Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Professional Development and Planning in West Africa

To support our ongoing work in West Africa please visit

In May, InsightSTEM's President and CEO Dr. Jacob Noel-Storr made a trip to West Africa in keeping with InsightSTEM's mission – to democratize STEM knowledge through exploration. Dr. Jake Noel-Storr's trip covered a planning and professional development training of over 150 students, teachers and young STEM professionals on a train-the-trainer mode to make meaningful impact in and across West Africa.

The benefits of doing so are that students and teachers experience real-world problems in exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields and the ever-changing workforce, sparking and supporting interest in pursuing STEM careers. Creating these impacts earlier in students' educational careers will serve to encourage even more students to enter these fields.

West Africa -- a prime region for impacts on STEM education, students, young STEM professionals and teachers -- showed the enthusiasm and commitment that they are ready to change the paradigm of STEM education.

On day 1 of the planning and development week the InsightSTEM West Africa Coordinator Simmie S. Nyanfor and the Liberia Local Impact Committee chair Chalaty A. Young met Dr Jake, followed by the InsightSTEM Local Impact Committee Liberia leadership on planning how Insight STEM can make more impact across Liberia and West Africa after the planning and development week.

The Planning and Professional Development week continued on day 2 with an occasion for over 60 students from 20 different high schools: encouraging the students to do STEM and to introduce InsightSTEM’s premiere program for High School Students called the ‘High School Scholars Program’ which offers networking opportunities and professional development for High School students.

On the same day, Dr. Jake hosted the first training to enable West Africa students and Young STEM Professionals to work with teachers in promoting the understanding of STEM knowledge through exploration; followed by a meeting for all Campus Ambassadors for updates and to present their campus ambassador certificates. Campus Ambassadors are a global network of college undergraduates and graduate students interested or invested in the future of STEM knowledge. This is a global network of students who self-connect and motivate to promote the InsightSTEM Message -- and there is a cadre of over 70 Campus Ambassadors in Liberia already furthering their own STEM careers and the careers of others of all ages.

Day 3 of the Planning and Professional Development week focused on working with families and communities and working with STEM exploration technologies for West Africa through two workshops. The workshops will enable students and young STEM professionals to deliver STEM exploration programs to families and communities, to promote further pursuit of STEM, and to enable students and young STEM professionals to adapt and provide STEM Exploration Technologies that work in the social, economic and infrastructure environment of West Africa. The momentum and enthusiasm for making impact was increasing day by day.

Dr. Jake had a 3 hours long STEM exploration training workshop for our Insightful Teachers on day 4 of the Planning and Professional development week and, followed up with a partnership workshop for our first 5 Teacher-STEM partnership pairings!! The teachers hope InsightSTEM can expand further, and train more educators across Liberia and West Africa, and hopefully partner with the National Teacher's Association of Liberia to make learning through exploration a reality in Liberian classrooms! The Insightful Teachers are a global network of teachers who are enthusiastic to reimagine STEM education through exploration.

Day 5 of planning in Liberia was focused on developing our first set of family programs to be offered in West Africa with the focus on "Environmental Exposure"; from the physics of sound, to the chemistry of air quality, to the biology of germs and the spread of disease, to the earth science of natural environmental hazards. The programs will be trialled starting in August or September of 2016!

After this week of planning and training, InsightSTEM President Dr. Jake Noel-Storr and West Africa Coordinator Simmie S. Nyanfor, Jr. were hosted on a radio show called ‘Better Tomorrow’ to discussed the future of STEM education in Liberia on Voice FM. This show was highly interactive where in a lot of Liberians called to commemorate InsightSTEM for their excellent work in Liberia and how we could better make impact across the nation.

In the last few days in Liberia we focused on meetings with the Local Impact Committee teams including Networking, Technology and Communications teams to plan for ongoing impacts for 2016!

We wrapped up the Planning and Professional development with some final meetings with InsightSTEM Grant writing and Fundraising Team; Events and Logistics Team; and the appointment of InsightSTEM new "Families, Communities, and KinderSTEM Mission Director for West Africa", Johnnason L. David, Jr.

Dr Jake left behind a fantastic and enthusiastic crew with InsightSTEM West Africa Coordinator Simmie S. Nyanfor Jr., Liberia Local Impact Committee Chair, Chalaty A. Young, and all of InsightSTEM Local Impact Committee members, Campus Ambassadors, Insightful Teachers, Young STEM Professionals, and High School Scholars across West Africa!

For more information on InsightSTEM in West Africa please email or like our FaceBook Page.

No comments:

Post a Comment