Friday, July 7, 2017

Liberian High School Scholars host "STEM: A Key In Achieving The Sustainable Development Goals" forum

In complementing the efforts of the United Nations, National and International partners, InsightSTEM High School Scholars along with the InsightSTEM West Africa Team on June 23, 2017, hosted a one-day Global Goals Forum to discuss STEM’s role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and what concrete actions can be taken by STEM students and professionals. The forum was held at the United States Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia thanks to their provision of the meeting space.

View of the participants in a joyous mood during the Forum
The Sustainable Development Goals are 17 pillars of global development which seek to create an inclusive and interconnected global community offering much of life’s benefits for the growth and peaceful and productive coexistence of everyone. These pillars form the bedrock to several advancements of the world including discoveries, inventions, innovations, interventions, and life’s sustenance. Since being adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, there have been strategies and plans by the United Nations, National Governments, and other international partners to achieve these goals, which are set for 2030. However, even though these goals also cover cardinal aspects of developments, the efforts of the United Nations, national governments, and international partners alone, if not complemented by smaller groups raising awareness and organizing actions to support the bigger actions, cannot be achieved by the set date.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Discussions during our Forum specifically addressed: STEM: a major driver of Sustainable Development, the role of STEM education in achieving the SDGs, Youth and the Sustainable Development Goals, the role of Science and Innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, how can students and professionals of the various STEM fields support achieving the SDGs, and what impact the SDGs have on the advancements of STEM education and applications.

There were influential Speakers during the Forum, including: 
Keynote Speaker
Hon. Kula V. Fofana
Liberian Minister for Youth Development


Hon. Kula V. Fofana is an advocate and activist on young people’s issues with an emphasis on young women and girls. She is the Assistant Minister for Youth Development at the Ministry of Youth & Sports. She is the immediate past Executive Director of the Paramount Young Women Initiative; an organization which seeks to advocate, educate and empower young women and girls. She has experience with young people’s issues and has worked with several youth and student organizations and has volunteered with national institutions and served in different leadership capacities.

Hon. Fofana spoke on "Youth and the Sustainable Development Goals". She presented on how youth play an important role in achieving the SDGs. This set the stage for participants to have a picture on how they can help achieve the goals. 

Speaker
Rebecca Archer-Knepper
Assist. Public Affairs Officer
US Embassy in Monrovia
Ms. Rebecca Archer-Knepper is the Assistant Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia. She has been a member of the U.S. Foreign service for eight years and has served in Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and Burundi prior to coming to Liberia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in NGO management. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso and has worked as a teacher, grant writer, human rights advocate, NGO director, and exchange program manager. Ms. Rebecca spoke on "STEM: a major driver of Sustainable Development". She outlined the various ways that STEM can be used to achieve the SDGs. Ms. Archer-Knepper's presentation inspired the participants to use their various disciplines play a role in achieving the SDGs.

Speaker
Assist. Prof. Benjamin S. Karmorh
Coordinator, Climate Change
Environmental Protection Agency
Assistant Professor Benjamin S. Karmorh Jr is a scientist and administrator with an international and local reputation who has played key roles in enabling Liberia to uphold its responsibilities and commitments to the United Nations Climate Change Regulatory Frameworks, including his management and leadership for the preparation of national climate change communications and reports to international bodies. 

Mr. Karmorh was the only Speaker that aligned his presentation to the Liberian setting. He deliberated on the topic: "Investing in STEM to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs". Mr. Karmorh laid emphasis on Liberia's economic investment in achieving the SDGs; making reference to Agriculture, Electricity, Employment and Quality Education.

Speaker
Luther Jeke
Manager, iCampus Liberia
Luther D. Jeke is the current Manager of iCampus - Liberia's first shared innovation, co-working and community space for organizations and individuals focusing on the intersection of technology, accountability and social change in Liberia. He has eight years of experience in the Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) sector. Luther is an alumnus of the US State Department’s President Obama Emerging Global Leaders Initiative (EGLI) in Washington, DC.

