The Joule Foundation was formed with a purpose of giving back and encouraging young women in the African continent to pursue an education in the field of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Our initial goal is to implement various academic programs and workshops that will complement the education curriculum in the secondary schools that we will be working with, to improve and diversify the STEM education curriculum. In order to achieve that effectively, we need to understand the current academic perspectives and needs, as well as other socio-economic constraints and/or challenges. Why call it the Joule Foundation? The "Joule" is defined as the SI unit of energ... read more The Joule Foundation was formed with a purpose of giving back and encouraging young women in the African continent to pursue an education in the field of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Our initial goal is to implement various academic programs and workshops that will complement the education curriculum in the secondary schools that we will be working with, to improve and diversify the STEM education curriculum. In order to achieve that effectively, we need to understand the current academic perspectives and needs, as well as other socio-economic constraints and/or challenges. Why call it the Joule Foundation? The "Joule" is defined as the SI unit of energy. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed but it can be transformed from one form to another. The Joule's SI base units can be represented by kgm2/s2 and therefore if we give a person (kg) a platform (m2) over time (s2) that energy can be used to transform and change our world for the better. There are numerous factors that affect the secondary school retention rates of the African girl such as economic, social and cultural factors. It is our goal that a student with academic aptitude and a career aspiration in the STEM focus, should not be held back in attaining an education and an eventual career due to financial limitations. In some families in Africa, it has not been a priority to educate a girl beyond the primary school level of education. However, numerous articles and literature, such as the book "What works in Girls' Education" by Gene B. Sperling, have found that in educating a girl, once she has a career and a family of her own, she is more likely to encourage higher education for all her children. Education is also likely to increase her awareness of the preventative measures for diseases such as Malaria that kills one child every 30 seconds to HIV/AIDS - the largest cause of orphaned children in Africa. Why STEM? As technology has literally turned our world upside down by bringing it closer through the internet, social media and web applications, it is crucial that Africa is well prepared and well positioned to meet the demands of the ever-increasing technological advances in the world. Essential skills are needed to keep up in a fast-paced technologically advanced world. Therefore, a STEM education focused on solving relevant real-life problems is crucial. For example, "UNESCO stated in 2014 that 2.5 million new engineers and technicians are required in sub-Saharan Africa to provide the clean water and sanitation the continent desperately needs" To make this a reality, promotion of STEM education is needed. While we tackle this problem, why not address the gender parity issue and advocate for more women in STEM education. Women are underrepresented in this technical field as it already is. It is important that future breakthroughs are also shaped by the perspective of about half the population. Sub-Saharan Africa needs more resources and pathways dedicated to developing STEM education in the continent. The Joule Foundation co-founders and board of directors is composed of young women and men with with a passion and a heart for the people of Africa. Some of the members have a cultural and educational background from Africa. The board of directors is comprised of PhD graduates in STEM and MBA graduates, who are individuals with strong leadership experience, a passion for service and a desire to see the world become a better place, by changing one life at a time. The co-founders are PhD graduates from Purdue University's College of Engineering and are currently practicing engineers within their fields. They have had experience in various leadership roles during their time at Purdue. Examples include the Women in Engineering Program, College of Engineering recruiters, Global design team for the Purdue Global Engineering Program, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGED) and Engineering Programs in Community Service (EPICS), a unique program in which teams of undergraduates are designing, building, and deploying real systems to solve engineering-based problems for local community service and education organizations. Currently, the co-founders are actively involved with various outreach and mentoring activities at their local places of work. Their personal stories are a testament of how an education is a very valuable asset in the life of a young woman in Africa. We are looking forward to potentially partnering with various companies and academic institutions with similar or complementary goals that will enhance our cause with positive ramifications. This is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. It is a cause in which we believe that we are the living proof, of what a difference an education can make in the life of a young woman, a family, a community, a nation and the world. This is the Joule Foundation. Please join us in our motto, "Give her a chance. Let her achieve"
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