A new partnership between the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) at the University of Waterloo and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is equipping young women in Ghana with the skills they need to excel in mathematical sciences.
The CEMC has been striving towards its mission of inspiring young minds using mathematics and computer science for over 50 years. Employing more than 40 staff members in addition to hundreds of volunteers, the CEMC has brought workshops, contests and free courseware to multiple countries.
The partnership between CEMC and AIMS brings together young women from across 16 regions in Ghana for the intensive Girls in Mathematical Sciences program (GMSP). Over the course of nine months, participants learn valuable skills in problem-solving and innovation, along with knowledge of data sciences and mathematics.
The program connects participants with mentors including top scientists, educators, CEMC members and industry leaders in STEM and tech fields. Mentors lead sessions in areas such as problem-solving and exploration of potential career paths.
Comfort Mintah, a lecturer at the CEMC, was one such mentor that worked closely with participants of the Girls in Mathematical Sciences program.
“I didn’t even know what I wanted to be in high school. After the Girls in Mathematical Sciences program, the students were excited about careers in data analysis and engineering thanks to the program. It helps students see amazing opportunities for their potential at an early age,” Mintah said in a CEMC article.
Dzesisenu Yetorgbe Adzomani, a high-school student and participant in the program, shared with the CEMC that the program helped her “develop an inquiring mind and strong curiosity about science and nature.” Adomanzi hopes to study architectural engineering, and is “driven to strive for greatness and to pursue the AIMS goal of becoming the next Einstein.”
Georgina Amoasi, another participant, said the program helped her “realize that mathematical approaches can provide a vast array of solutions to the same problem.” Amoasi plans to study data analysis in the future. Other participants have reported an interest in studying physics and health sciences with the skills they have gathered through the program.
In the past, UW has shown its commitment to gender equality and empowering women and girls through participation in the HeforShe initiative. In 2015, UW set a goal to increase the number of women and young girls in STEM outreach programs by 33 per cent by 2020. In 2019, the goal was surpassed with a 34 per cent increase in female participation in STEM programs.
In addition to global initiatives such as the GMSP, there are numerous UW clubs and programs dedicated to encouraging the participation of women in STEM, including WiSTEM (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), Women in Healthcare and Hera.co.
Through the new GMSP initiative, the CEMC will be able to continue its mission to lead the next generation of innovative minds to success using mathematical sciences.