Mr. Jeke spoke about the role of Science and Innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. He made reference to the present ICT sector in Liberia and how the government and everyone should work to achieve the SDGs.

Speaker
Simmie S. Nyanfor, Jr
West Africa Coordinator, InsightSTEM
Simmie S. Nyanfor, Jr. is the West Africa Coordinator of InsightSTEM; founder and CEO of Innovision: a Science and Technology enterprise; as well as the founder and Executive Director of Youth for Better- Africa: a platform to identify, Support and Promote Potentials in fellow Young People, to promote self-development of Africa through higher vision. His interest is in development and sustainability, with a focus on STEM education and Health. Mr. Nyanfor presented on "InsightSTEM and the Sustainable Development Goals". He explained InsightSTEM's approach in achieving each of the Sustainable Development Goals, as InsightSTEM strives to create a world where all minds are critically thinking, STEM literate, global learners and believe it takes all minds of such to achieve the goals. 

InsightSTEM played a key role in exploring the minds of high school scholars, campus ambassadors, young STEM professionals and many young people through this forum to get involved with the SDGs by critically thinking, STEM literacy, global learning and making the right decisions for the fulfillment of this vision.

The Forum brought together more than 150 participants inclusive of high school students, speakers, InsightSTEM Campus Ambassador, experts working in the fields that the SDGs cover, STEM professionals, other stakeholders and interested participants to engage in an interactive discussions about the Global Goals (SDGs), the role of STEM education in achieving the SDGs, how can students and professionals of the various STEM fields support achieving the SDGs, the relationship between STEM and the SDGs, and what impact the SDGs have on the advancements of STEM education and applications.


--Romell Dede

InsightSTEM LIC Liberia, Communications Officer

--Jallah Sumbo
High School Scholars Representative, InsightSTEM

Monday, March 27, 2017

Strengthening Our Partnership with STEM Student Based Organizations (SBOs): West Africa


For more than one year, InsightSTEM has worked to achieve better results for students and youth in West Africa, Our core values are to demoncratise STEM knowledge through exploration, creating a world where all minds are critically thinking, STEM literate and global learners. As a natural outgrowth of our work, we have created and continue to nurture diverse network across the region.

West Africa is currently characterized by a rapidly growing youthful population experiencing rapid social- economic, scientific and technological development. InsightSTEM cannot do it alone in West Africa, thus, strengthening our partnerships with all STEM organizations is essential to us. With this, we can have more impacts by providing STEM knowledge through exploration across all regions of West Africa.

Networking Evening: Biological Sciences  Student Association (BIOSSA), University of Liberia



On March 18, 2017 at 6:00pm,   InsightSTEM had an exciting event; a dinner night with the Biological Sciences   Student Association (BIOSSA), University of Liberia in the Tubman Hall at the Capitol Hill Campus of the University of Liberia, ,  with some of its Local Impact Committee Liberia members as well as Kinder STEM West Africa Missions Director, Mr. Johnason L. David and West Africa Coordinator, Mr. Simmie S. Nyanfor, Jr. were present. Interestingly, InsightSTEM Liberia LIC Chairperson, Mr. Chalaty A. Young, also serves as the President of the Biological Sciences Students Association at the University of Liberia.

At this event, Campus Ambassador and Local Impact Committee, Christian Weah   gave a brief presentation about IstightSTEM. He also presented on programs and projects undertaken by InsightSTEM and some good works coming up  by the organization. He encouraged STEM teachers, professionals, and students to become members of InsightSTEM by joining the Liberia Local   Impact Committee in order to help explore STEM greatly in Liberia.

Moreover, some Young STEM Professionals of InsightSTEM were given various awards as Honorees. These include: Francis Maweah, Jr. (Academic Excellence Award), Perry Z. Newray (Distinct Leadership Award), and our Student Representative Varfee A. Siryon also receiving Distinct Leadership Award.


