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    Celebrating Girls in STEMM

    School News

    01 Jun, 2022

    10 : 00

    • In January of this school year, ten YCIS Secondary girls from Pudong and Puxi were selected to participate in the Girls in STEMM programme and visit the innovation labs and offices of ExxonMobil, Henkel, Coca-Cola, Dell, and Merck. Girls in STEMM aims to close the gender gap in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, maths, medicine) fields by engaging girls in STEMM from an early age, exposing them to how STEMM applies in practice, and making connections with successful women in these fields.


      Students had to apply for this programme and were selected based on their interest and passion for the initiative, ability to share their experience with the school community, and adeptness to collaborate with other like-minded students.


      The girls’ first stop was the ExxonMobil Shanghai Technology Center. They toured the labs and machinery, interacted with ExxonMobil scientists and the executive team and learned about their experience in the STEMM industry. Several students became inspired by women executives sharing their career and personal development journeys. YCIS Pudong student Emily shared her feedback after the visit and said,


      “What inspired me the most is how the female directors all had supportive husbands. They showed us how important it is to have an effort for both genders to make a positive impact with gender equity in STEAM-related fields.”


      YCIS Puxi student Elizabeth adds to Emily's sentiment and says,


      “I enjoyed the forum portion of the ExxonMobil visit because we learned about their research and the senior women leaders shared with us the paths that led them to such a position. The latter was especially memorable, as many STEMM fields are often associated with or dominated by men, so seeing these women in executive roles was personally motivating.”


      In March, our young scientists started their tour of Henkel’s Shanghai Innovation Center with an introduction by the President of Henkel Greater China & Global Head of Lifestyle Adhesives Dr Rajat Agarwal who advocates for gender equity. They visited the Thermal Lab to understand the research and development process and the Analytical Lab to see how to test products and make modifications if any issues occur.


      YCIS Puxi student Kaye explains why Henkel was the most intriguing to her:


      “We saw their products used in different real-life scenarios! Henkel produces adhesives and one of the adhesives was for acrylics. The scientists allowed us to use their adhesive and build structures using clear acrylic blocks and UV light. As a chemistry student, I was quite surprised and satisfied to find that I could understand all of the chemistry jargon being thrown around at the labs.”


      Similarly, YCIS Pudong student Jaymee also made connections from the labs to her class lessons.


      “Although we had just started learning organic chemistry around the time of the Innovation Center visit, it was eye-opening to see real-life examples and applications of what I had just learned in class. It intrigued me even more, and I am interested in studying organic chemistry further in the future.”


      We encourage our students to participate in programmes outside of school to make links between the classroom and the real world, develop awareness beyond the classroom and connect with peers who have similar interests and passions.


      YCIS Pudong Careers and University Guidance Counsellor Ms Kyndra Douglass explains how “this programme has helped these young women push themselves out of their comfort zones. Resilience, risk-taking, and passion are qualities universities are looking for in competitive applicants. Universities value applicants who deepen their interests beyond the classroom, so our students are building up strong STEMM-related profiles.”


      Last Wednesday, the Women’s Empowerment Council (WEC) helped us celebrate our students during the virtual Girls in STEMM graduation. Originally scheduled to be hosted at YCIS Pudong Century Park campus, our girls were joined online by industry-leading professionals in aerospace, tech and medicine for a sharing and reflection session. Although we are excited to continue the in-person company visits this autumn, students were presented with a digital certificate of completion to celebrate their journey.


      YCIS Puxi Secondary Physics Teacher Ms Virtue Maake, one of the four Science Department faculty members who have been accompanying the students during their Girls in STEMM journey, shared,


      “They say girls are the future and I believe the future is here with our students. These young ladies have shown that they have the curiosity and motivation to attack the STEMM fields. I am confident that they will strive to inspire and pave the way for other girls to follow in their footsteps.”


      YCIS Shanghai's STEAM programme is rooted both in and outside our curriculum, starting as early as K2 for children aged 2 - 3. In lessons on-campus, for instance, ECE students explore holographics by making a 3D reflector to observe butterflies flying in three dimensions. Primary students aged 5 - 10 learn to build circuits in a coding environment called Tynker and use their coding language skills to program robots called Spheros. Secondary students tinker, hack, explore, and design STEAM projects across multiple subject areas.


      The mastery of a wide range of skills is needed in the workplace today and will be of even greater importance for the next generation. We are excited to see how YCIS students participate and apply STEAM knowledge in and out of school in the future!