad possibilities.
Watch this video to see our speakers sending out waves of inspiration!
Our elite speaker list for this season:
Dr. Dhruvi Bharwad, Social Research Officer with Space Applications Centre, ISRO
Geeta Sharma – Principal, Shree Shyam Singh Smarak Vidyalaya, Noida
Dr. Kusum Rawal – Gynaecologist, Dharampur
Dr. Krishna Rajput – Lecturer, Deptt Zoology, K.B.S. College, Vapi
Jharna Taneja, Deputy Chief Engineer, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, NTPC
Hetal Pandiya – Scientist/ Engineer, Space Applications Centre, ISRO - Ankaleshwar
Dr. Manasi Rajyadhyaksha – Founder, Concept Unlimited and Science Communicator, Marathi Vigyaan Parishad
Dr. Kamakshi Bhate – Emeritus Professor, Community Medicine, KEM Hospital Mumbai
Dr. Nishigandha Naik – Director – Haffkine Institute for Training, Research and Testing, Mumbai
Dr. Sunali Khanna – Professor, Nair Hospital Dental College, Mumbai
Professor Vidita Vaidya – Deptt. of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Prof. Shubha Tole – Deptt of Biological Sciences, TIFR, Mumbai
Maria Einig – Deputy Consul General of Federal Republic of Germany
Shivaprasad Khened – Director, Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai
Melissa Raincourt – Chairman & Founder, Greenlight for Girls
Chintan Joshi – Head, Corporate Communications, Covestro India
Testimonials from a few girl students who participated in #STEM4Girls2019:
Veena Dubey, Mumbai – “We got a chance to learn new things as well as to revise concepts that we had read about in our textbooks. This experience almost made us feel that we are already scientists!”
Krisha Rajput, Dharampur –“We had never done such experiments that we did during this workshop. I admire the attitude of the organizers towards girls and we hope that this event happens here every year.”
To get a more comprehensive picture about the STEM4Girls project, click here
Let us take a tour through the five locations and see how the girls fared at each of the locations.
Noida: November 4-9, 2019
812 girls across 10 schools waited with bated breath to join the STEM4Girls sessions as political turmoil and weather disturbances derailed our schedule.
Coming from a rather conservative section of the society, the girls deemed it a privilege and had a sense of pride to wear the laboratory coat and conduct the experiments. They were egged on to show their work to their families and share their pride.
In fact, the Noida sessions showed us how we could explore ‘Nature Vs. Nurture’. Art was brought into this introduction to STEM, where they were asked to draw how the lit-up LED would look like when connected to the circuit. This helped them cover the ground from their zone of comfort to an idea that was brand new for them.