World Pi Day


March 23, 2017, was another unique program; the World Pi Day organized by Liberian Community Association of Connecticut Scholars (LCAC - Scholars) that was well attended by InsightSTEM Liberia Local Impact officials led by its Chairperson, Mr. Chalaty A. Young, and also Kinder STEM West Africa Missions Director, Mr. Johnason L. David and West Africa Coordinator, Mr. Simmie S. Nyanfor, Jr.
Some members of the InsightSTEM West Africa crew at
the World Pi Day Celebration - Liberia


Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi  is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.
Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.
Cross section of students at the Pi Day celebration held at the Firestone Field House, Harbel, Margibi County, Liberia

Chalaty A. Young, LIC Liberia Chair
presenting to the audience
Our Local Impact Liberia Chair, Chalaty A. Young talked more of InsightSTEM to the audience and he provided opportunity for students and teachers that were willing to become members of the organization by writing down basic information about themselves. He also served as judge of the Pi recitation and quizzing competition.



Jallah Sumo, HSS Representative
helping students join
InsightSTEM HSS program

Mr. Jallah Sumo, High School Scholars Program representative, Liberia Local Impact Committee engaged the students on the importance of the HSS program and how it is beneficial to the growth of them as a students and the provision of smooth transition and readiness to take on STEM careers after high school. He also emphasized on the hands on opportunities to partake in InsightSTEM programs and projects to enhance their research and outreach skills. 

Mr. Brillaince Karwee, STEM Exploration Technology Team Lead, Liberia Local Impact Committee, explained to the students about the low cost exploration technologies InsightSTEM provides to enhance their STEM knowledge through exploration. In addition, Campus Ambassador Fredrick Dukuly make presentation on the importance of Pi as it relates to STEM Education as well as Darcess Dossen encouraging students to take on STEM careers.

More high-schools scholars and teachers were encouraged to become members of InsightSTEM High School Scholars Program because of their passion for STEM which they would love to explore greatly in Liberia.

Cross section of the students at the event
The program was successful and ended with students interacting with officials of InsightSTEM to know more about the organization.

You can support our programs and projects in West Africa by donating here: http://give.classy.org/WestAfrica


--- Romell Dede
InsightSTEM LIC Liberia Communications Officer

Celebrating the launch of the New STEM Career Voyage: 185th Anniversary of Darwin’s launch on the HMS Beagle Expedition

On December 27, 2016 at 6:00pm, InsightSTEM West Africa, Impact Liberia held a ceremony in Recognition of Graduation and the celebration of the launch of a New STEM Career Voyage for seven of our Campus Ambassadors that graduated from the University of Liberia in commemoration of the 185th Anniversary of Darwin’s launch on the HMS Beagle Expedition



On December 27, 1831, Charles Darwin went on board HMS Beagle in Devon port (Plymouth). For five years, the naturalist traveled around the world in the 90-foot - (27.4 meter-) long and 24 - foot (7.4 - meter-) wide three-mast ship. On October 2, 1836, the ship reached English shores again.

Originally, the Beagle had served the Royal Navy as a survey ship. However, it became famous through the expedition with Charles Darwin. The exotic animal world of Australia fascinated Charles Darwin and baffled him: "Anyone who has faith in his own reasoning is sure to cry out: 'Surely there have been two creators at work here - one for Australia and one for the rest of the world."


In summer 1833, Darwin came across rheas that looked very different from each other and asked himself why the Almighty has created two such closely related species, whose environments hardly differed. In his work The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle Darwin described every single species of animal that he studied, such as the vampire bats.




The program was intended to recognize those campus ambassadors that graduated from the University of Liberia as they start their new STEM career voyage as the same day marks the 185th anniversary of  Charles Darwin's launch on the HMS Beagle Expedition . The ceremony was gracefully attended by Theresa Jolokleh (Representative, Ministry of Education), Araminta Nyekan and Leeneh Kiamu (Representative, Liberia Institute for the Promotion of Academic Excellence), Darlington Fiajue (Executive Director, Save the Future Foundation International, Liberia), and representatives from Save the Children-Liberia, Liberia Association of Female Engineers, IBIS, University of Liberia, Stella Maris Polytechnic, United Methodist University, amongst others. In addition, the InsightSTEM West Africa Coordinator, KinderSTEM West Africa Director and all of the executive members of the Local Impact Committee – Liberia, the graduates along with friends, and affiliates.

