Press release developed for the OAS EducaSTEAM project.
The OAS-SEDI joined the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel® ISEF®) 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to celebrate outstanding students of the Americas for their research projects on science and engineering that have the potential to improve the quality of life of people in the region.
The OAS is committed to initiatives that strengthen the capacity of teachers and of those in charge of projects and programs on STEM education in the Americas. As an example, the project EducaSTEM of the Educational Portal of the Americas has a regional network of STEM professionals, a map of STEM education practices, and organizes technical cooperation missions to promote knowledge exchange on innovative STEM education practices. Therefore each year since 2014 the OAS supports the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel® ISEF®).
In the “Special Recognition Ceremony for Best Science and Engineering Projects for Development in the Americas” special recognition was granted to six outstanding projects in the region and other 44 projects were also recognized, honoring the students and their teachers for their potential contribution to the development of the region. The Selection Committee of this recognition consisted of representatives of the OAS, Intel, and Pauta (Adopt a Talent Program) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
The countries participating in this award were: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, United States, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay. The recognized projects have to potential to lead to substantial improvement in the development of the region. The themes addressed in the projects are: Renewable energy, power generation in rural areas, creating medical devices to detect chronic diseases at very low cost, biological controllers to improve agribusiness, real time environmental pollution detectors, the use of poisons to control cancer cells, and the use of social science to strengthen cultural identities of African descents.
Intel® ISEF® is the largest international pre-college science and engineering competition and provides incentives to millions of students worldwide to develop solutions to different global challenges. This year, 1,700 high school students in grades 9-12 from over 75 countries participated in the competition that awarded nearly US$5 million in awards and scholarships. More than one hundred projects were submitted by students from the Americas, 50 of which were recognized by the OAS.
These projects are the result of the dedication of young people in the Americas, their attentive teachers, families, educational administrators who facilitate the participation process, and national governments organizers of national fairs in science and technology.
The Director of Scientific Culture of the Department of Innovation, Science and Technology of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay, Gustavo Riestra, said that this recognition of the OAS makes students feel valued, that their work is recognized by the region, their professional and academic capacities are boosted and their professional vocations are defined. Dr. Riestra also mentioned that by recognizing teachers who accompany these students the OAS makes teachers appreciate further their professional work, encouraging them to teach differently, not only focusing on the content, but in the application of the content and purpose thereof in a development context.
Javier F. Firpo, Director of Education Programs and CSR of Intel Latin America said: “Intel has spent several years working in collaboration with the OAS in areas of education, teacher training, and STEM. I appreciate and congratulate the OAS for the initiative to recognize regional talent that promotes development in the region. We hope to continue to strengthen this partnership and leverage Intel ISEF® to promote the development of science education in the Americas.”
EducaSTEM will be present at the International Meeting of Virtual Educa Mexico 2015 from 22 to 26 June in Guadalajara, Mexico, with an interactive exhibit called “EducaSTEM: Science in your hands.” The exhibition will be an interactive space where visitors can experience initiatives and projects in STEM education under the guidance of experts and facilitators who with imagination will help visitors experience the fun side of science, its potential for innovation and to solve either everyday issues or development problems in the region.