Day 1 of the festival began in Mumbai at Nehru Science Centre with over 210 girls from four schools in Mumbai - Valiram Bherumal Melwani Model High School (Grant Road), Lokmanya Tilak English High School (Mulund), Udayachal High School (Vikhroli) and H.A. & L.S. Girls High School (Mira Road) gathering for this event. The workshop was inaugurated by his excellency Dr. Juergen Morhard, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Mumbai along with the Guest of Honor, Ms. Brinda Miller. The students were also addressed by Mr. Ajay Durrani, MD, Covestro India as well as partner representatives Mr. Shivaprasad Khened, Director, Nehru Science Center, Ms. Melissa Rancourt, Founder, Greenlight4girls and Ms. Devanshi Dwivedi, Trustee, Chandra Mohan Foundation. Read more on the inaugural here.
The highlight of the day were the motivational session by the Women scientists; Pallavi Deshmukh, Senior Development Chemist-Adhesives at Covestro (India) and Ms. Harpreet A de Singh, President, IWPA. Dr. Pallavi shared about her journey in the field of science and how she never gave up on her determination, despite of challenges coming her way. She personalized it by giving an example of her two young daughters and how she, as a parent, has encouraged them to take up STEM education in the future. Quoting her, “We have to think, be curious and above all courageous.” She truly proved to be an inspiration on the stage.
Ms. Harpreet shared her journey of becoming the first woman pilot with Air India and inspiring other women to follow their dreams. She explained the students what it takes to be an airline pilot briefly and encouraged them to pursue a career in aviation.
Furthermore, she explained how science involves a dash of creativity and is incomplete without it. A very encouraging statement made by her was, “You made it here, now get 10 more with you and each woman is capable of doing that.”
This was followed by the experiments and hands-on training for the girls.
Overall, it was an exciting, fun-filled day for the girls, who seemed genuinely curious and inquisitive about what they were being taught.
9th October, 2018
Day 2 of the festival was an action packed day with about 186 girls attending the workshop from Lokmanya Tilak English High School, Mulund; Shiv Shikshan Sanstha's English Medium School, Sion; Euro School, Airoli; Chikitsak Samuh Shirolkar High School, Girgaon and Sharadashram Girls Technical School, Dadar.
The day started with Dr. Pallavi Deshmukh welcoming the girls to the workshop and sharing her journey in field of science briefly. This was followed by an inspiring session by our Scientist, Dr. Swati Patankar, Professor at IIT Bombay in the Biosciences and Bioengineering department. Her session was highly interactive as the students were keen to know more about pursuing a career in Engineering and how the latter relates with Biology. She proved herself as a true mentor to the young minds when she said, “Don’t give up, be comfortable with your failures.”
Post these sessions, the students headed to the workshops lined up for them. It was yet another eventful day of the #STEM4GirlsFestival2018.
10th October, 2018
Nehru Science Centre was buzzing with energy and enthusiasm on the 3rd day of the #STEM4GirlsFestival2018, which had 210 girls from 7 schools across Mumbai participating in the workshops. Dr. Surekha Zingde, President of Indian Women Scientists’ Association and former Dy. Director of Cancer Research Institute, Tata Memorial Centre, addressed the students.
Dr. Zingde showcased examples of prominent Indian women achievers in the field of STEM starting from Dr. Anandibai Joshee, the first woman doctor to practise western medicine in the 1800s to present day achievers. She showcased the real world picture for the girls by discussing roadblocks and challenges faced by women while pursuing a career in STEM. The key issue that she covered in her session was that of girls pursuing STEM studies but many of them failing to make a full-fledged career out of it due to multiple reasons. The educator in her came forth in her message to the students, “Learning never stops. If you encounter a roadblock, you can always begin again.”
The schools that participated in the workshops were Bai RFD Panday Girls High School, Children’s Academy Ashok Nagar, S.M. Shetty High School & Junior College, Smt. Ramdevi Sobhraj Bajaj Arya Vidya Mandir, Taiyebiyah Girls High School, Arya Vidya Mandir and SEAL Foundation.
11th October, 2018
Today was a very special day for all of us at the #STEM4GirlsFestival2018 because it coincided with the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child. The theme for this year is 'With Her: A Skilled GirlForce' which aims at bringing together partners and stakeholders to highlight, advocate for and invest in girls’ most pressing needs and opportunities to attain skills for employability. Their vision to make women skilled, employable and independent bears resemblance to our own. Through our STEM workshops, we are introducing young girls to the opportunities available for them to pursue a career in STEM in the future.