Salia Sheriff, Co-Chairman of the Liberia Local Impact Committeem- Liberia and the Masters of Ceremony, spoke on the overview of the program, explaining the importance of the program and how much it means to InsightSTEM. He also explained the importance of InsightSTEM's Young STEM Professional Program. 

Theresa Jolokleh, served as the Guest Speaker of the unique program. She spoke on the importance of STEM Education and urged the graduates to keep focus and continue their STEM career in order to improve the STEM areas of our beloved country and the universe at large, motivating them to follow their dreams and aspirations. After her deliberations, she presented certificates of recognition and ushered them in their new STEM professions. Afterward, everyone celebrated with their certificates and the program was concluded.

Meet our graduates from the University of Liberia
From left: Jarka Nicolas, Perry Newray, Momo Kanneh, Maximus Fahnbulleh, Varfee A. Siryon, Francis Maweah and Simmie S. Nyanfor, Jr.

BSc. Biology
University of Liberia
NICHOLAS JARKA
July 9, 2008, Nicholas Jarka graduated from Central Site High School with preeminence, receiving both his High School Diploma and WAEC Certificate, Cavalla Rubber Corporation School System. Two years after his graduation, he enrolled at the T. J. R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology, University of Liberia to study Biology major with minor in a Chemistry.
He made a significant impact at the college, serving as Teacher Assistant just before his graduation. On December 7, 2016, he earned his Bachelor of Science (BSc.) Degree in Biology from the University Of Liberia and subsequently passing the School Of Pharmacy Aptitude Test and Interview thus qualifying him as a student of that professional institution in that same year.

Nicholas Jarka is currently a first year student of the School of Pharmacy, University Of Liberia, studying for a Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy. Being an astute student of the Natural Sciences and having a lot of zest for education and how to contribute to his nation, decided to join InsightSTEM on August 24, 2015. Since acquiring his membership in 2015, InsightSTEM has help him meet with other science students sharing similar aspirations and impacted his life in so many aspects. Nicholas Jarka is humbled to be a member of this Noble quest that has amalgamated Science scholars in order to enhance their dreams and aspirations in the sciences.

With the quality of information he has received from InsightSTEM, he has identified a very big gap in the Health sector of Liberia and decided to fill those gaps by doing a post-graduate degree in Pharmacotherapy and Psychiatry Pharmacy, as Liberia has only one Pharmacotherapist and no known Psychiatry Pharmacist. As a young man with much passion for education, he looks forward to obtaining a scholarship so as to further his education in the area of Pharmacy at any post-graduate.



Momo Kanneh
BSc. Biology
University of Liberia

MOMO KANNEH
Momo Kush Kanneh completed his primary and secondary education in 2009 obtaining High School Diploma and West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) Certificate from Len Miller High School.
Momo attended the University of Liberia in 2010 to study Biology as his Major with a Chemistry Minor. After six years of hard work and commitment, he graduated from the University of Liberia with a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) Degree in Biology on December 7, 2016.
Along the way, he earned certificates in Microsoft office Suite and Compt. A+ at the Consult IT Solution in 2009 and 2010 respectively. He also obtained a Diploma in Project Management from the Progressive Youth Ministry.
Momo Kush Kanneh is Children Superintendent at the Bethel Cathedral of Hope; present General Secretary for the Tweh Johnsonville Community Youth and Chaplain General for a not for profit Christian organization: the Progressive Youth Ministry. Momo wishes to become one of the world's renowned cardiologists with the help of InsightSTEM. He believes with such he can make vital contributions to the institution and the world at large.


