SUVA – Approximately 50 girls aged 12-16 participated in the first ever fj STEAM Princess Camp at the University of the South Pacific and sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. This initiative aimed to ignite, create awareness, and focus an interest on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Design and Mathematics (STEAM) subjects while the students are still young.
With support funding from the U.S. Embassy Suva, the fj STEAM Princess Camp was the realization of a dream project of two female mathematics graduates and staff from USP, Ms. Aluwesi Fonolahi and Ms. Oliana Nayago.
Speaking at the closing event, the U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Tony Greubel said, “One of the greatest ways the United States builds and fortifies bridges with our allies and partners is through education initiatives. The fj STEAM Princess Camp is a shining example of this here in Fiji. Empowering young girls in local communities at an early age to take advantage of STEAM opportunities will help Fiji build towards a prosperous future. I firmly believe that STEAM education helps in the formation of heart and mind, builds up confidence and hope, and stirs up the imagination. We will continue to offer these great and important initiatives at Embassy Suva because it helps the youth build and fortify bridges to their future vocations, the formation for which begins very early in life at home and at school.”
Mr. Greubel handed out the participant’s certificates for the fj STEAM Princess Camp. The camp was a four-day event at USP’s Laucala Campus from January 5 to 8, 2021. A support team of eight facilitators and 12 volunteers led the various sessions, field trips and campus stay for the participants.
The camp included hands on activities and seminar workshops that encouraged the young women from diverse backgrounds and all over Viti Levu to pursue STEAM careers. The facilitators motivated them to have a critical thinking, collaborative and analytic mindset, and that STEAM concepts are fun. Additionally, the participants learned the importance of STEAM knowledge and concepts in careers today and in the future through site visits, Talanoa sessions with STEAM practitioners and digital resources.
The Embassy of the United States in Suva remains steadfast in its efforts to expand and develop STEAM and educational opportunities for youth. The Embassy has a regular STEAM club, has hosted multiple events featuring NASA and space exploration, workshops, has and will have multiple exchanges supporting STEAM learning and teaching. The Embassy is actively working to develop STEAM skills for youth to meet the needs of the 21st century workforce.