MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Mano Amiga Philippines recently hosted an online kick-off event for their STEM Femme Club, a virtual and at home program for young girls who want to deepen their understanding and appreciation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The STEM Femme Club is a program that encourages girls ages 11-17 to start taking their first steps into the field of STEM. The program is under Mano Amiga’s STEM Warriors Camp, which seeks to create a virtual STEM camp for kids ages 7-9 and girls ages 11-17. The STEM Warriors Camp is supported by an international education grant from 3Mgives, the global social investment arm of 3M.
In partnership with 3M Philippines, Mano Amiga Philippines has launched this camp which aims to bring the STEM world to one’s doorstep. The program has three major components: a Take Home Lab, wherein STEM kits are sent to Mano Amiga’s students for them to do experiments at home; STEM instructional videos, which showcase doable STEM activities for kids to do at home, using readily available materials; and the STEM Warriors Club for Girls, which exposes girls to the STEM world and for them to consider pursuing careers in the STEM fields.
Through these activities, the STEM Warriors aims to strengthen core skills, create an early interest, and foster a lifelong love for STEM learning among kids all over the Philippines. To date, the club now has close to 600 members nationwide.
Members of the STEM Femme Club will get to have exclusive activities such as STEM challenges with prizes, meet-and-greet opportunities with women in STEM, and a STEM tour with 3M Philippines. The kick-off event was also an opportunity for the girls to make new friends, as well as learn more about the opportunities for girls and women in the STEM field. Young girls are empowered to overcome gender biases and pursue the future careers in the fields they desire.
Atty. Chel Ramirez-dela Cruz, 3M Philippines’ Asia Consumer Business Group General Counsel, Country General Counsel, and Country Government Affairs and Markets Lead, delivered the opening remarks, sharing 3M’s humble beginning in the Philippines and the company’s advocacy of inclusivity in STEM. She also shared how 3M Philippines’ partnership with Mano Amiga Philippines transpired.
“With science being more important than ever to solve our global challenges, it is critical that the general public appreciates, celebrates, and supports science,” explained Ramirez-dela Cruz. “Science isn’t just for metro cities. It works for everyone who wants to do good, for everyone who is curious.”
As a science-based company, 3M allocates resources and shares knowledge to promote science among different publics. “We want to encourage you to celebrate science of everyday. This event is just the first step towards a very exciting and educational program,” added Ramirez-dela Cruz.
Meanwhile, Janice Lao, a multi-awarded Filipina environmental scientist, development economist, and sustainability leader, opened up about her personal experiences in STEM, and shared both the highs and lows of her journey.
“The beauty with science is that it does not claim to know the answers before it asks the questions,” shared Lao. “There is nothing wrong with not knowing; it means there is more to learn.”
This continuous curiosity of hers is what pushed Lao to pursue a career in STEM, and her love and connection to nature is what encouraged her to go into environmental science. Her connection to the environment is brought up in her next point—that the way STEM is taught needs to be changed.
“The way we teach math and science is so disconnected from reality,” commented Lao. “If only we taught math and science as if it is a natural part of our world, then that’s when we start seeing its beauty. And that’s why I love this club, that’s why I love Mano Amiga.”
Mano Amiga Philippine Executive Director Lynn Pinugu shared, “Gender stereotypes about STEM make it challenging for girls to express their interest in STEM and to pursue activities and engagements that will help them in succeeding in the field. Joining the STEM Femme club will not only give girls access to STEM resources and networks that will be helpful for them, but it will also give them the confidence to pursuing STEM through the support of the community and inspiration from meeting STEM Heroes who are just like them.”
“3M believes in the power of collaboration and that people are our biggest assets. We recognize and celebrate their strengths, talents, and diversity. 3M’s partnership with Mano Amiga Philippines is proof of their commitment to making STEM resources accessible to teachers, parents, and students everywhere,” stated Ramirez-dela Cruz.
For more information about the STEM Femme Club, please visit: https://www.stemwarriorsclub.com/