BSc, Biology
University of Liberia

FRANCIS MAWEAH, JR
Francis Maweah Jr. graduated from St. Peters Lutheran High School as a honor student in 2011. He matriculated that same year, to the University of Liberia, majoring in Biology. Graduated from the University of Liberia with honor (Magna cum laude) in 2016. Currently studying general medicine at A.M. Dogliotti college of Medicine.

Academic achievements:
Academic excellence award, 2016-UL Scholar program
Academic honor award, 2016-college of science, UL
President honor society (PHS), UL 2012-2013
Deans honor scholar award, 2014-2015 UL
Best quizzer award, St Peters Lutheran-2011

Leadership:
Network officer- InsightSTEM LIC Liberia, 2016
Youth secretary, Lakpazee community-2016
Vice president, BIOSSA-UL, 2015-2016
Vice president and secretary, LUX in Tenebris scholar program UL 2014-2016
Captain, quizzing team, St. Peter Lutheran high school 2010-2011

Contributions to insightSTEM
The Head of a networking team that was instrumental in the recruitment of teachers, students, and campus ambassadors to participate in the teacher, high school scholar, and teacher partnership workshops.

How did insightSTEM contributed
Relationship building, networking with institutions, entrusting leadership role, opportunity to improve on media productivity skills, and participating in STEM workshops.

InsightSTEM contribution to his future ambition:
- Link him with experts such as medical doctors (cardiologists)
- Enable him to become a Young STEM Professional
- Scholarship recommendations
- Conduct medically related workshops

BSc. Biology
University of Liberia
SIMMIE S. NYANFOR, JR
Simmie S. Nyanfor, Jr. began his junior and senior secondary education at the SOS Hermann Gmeiner International School, Central Matadi, Sinkor. At the institution, Simmie demonstrated extreme leadership role and academic excellence. He held the Press Club, Quizzing and Debate Club, provide tutorials, and also served as Food Advisory Prefect and Assistant Prefect of the School. Simmie was always a Principal List Student and All time scholar. Upon his graduation on September 27, 2009, Simmie graduated as the Salutatorian of his class having 96.4 average. He was also awarded several certificates as being the best biology, chemistry and mathematics student.

After earning his High School Diploma and West African Examination Council Cerificate, Simmie enrolled at the International Institute of Computer Science and Man Power Development where he earned Diploma in Computer Science. 

Due to the passion of becoming a Medical Doctor, he enrolled at the T.J.R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology, University of Liberia, to major in Biology and minor in Chemistry. He graduated on December 7, 2016, with a BSc Degree in Biology and is waiting upon acceptance into the Graduate School.

Simmie joined InsightSTEM in February 2016 as a Campus Ambassador at the University of Liberia. In March 2016, Simmie was appointed West Africa Coordinator for InsightSTEM. Under his leadership, he held the first ever "West Africa Planning and Professional Development Week" facilitated by Dr. Jacob Noel-Storr (InsightSTEM President) and impacted over 150 students, teachers and Young STEM Professionals. He has held several other programs in Liberia and has expanded InsightSTEM to eleven (11) countries in Africa, leading a cadre of over 350 campus ambassadors, Young STEM Professionals and high school scholars.

Simmie is the founder and CEO of Innovision: a Science and Technology enterprise; as well as the founder and Executive Director of Youth for Better- Africa: a platform to identify, Support and Promote Potentials in fellow Young People, to promote self-development of Africa through higher vision. He served as a volunteer at SMART-Liberia, LIPACE and many other youth and educational-based organizations.

Simmie aims to transform Africa to a first-world continent by 2030, where every human has equal opportunity to maximize their potential. His interest is in development and sustainability, with a focus on STEM education and Health. He is passionate about widening his knowledge to create a world better for all.

BSc. Biology
University of Liberia

VARFEE A. SIRYON
Varfee A. Siryon obtained his junior and senior high school certificates and diploma from St. Mary Catholic High School. While there, he was known as being a member of the Legion Quizzing and Debate Team. During his graduation from the St Mary Catholic High School, he was one of the honored students and received a certificate of academic achievement in economics.

