For the purpose of awakening vocations scientific, technological, engineering and math (STEM for its acronym in English) and the message of inclusion in these areas, the “Speed Dating for racing STEM” meeting gathered 62 girls Puente Alto, Quilicura and Toconao, colleges with ambassadors of Chilean astronomy and related careers. The unprecedented activity was organized by ALMA AUI/NRAO-Observatory, in collaboration with SOCHIAS and Inspiring Girls Chile, and hopes to expand its call and settle on the educational agenda in the future.
The initiative provided an opportunity to meet and talk with professional women in STEM area, listening to testimony in the first person. On this occasion, participating students belong to the cardinal Juan Francisco Fresno College and the school multipurpose Archbishop Crescente Errázuriz, both of the commune of Puente Alto; to College Juan Luis Undurraga Aninat, in the commune of Quilicura; and the educational complex Toconao, neighbor of the ALMA Observatory in the San Pedro de Atacama commune.
Astrotactil display allowed the girls to learn astronomical concepts through touch, using models of the Solar system, the Earth and space exploration probes. These models are used to teach astronomy to people with reduced visual ability, but also to deepen the learning of everyone. Also, was the presence of a Chilean sign language interpreter, to reinforce the message of inclusion and demonstrate that the difficulties in life are no impediment to the pursuit of a vocation.
Careers with approaches to multidisciplinary in today’s world, racing have multidisciplinary approaches in diverse industries and astronomy is no exception to this trend. In observatories coexist and are essential, as well as Astrophysics, disciplines such as computing, engineering, mathematics, risk prevention, human resources and communications, among others. This creates spaces and opportunities for professional development for the new generation of Chileans.
STEM ambassadors chosen to inspire young students are icons in their own disciplines and every day do most in working environments related to astronomy. Speed dating included: Dora Altbir, physical expert in nanoscience and nanotechnology, of the University of Santiago de Chile; Paulina Asmann, astronomer, of the University of Concepción; White Camucet, engineer in computer science, from the European Southern Observatory; Sonia Duffau, astronomer, of the Universidad Andrés Bello; Soledad Fuica, ALMA Observatory software engineer; Laura Gómez, Violette Impellizzeri and Liza Videla, the ALMA Observatory astronomers.
Breaking down myths Paulina Bocaz, representative of Associated Universities Inc. (AUI) and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory of the United States (NRAO) in Chile, said that his institution is funded by the National Foundation of science of that country and as such has In addition to its scientific mission mandate and commitment to contribute to a greater participation of groups traditionally sub-representados in the STEM areas. Gender equality is an important part of this goal. “We are working to awaken and motivate scientific vocation in girls by role model, since there is no better experience that personally meet this type of references. We have the conviction that the world of work is diverse and astronomy is enriched by the contribution of various disciplines, skills and genders,”added Bocaz.
For his part, Sonia Duffau, Director of the Chilean society of astronomy (SOCHIAS), said that this initiative is very aligned with its goals of inclusion and gender, since it allows work to inspire new vocations in establishments all over Chile, in Turning to astronomy. “We hope the activities carried out during the day to translate a permanent collaborative work in time. It was a wonderful experience to be able to transmit first-person the task of astronomy to young people who are still in pursuit of his vocation. We deliver tools to be Messenger in their schools and families, agents of changes to knock down myths and construct new realities, breaking stereotypes and empowering their decisions of life… this impulse has a multiplicative effect”.
Finally, Macarena Salosny, Inspiring Girls Chile’s President, said that this is the first speed dating dedicated to women in STEM areas. The aim is to show that the fact of being a woman does not mean no limit to their professional development in the area of their choice, such as economics, policy and management, and STEM is an area of low female participation, given that only 16% of positions are occupied by WOM you are. “To have women in leadership positions need references female powerful and so need to create spaces for awareness-raising, dissemination and contact across educational and community, as well as make visible women who are opening” roads and so will tear down stereotypes built around women in science”, said Salosny.
On the institutions of the Chilean society of astronomy, SOCHIAS, organization that brings together over 200 professionals working in Chile, astronomers promotes activities focused on inclusion, and works racing-related gender issues STEM. These activities include support to scientific vocations from girls in our country, with decrease of visual or auditory capacity in public outreach activities, the promotion of activities for the visibility of women in science, and the motivation of the scientific community to open and invest in inclusion.
Inspiring Girls Chile, is the first performance in America Latin of Inspiring Girls International, a foundation dedicated to increasing the self-esteem and the professional ambition of the world’s children, putting them in contact with women who are role models. Its aim is to show children of school age (between 10 and 15 years), the wide variety of professions and jobs that a woman can be performed without any limitation by the mere fact of being a woman. The objective is to increase the aspirations of girls-personal and professional development by putting them in contact with the volunteer ambassadors.
AUI/NRAO, North American partner of the ALMA Observatory, promotes education and outreach programs of astronomy, with special emphasis on diversity and inclusion. In Chile, AUI/NRAO carries out activities to visualize issues of diversity and inclusion, such as the first meeting on gender equality in astronomy and related engineering carried out in October 2017, and encourages the participation of sectors economically vulnerable women and girls in STEM careers.