Five ICIQers participate as mentors in Inspira STEAM, a pioneering project aimed to promote scientific-technological vocations among girls and young people. Already on its 6th edition, Inspira STEAM is spearheaded by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Deusto, in collaboration with regional coordinators – Universitat Rovira i Virgili being the coordinator for Tarragona.
Inspira STEAM aims to promote scientific and technological vocations among girls. The mentors are at the heart of the project, they voluntarily bring their day-to-day lives closer to students through six work sessions during school hours. The project is based on awareness-raising and guidance actions, taught by professional women working in research, science and technology. The five ICIQers who participate in the project are Dr. Laura Hernández,Dr. Katherine Villa, Dr. Bruna Sánchez, Dr. Imma Escofet, and Meritxell Díaz Estirado.
This is the first time that the group mentoring technique has been used in a project to promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) among primary school students. During the work sessions, topics such as the stereotypes embedded in our society related to labour, science, or the role of women throughout history are addressed. The goal behind the meetings among mentors and students is to help dispel student’s doubts and objections about working in science and technology, to clarify their motivations and to strengthen their self-esteem to start a scientific or technical professional path, if they so wish.
Overall, the five ICIQ mentors will visit three different schools in the Tarragona area during March and May. “The students are aware of the stereotypes and biases regarding women in science because they have already studied the topic at class. But they still struggle when identifying all the science and technology involved in everyday objects, such as sneakers or phones,” explains Dr. Hernández, Outreach & Science education officer at ICIQ.
Inspira STEAM was born from the need to promote scientific and technological vocations among students and the urgency of doing so among girls. The number of students who opt for technology training decreases every year. Even though 54.3% of the total number of students in the Spanish university system are women, their presence in technical degrees such as Engineering and Architecture falls to 26.4%.