He then matriculated to the University of Liberia, where he studied with a Biology major and Chemistry minor. During his time at the University of Liberia, he worked in several student leadership capacities. He first served as the Academic Committee Chairman of the Biology Sciences Students’ Association-Students Initiative, where he was tasked with the responsibility of organizing academic activities such as tutorials for students facing difficulties with lessons, and biological sciences debates among students of the department. He later served as Chairman of the National Life Sciences Students Association of Liberia –University of Liberia chapter.

He became a member of InsightSTEM on March 12, 2016, where he assumed the role of Campus Ambassador Representative. Being a member of InsightSTEM has broadened his mind to the diversity of STEM career, which was never in his thoughts. InsightSTEM has had a tremendous impact on his career development, through career development workshops and STEM exploration networking. InsightSTEM has enhanced his mentor and mentee development skills, which are used to get young interested STEM scholars to reach their desired level.

BSc. Biology
University of Liberia

PERRY Z. NEWRAY


Perry Z. Newray Jr graduated from the Monrovia College Industrial Training School. During his days in the Monrovia College, he scooped numerous accolades and graduated with honor of his class.

After his graduation from high school, he matriculated to the University of Liberia, T.J.R Faulkner College of Science and Technology, where he studied with a Biology major and a Chemistry minor. During his days at the University of Liberia he served the Biological Sciences Student Association and served in many positions, such as Secretary General, Financial Secretary, and Coordinator of seven standing committees.
Perry Newray is a 2016 graduate of the University of Liberia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Launching the Development of Cell Phone Science Kit

This week we are starting to work on InsightSTEM's Cell Phone Science Kit project. Check out our blog posts with the tag 'CPSK' for ongoing updates, or follow our twitter feed @PhoneSci for all of the latest developments in this project coming soon -- bringing STEM explorations into your pocket!

Our base concept makes use of Android OS and Arduino devices to turn your cell phone into powerful STEM exploration tool that you can carry everywhere you go. Join us as we develop the Cell Phone Science Kit!

Find us online at http://insightstem.org/cpsk.html

Monday, January 30, 2017

STEM Exploration Expeditions for Students, Young STEM Professionals, and Innovators!

Starting in February, InsightSTEM has STEM Exploration Expeditions available for Students, Young STEM Professionals and Innovators that are interested! Gain some more STEM knowledge by joining us on a trip to Ubud, Bali, where we will take part in different activities and show that STEM learning through exploration is the best way to gain more STEM knowledge and experience. It is a great opportunity, so don't miss out!

There are a total of three Exploration Expeditions available, starting in February of 2017! The first expedition available is called Innovation Escape. This expedition focuses on creating new STEM related projects and collaborating with others to generate ideas and exchange knowledge. This expedition takes place February 13-17.



The second expedition available is called Tech Tinkering Boot Camp, which actually occurs in the same week as Innovation Escape. This expedition provides the opportunity to  generate ideas and utilize collaboration in order to develop new STEM Exploration Technology Concepts. There are workshops and other activities for knowledge sharing and the chance to work with many different operating systems and electronics. This expedition takes place February 13-17.



The third (and fourth expedition) is called STEM Spring Break, which has two different weeks that you can choose from or you can choose to participate in both weeks! STEM Spring Break has the goal of creating media to promote excitement in STEM knowledge through exploration around the world! Our expedition crew will go to Ubud, Indonesia, where they will participate in many endeavors including, volcano hiking, ocean snorkeling, mountain biking, and wildlife encounters. Everyone is encouraged to have a fun time while finding ways to share the excitement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics knowledge to inspire the next generation of learners! This expedition takes place March 6-10 and/or 13-17.



Innovation Escape and Tech Tinkering Boot Camp also have inspirational and cultural activities planned that may include a volcano hike, cultural tour, yoga, spa day, visiting the monkey forest, beach day, and ocean snorkeling! Join us in visiting a new place and gaining more STEM knowledge and experience through exploration!