For the 4th day of the #STEM4GirlsFestival2018, we welcomed 210 girls from 5 schools across Mumbai. The sessions for today were conducted in local languages – Hindi and Marathi. Our chief guest, Dr. Alpa Bharati, Cardiac imaging consultant at Wadia Hospital, had an interesting talk with the students wherein she explained the girls why it is important to follow their passion and not feel guilty about doing so. She further added that many a times girls tend to doubt their all capabilities in the face of failure, but instead they must take this in their stride and not give up. She urged the students to always aim high and have the courage to dream big. Her message to the students was, “Push your limits, take risks and never be afraid to fail.”
In honour of the International Day of the Girl Child, we organised a fun activity that involved our female volunteers, who are engineers, interacting with the students and mentoring them about STEM careers. The highlight of the day was the girls gathering outdoors and shouting the slogan ‘Namumkin kuch nahi’ which means ‘Everything is possible’ and that is the belief we want to leave these young minds with.
The schools that participated on Day 4 of the workshop were: Karmveer Bhaurao Patil Vidyalaya, Guru Nanak High School, Nabar Guruji Vidyalaya, Balmohan Vidyamandir and ICL High School.
12th October, 2018
Day 5 was an exceptional day for us since we reached out to a thousand girls within 5 days of our Mumbai edition of #STEM4GirlsFestival2018. We did something different today by customising the sessions and workshops. We conducted them in Marathi, which is the native language of the state. All the girls truly enjoyed the session since Marathi is their mother tongue so it made easy for them to grasp everything that was being taught.
Our in-house scientist, Dr. Pallavi Deshmukh, had a detailed discussion with these girls where she not only spoke about just her journey, but also enlightened them about opportunities in STEM that they were unfamiliar with. She explained what NASA is all about and what it does, and the Indian counterpart, ISRO.
Mrs. Manjula Yadav, who has been a part of Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai, since 30 years, joined us to make the event more interesting. She helps to run the Innovation Hub at the Centre. Encouraging the kids to think out-of-the-box and pursue science from an innovative perspective, she shared examples from her experiences at the Innovation Hub.
The session was ended with a fun activity, where both the students and teachers were asked to pen down their aspirations on a piece of paper and discuss them with the rest. These post-it notes were then showcased for other students to have a look.
The event proved to be fruitful, and we hope our initiative steers these girls towards their life goals.
The participating schools for today were: Saraswati Vidyalaya Semi English School, Saraswati Vidyalaya Marathi medium School, Gopinath Patil Jr. College, Bhimadri Vidyalaya, Saraswati Madhyamik Vidyalaya and Janata High School.
13th October, 2018
Today was the last day of our Mumbai edition. And what a day it was!
Namita Devidayal, a journalist, author of three books and trained classical singer surprised us with her early morning visit. She talked about the Art in STEM learning. Namita not only shared her experiences from the field of writing, but emphasised on 'not being let down by failure' and the importance of pursuing your passion as your profession.
Our expert of the day was Dr. Sunali Khanna, who teaches and undertakes research in the areas of oral medicine, maxillofacial radiology, trace elements and oral cancer at Nair Hospital Dental College, Mumbai, a premier institute in India. She is a keen environmental health scientist and activist and hence, her research highlights the importance of environmental health issues in the public sphere. Dr. Khanna has published more than five dozen papers in indexed journals and has been widely cited.
She urged the students to seize opportunities that come in their way and be focused on their chosen path at this young stage of their lives. Also, she says it is alright to be confused with so many choices available. She talked about participating in extracurricular activities or risk burn out.
Since, it was our last day in Mumbai, we decided to do something different. Thanks to the talented dancers in today's batch. We had an impromptu performance.
A bunch of girls taught a few dance steps to the audience and we had the entire auditorium grooving.
Today, we saw a participation of 201 girls that made our total count of Mumbai reach up to 1202.
The schools that participated were NES National Public School, Ram Ratna International School, The Cathedral and John Connon School, ICL MON-AMI School, Maulana Azad High School and Muljibhai Mehta International School.
We are excited to begin our next journey of #STEM4GirlsFestival2018 in Calicut on 8th November.