#STEMpower Our Girls, a campaign aimed at urging more female students to take science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational tracks, has completed its 2018 to 2019 pilot run in three key Philippine cities.
The campaign, co-led by nonprofit Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) and integrated marketing firm Evident Communications, held a series of culminating events at Harolds Hotel, Cebu City, one of the pilot cities for the program, along with Manila and Cagayan de Oro.
Girls from a total of 52 schools across the three cities participated in career caravans and mentoring and training sessions, which began in September 2018. While the pilot’s cohort is currently at 120, PBEd hopes that both the public and private sector partners can help scale the project in the succeeding years.
“We are currently reviewing the results of the activities, mainly looking at how many of these students expressed interest in pursuing studies in STEM or applied to science high schools,” said PBEd Executive Director Love Basillote.
“The next step for us is to widen the reach of the campaign to more schools and more girls as we move to the second phase and continue to plant the seeds for greater inclusivity in the STEM fields.”
“The pilot phase increased interest and expanded appreciation in STEM not just for students, but the parents as well, as we helped them imagine what else their girls ‘could be’ during the career talks,” added Basillote. “The challenge now is sustaining that interest as they enter high school.”
The campaign did not only give role models to girls intending to enter the field, but also empowered these role models themselves to contribute more to the cause.
“After sharing my story and some words of encouragement, some of the girls & their parents came to me, telling me how much my story has inspired them,” said Microsoft Student Partner Frances Mojica, who spoke on her experiences as a woman in the Information Technology (IT) industry during #STEMpower’s Career Caravan in November 2018. “Seeing these young girls get encouraged by everyone’s story is something that definitely inspired me more to do more for diversity and inclusion in STEM.”
PAGASA weather observer Ger Anne Marie Duran was able to relate to the students as she delivered her talk.
“The most interesting part was seeing all those girls in front of me listening to what I am saying. Like them, I was also a curious kid who doesn’t have any idea on her future towards science,” she said. “Good thing I got to share my experiences with them and maybe give them an insight on how fun it is to be a scientist.”
For Duran, the next step should be to expose these girls further to STEM in their respective schools. “Interest in science starts in the girls’ environment,” she said. “Encouraging them to join clubs, conduct experiments and other activities will spark their love for and eventually pursue STEM-related courses in the future.”
MOVING TO THE DIGITAL SPACE
Another speaker, IBM Technical Solutions Manager Adora Mendoza, suggests generating more social media content about STEM professionals and what they do.
“[The girls’] generation is birthed into the digital age, so we can definitely use social media to educate them that there are a lot of role models they can look up to when society keeps telling them what they can and cannot do,” she said.
Interest is high among target girls and in order to sustain that, parents and teachers should continue to support them and provide more relatable and practical activities that would fully enhance their skills. Besides, parents and teachers “are equally important contributors to the educational and career preference of these girls.”
Through the #STEMPower Our Girls program, Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) and integrated marketing firm Evident Communications are committed to building a community of supporters nationwide that will help Filipino girls reach their full potential and become the country’s science and technology leaders of tomorrow.
For more information, follow #STEMPower Our Girls on Facebook (facebook.com/stempowerourgirls), Instagram (@stempowerourgirls), and Twitter (@STEMPowerRGirls).
FACEBOOK LIVE STREAMING OF THE PRESSCON
PBEd Executive Director Love Basillote on the overview of STEMpower Our Girls Campaign and its journey towards their one-year pilot run
Evident Advocacy Communications Lead Dove Subingsubing on the company profile of Evident Communication and its services
PHOTOS FROM STEMPOWER OUR GIRLS CEBU CULMINATING FORUM
A former educator and now working as a freelance writer. Simply living her own version of life’s passion – music, mobile photography, story telling, road trips and food trailing! 🙂