In order to take part in any of these STEM Exploration Expeditions, you must become a fundraiser and raise a minimum amount in order to become part of one of our crews. Once you become part of one of the Exploration Expedition Crews, you will create a fundraising page for yourself in order to come on the trip! We will work as a team in order to raise the funds necessary for you to come on the trip! Have others donate to your page in order to fund yourself going on one of our trips. Each expedition has a different amount you need to fundraise and once you get to your goal, you will be able to become part of the expedition, so decide fast, because the earlier you sign up, the longer you will have to fundraise! If you are unable to reach your fundraising goal, we can work something out and try to work with what you have raised, although it may not include all of the activities.

Important information to know: Once you have raised the necessary funds to come on any of these expeditions, you are responsible for coordinating and paying for your own travel plans to and from Bali. If you need help, we are more than happy to work with you to try and help find flights that would work in your price range. Know that once you are in Bali, all of your food, lodging, and activities are covered from your fundraising, you will only need to worry about travel to and from Bali (flights).

If you are interested in becoming part of one of the STEM Exploration Crews, fill out an interest form at: https://insightstem.wufoo.com/forms/qn6ezvq04c7gjm/

Already decided on a STEM Exploration Expedition that you want to go on? Fill out a registration form at: https://insightstem.wufoo.com/forms/z1vvy41p1b54hxg/
Once you have registered for an expedition, we will give your more information on what the next steps will be.

Need more information on the STEM Exploration Expeditions? Our website has everything you need. Visit here for more information: www.InsightSTEM.com/Expeditions.html

Monday, January 23, 2017

Traveling with InsightSTEM to Bali!

I woke up the morning of January 17th with my bags all packed and ready to go for a long trip across the world. Today was the start of a trip that would include enduring over 20 hours of flying in order to reach our destination in Ubud, Bali. I made sure to bring entertainment for the flights, to prepare as much as I could for being in the air for so long. I brought my iPad, laptop, phone with multiple portable chargers, and even a couple of Malaysia and Bali travel books to prepare for once we got there. I made sure I was prepared for anything on the flights, in order to make myself as comfortable and entertained as possible.

The Mountains covered in snow
flying into Denver
Our first flight left from Tucson at 9 a.m. Our destination was Denver, Colorado, and we happened to get upgraded to First Class!! This flight was only 2 hours, so it went very quick. The view from the plane once we got into Colorado was amazing, everything was white. The mountains were covered in snow; something rarely ever seen in Arizona. Once we landed in Denver, we awaited our next flight to Los Angeles, California, which was once again, a 2 hour flight. This flight went by quickly as well and by the time we landed in LA, it was 5 p.m. Fortunately for us, our next flight was the next day, so we got to have a break from flying... for now. Our next flight was scheduled to leave at 11 a.m. the next morning, to Tokyo, Japan.


I was really excited to go to Tokyo for I had never been anywhere close to there! I wasn't however, looking forward to the 12 hour plane ride that it took to get there. 12 hours of sitting in the same spot, in a plane 36,000 feet in the air, just did not appeal to me at all. I was nervous, but mostly I was just ready to get it over with. We would be landing in Tokyo at 3:45 p.m., and then leaving an hour and a half later on a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This was going to be a 7 hour flight that landed us in Kuala Lumpur at Midnight. In an effort to not be jet lagged once we landed in Kuala Lumpur, my plan was to stay up for the entire duration of both flights so that once we landed in Kuala Lumpur, I would be ready to sleep.

Inside the plane
We boarded our flight Wednesday morning, and found our seats on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner that was going to take us across the Pacific Ocean to Tokyo. The plane was massive, and to my surprise, the seats were well spaced apart and quite comfortable! Every seat even had outlets, so that I could charge any of my electronic devices. Not only that, but on the back of every headrest, there was a screen that contained a library of different movies, TV shows, and music to choose from, and they were all free! The movie and TV choices were great too! They had tons of choices, ranging from classic movies, to newer movies that I wanted to watch, but never got the chance to. I was actually excited to get to watch these movies that they had. Not only that, but they even had WiFi available for purchase on the flight.

