The program of the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences of the Adolfo Ibáñez University (UAI) aims to reduce the national gender gap by encouraging and promoting the interest of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM, for its acronym in English). This year, 117 high school students and graduates participated in the UAI Campus Peñalolén and Viña del Mar.
Andrea Riquelme, Journalist.– About 117 students, from 3rd and 4th grade, and high school graduates from different schools in Santiago and Viña del Mar, participated in the second version of “Women in STEM”, a program of the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences of the Adolfo Ibáñez University (UAI), which aims to reduce the national gender gap by encouraging and promoting the interest of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM, for its acronym in English). The program is also an academic certification that allows those who take it and have received a certificate of attendance and approval of various evaluations to apply via special admission to UAI Engineering with a bonus in the weighted score.
During five days, from May 20 to June 17, the students attended the UAI campuses of Peñalolén and Viña del Mar to learn about artificial intelligence, electrical circuits, programming, construction of structures, DNA extraction, among others. Women in STEM classes and workshops were taught by FIC academics, along with the support of the organized group FantásTICas. In addition, the schoolchildren were mentored by UAI Engineering students during each day of the program.
“It is very comforting to see how the students were happy at the end of each day, that they enjoyed solving the different challenges through teamwork. We hope to reaffirm the vocations of the students in STEM, since the female perspective is very necessary in the growing technological development”, affirmed the director of Links with the Media and FIC Communications, Valeria Farías.
For the last day of the program, the programmer, founder of STEMtivist and the first Chilean to win the Grace Hopper Celebration Student of Vision Award; Katherine Vergara, who gave a talk to the students of Peñalolén. In turn, the researcher, academic and the first woman director of the UAI Mechanical Civil Engineering career, Paula Rojas, was in charge of motivating the students in Viña del Mar
As a last workshop, a theoretical class on mechanical energy principles was held, with a practical activity that consisted of building a hydraulic hand. “They are given the opportunity to get to know closely what Engineering means and what they can do by understanding basic concepts of the area. This approach is essential for them to open their minds and become enthusiastic about being STEM women”, commented the professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences UAI and head of the class in Peñalolén, Francisco Ramírez.
It should be noted that recognition was given to outstanding students of the program, who obtained the best grades and attendance in the sessions. “From the program I learned about Biology and Physics and reinforced my interest in studying Computer Engineering. I think this drives many women to want to study a STEM career,” she concluded. Valentina Mella, one of the awarded students.