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U.S. Embassy Awards US$100,000 to Support STEAM Programs for High School Girls in Fiji and Tonga
February 24, 2023

Suva, Fiji – To spark an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) subjects for high school girls in Fiji and Tonga, the U.S. Embassy today awarded a grant of US$100,000 to local civil society organization FJ Steam Princess. In collaboration with the University of the South Pacific, the grant will fund a series of camps that will encourage students to consider STEAM careers in a fun and creative way.

U.S. Department of State’s Chief Information Officer Dr. Kelly Fletcher noted that these STEAM Camps for high school girls in Fiji and Tonga will highlight the creativity and fun in STEAM concepts and encourage girls to pursue future studies and careers in STEAM.

“As the Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Department of State, and as a woman who holds both a Ph.D. and a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering, I can speak personally to the importance of encouraging young women to pursue future studies and careers in STEAM fields.”

Last month, the Biden-Harris Administration released the first-ever U.S. government-wide National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality. A key strategic priority in this plan is to close gender gaps in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields both within the United States and globally.

In the U.S., there are more women attending college and graduate school than men and an increasing number are venturing into the STEAM fields, which have been traditionally male dominated. The United States is dedicated to continuing to push for greater equity for Women in STEAM all over the world. “Empowering girls in local communities at an early age to take advantage of STEAM opportunities will help Fiji and Tonga build a prosperous future. With pressing issues across the Pacific region, from the weather to the environment, from growing health concerns to network challenges, STEAM concepts offer resilient, healthy, and sustainable methods of improving living standards, both locally and regionally,” said Dr. Fletcher.

The 2023 STEAM Camp builds on a 2020 pilot project with the same partners, who held a successful boot camp for 50 girls from all over Fiji. Funded by the Department of State’s Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy (R), this grant is part of a PD initiative to expand educational opportunities for youth to meet 21st century workforce needs, while also promoting inclusive economic growth in the Pacific region.