I stayed up the entire duration of the flight, thanks to having WiFi, watching movies and TV shows, and having in-flight meals. The WiFi was only $24 for the entire duration of the flight, which I used in order to stay in contact with my friends and family back home, constantly updating them about my flight. I watched The Martian, Star Trek: Beyond, and a few episodes of Game of Thrones to entertain myself. Before I knew it, we were already on our descent into Tokyo. The flight may have been long, but it flew by (no pun intended) and wasn't nearly as bad as I had thought it was going to be. I even found that I had enjoyed my flight, thanks to all of the on-board entertainment that they provided. This experience helped me to enjoy my travel more and be more optimistic for our next flight.

Our time in Japan was short, I wish we had more time because spending an hour and half in that airport went by so fast! There were so many people there and everything was so different. Seeing signs that weren't in English and all of the different souvenirs that you could buy were so cool to see! I wanted to buy so many things there, but unfortunately, we had another plane to catch and the line for the souvenir store was agonizingly long. We headed for our gate for our next flight to Kuala Lumpur.
Souvenir shop in Japan

This plane, while being the same exact model as our flight to Japan, had smaller seats on the inside. I found that it wasn't as roomy, but still manageable. It had all of the same amenities as our other flight, which I found very relieving. I managed to watch the movie Storks and Suicide Squad while on this flight, before I found myself waking up to the sound of the Captain announcing we were preparing to land in Kuala Lumpur. Another flight that quickly passed by; flights that I originally dreaded going on in the first place. Even though the flights were enjoyable, I was glad to be done flying for the time being, for our next flight was in two days time.

View of Kuala Lumpur
from the top of KL Tower
Kuala Lumpur was nothing like I had ever seen before. Everywhere you look, there were skyscrapers and trees. I had never seen so much green in person before, and if you are from where I come from, you would understand. Driving on the left side of the road was also a sight to see, after growing up in the United States, where all the driving is done on the right side and the steering wheel is located on the left side of the car. While I was in Kuala Lumpur, I got to see an aquarium, KL tower, the Petronas Towers, and the Batu Caves. Everything was spectacular, and like nothing I had ever seen before. My favorite was the Batu Caves, because it was just amazing to see. They had sacred statues and temples there, along with a giant cave that required climbing over 200 stairs! Not only that, but there were monkeys within a few feet of you nearly every step of the way... It was a sight to see and I am very glad to have had the chance to see it in person myself.
Batu Caves

Our next flight would be the last one for a while, to a place we planned on setting up headquarters for the next month. This flight was only 3 hours, in order to get to Ubud, Bali, the site of most of our STEM Exploration Expeditions. We got into Bali at 2 a.m., and had to take a taxi to our hotel, right next to the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. I found that Bali is even more beautiful than Kuala Lumpur! All around you, there is something new to see. There are trees, wildlife, and sights to see everywhere! Just walking along the road in Ubud, there are monkeys walking around, climbing in the trees right next to you! You may even stumble upon ancient-looking ruins and temples right off of the main roads. The food is great and there isn't a lack of shopping or tourist attractions to see.
View from our Bungalow
Sacred Monkey Forest

Traveling to Bali, we had a total of 23 hours in the air, but it was definitely worth it! Looking back, it went by so quickly, I hardly even noticed it and as an added bonus, the flights were very affordable!! Now that I am here in Bali, I am so glad that I did it. I am so grateful at the opportunity that InsightSTEM has given me in order to become part of the team and have the chance to travel to such a unique and beautiful place. I hope to help others come out to Bali as well and meet with Jake and I, in order to expand their STEM knowledge through exploration as I am doing at this very moment. This opportunity could even be available to you! Take a look at our STEM Exploration Expeditions that we have available and see which one best fits you. And just maybe, I will see you soon, out here, gaining more STEM knowledge and experiencing the Balinese cultures right beside me. Come visit us and take this opportunity to better yourself and share your knowledge and experience with others. I hope to see you soon!!

-Isaiah Gurule
 Mission Coordinator of InsightSTEM