Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science

by Society for Scientific Advancement
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Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Introduction to Immunity
Introduction to Immunity

Under the theme 'Demystifying Vaccines', we hosted primary and secondary school students in some virtual STEM fun! We explored the world of vaccines, a hotly debated topic currently... 

Starting off with an explanation of our immune system and how it works, we discussed different kinds of immunity and the type that vaccines confer. We next delved into the stages of vaccine development, and eventually landed on the COVID-19 vaccines and what made them similar and different compared to the vaccines before them. 
Given differing public opinions, we designed this session to inform students about vaccines, and to encourage them to do their own research. The key take-away here was to seek out reliable (and multiple!) sources of information. 
During the first breakout room session, students were able to simulate an outbreak, with and without a vaccine, to see how it is that a highly vaccinated population developed herd immunity, thereby protecting even the unvaccinated from the virus. 
In the second session, students were given insight on what it's like to be a clinical trial participant, including the measures taken to protect the participants.
We got some feedback that the session boosted STEM interest and confidence, or reinforced dreams of pursuing STEM careers -
"My dream is to become a doctor and participating in this workshop has given me a new drive to pursue that dream."
 
"Boosts my knowledge because id like to be a doctor one day."
 
"It has increased my love for engineering."
 
For others, it increased their knowledge of the field, with one student having a chuckle over their newly found knowledge:
 
"I did not know what herd immunity was. I hadn't even HERD of it. Get my joke?"
 
We get the joke :) 
 
But one thing the students all had in common? They would all attend another STEPS workshop!
 
Here's to another successful STEPS, thank you for your continued support!!!
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What does it mean to be lab grown?
What does it mean to be lab grown?

How do Coding and Lab Grown Meat go together?

In a workshop designed to introduce cutting-edge technology, where we focus on innovation and environmental health – our students bring us back down to earth…

What topic are they most enthralled with? Cow farts!!

We harness their enthusiasm – after all, cows produce methane, which over time impacts climate change. So, the topic that intrigued our young audience could be the basis of a sustainable solution to our climate issue!

 We combine subject areas – computer science, biology, and engineering. Students were introduced to computer coding to simulate their very own lab grown meat! First, they generated code to create growth medium in a virtual environment. This became the ideal environment to “grow” their own laboratory derived meat. Next, Step by step, they coded “meat berries”.

The end result – “meat grown in a virtual lab!!” – as our students exclaimed. Using this multi-dimensional learning approach, we facilitated lively discussions on how lab-grown meat could positively influence the climate and the environment. We touched on topics ranging from how traditionally grown meat may be contaminated with bacteria after being slaughtered, and lab grown meat could avoid this bacterial contamination. We also discussed the potential for lab grown meat to provide more control over nutritional content, which became a strong topic for debate amongst the young minds.

Our participants thoroughly enjoyed the coding activity, many counting it as the activity they enjoyed most for the day. We were able to reignite one student’s passion for coding as they commented on that aspect as their favorite activity, “I loved coding but I forgot about it until they (the facilitators) were talking about it”.

Other students enjoyed learning about coding and its utility based on one of their future goals – to create an app. Another student’s feedback reassured us that we accomplished our mission when he said that the day’s activities influenced him to do more research into the world climate clock and what technology can do to help.

SOSA is dedicated to keeping all young students abreast of the advancement of technology in our world and how it may impact us. We appreciate your continued support in this venture!

Meat grown in a virtual lab!
Meat grown in a virtual lab!
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Lab grown meat discussion
Lab grown meat discussion

Given the realities of the pandemic, STEPS went virtual this year! We maintained our hands-on approach for our 150+ students! Our theme this year, “Do good for yourself, do good for the world”, had an overarching focus on climate change. Original videos and interactive games were created to engage students with concepts such as how agriculture, nutrition and technology can be utilized to improve the climate crisis by improving time on the climate clock.

 

Students learnt about modern inventions aimed at improving farming practices and how limiting the use of pesticides can decrease the run-off into neighbourhood water sources. They were also eager to learn how to be more eco-friendly and the importance of managing their food waste. Overall, they were excited to learn about the links between technology and agriculture processes that could either benefit or harm the environment.

 

Our participants found the sessions informative and interesting. They loved how interactive the sessions were, with over 90% giving a score of 8 out of 10 for how much fun they had! The students also left comments describing their STEPS experience, such as “This is a dream come true” and “I used to think STEM was boring, but now I think it is extremely fun”. One repeat participant said “This is even better than the first time I came to a STEPS workshop”, which perfectly reflects SOSA’s commitment to continuously improve the value of the program. Many students are in anticipation of their next invitation.

 

SOSA is definitely reaching its goal of creating ambassadors for STEM, as one student was sure to let us know “I am now considering to be a scientist and help the world”. It is exciting to see the impact of our program given the pandemic and we are happy to announce that we have more virtual programming coming up very soon!

 

Thank you for enabling us to continue to reach these students! Look out for more to come!!

Learning about Cell Culture!
Learning about Cell Culture!
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Participant location by parish
Participant location by parish

The world is in the middle of a pandemic and we are all adjusting to a new normal. This is no different at SOSA, where we have had to be nimble to quickly pivot and adjust to keep our programmes running and our youth engaged.

The result of this was STEPS Online 2020 where we took our summer programmes virtual. Our first event was hosted on June 22 and 23, 2020 and was a resounding success!

The workshop focused on Computer Science (Learning to Code), Virology, and Epidemiology - a very timely component as the world watches as scientists track the development and spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Participants loved the workshops with almost 70% ranking the 2 days at an 8 and above on a 10-point scale for fun factor. As for the impact of the workshop, this participant summed it up nicely,I did not know that R was a programming language, I had no idea what bioinformatics was about, and I also had never heard about Scratch as a programming language.”

In July, we hosted another 2-day workshop covering non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and engineering, including 3D printing and aerospace engineering. Students joined us for a mixture of presentations and hands-on learning guided by specialist speakers. This event saw SOSA expanding its reach all across Jamaica.

Once again, participants found the sessions to be fun and a majority (86%) indicated that their interest in science was an 8 and above on a 10-point scale at the end of the workshop. This represents a whopping 68% increase in the interest level prior to the beginning of the workshop!

Comments from our participant included:

“I have an increased urge of wanting to be a scientist.”

“I wasn't sure what career and educational path I wanted to pursue but [now] I know about a lot of different careers in STEM which I could pursue.”

Go team SOSA, job well done!

 

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We'd like to begin by thanking you for your continued support in these uncertain times. As you know our programming is usually local in Jamaica, but as the world copes with COVID-19, SOSA evolves. For seven years we have offered an on the ground, hands-on experience for our students, but in 2020, STEPS is going virtual! Despite being spurred by the pandemic, in actuality, we will actually be accomplishing a long-term goal of providing international exchange, through virtual interactions among underserved and under-resourced youth in Jamaica.

Students from the anywhere in the region are currently registering to participate in our two-day workshop that showcases virology, epidemiology and computer engineering, with at least 50% of participant space allotted to Jamaican students. We will be exploring the study of viruses, how humans track diseases, and computer science, with team discussions among primary/middle school aged students. In just a short time we already have hundreds of applicants, and look forward to providing our cohort a unique and enriching experience. 

Stay tuned to hear about how our pilot virtual event goes! Thank you again for your continued support. Without you, we would not be able to get our programming off the ground ….…(no pun intended)!


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Organization Information

Society for Scientific Advancement

Location: Orlando, FL - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @thesosaorg
Project Leader:
Keriayn Smith
Orlando, FL United States
$21,500 raised of $25,750 goal
 
441 donations
$4,250 to go
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