We cannot solve the world’s challenges alone. We must find allies, people from different nations and cultures who are also determined to make tomorrow better than today. And then, together, we must start somewhere.
Earlier this week, high school students from the United States and Brazil collaborated to teach elementary school students in Pindamonhangaba, Brazil about science, technology, mechanics, engineering, mathematics(STEM) and physics.
Why? To tackle a challenge that both our countries, and many others, face: a global shortage of engineers to power new ideas and innovation into the future. Novelis is one of thousands of organizations worldwide in need of qualified STEM professionals, and we’ve decided to do something about it, by igniting a passion for science and engineering, and expanding the mindset of what’s possible for careers in the future, especially in underserved communities.
Hosted in collaboration with FIRST®(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the camp was led by two student FIRST Robotics teams from Walton High School in Atlanta, Georgia, United States and ETEP (Technical School Everardo Passos) in São José dos Campos, Brazil. Together they overcame language and cultural barriers to teach 37 young students the excitement and fundamentals of STEM.
Through hands-on projects, the students learned not only about science but also about how to test new theories and problem solve. More importantly, they learned that it’s okay to be wrong and to never give up. Every failed attempt leads them one step closer to a solution.
And it turns out, a passion for STEM often starts with the parents. Some of our students’ parents were in fact colleagues and engineers at our nearby Novelis Pinda facility, who had heard about the upcoming camp and encouraged their children to sign up.
Each day, after plenty of hard work and more than a few “ah-ha” moments from students and mentors alike, everyone put down their pencils and switched gears. Nothing rallies every generation, every culture around the world like a game of football (or soccer as we in the U.S. like to call it).
Football proves to me that, as a society, when we are passionate enough about a challenge we can come together as one team and one voice in support of a cause. Regardless of age, language or culture. It’s time for us to get passionate about STEM. It’s an underdog worth rooting for, and we’ve got the whole world on our team.