Last December, first-year BME Ph.D. student Maura Vrabel, in collaboration with another graduate student Franklin Mejia at the University of Notre Dame, travelled to the Dominican Republic to lead the first annual Dia de Ciencia (Science Day) at local high school, Colegio Loyola. The pair had planned and organized the science outreach event at Franklin’s former high school because they saw a need for greater awareness about STEM careers, especially in developing countries where careers in science are often underappreciated. The objective was to introduce students to various STEM disciplines and to encourage them to pursue careers in those fields. Throughout the day, students were introduced to basic concepts of biology, chemistry, and physics by appealing to their curiosity and using interactive examples.
The first Science Day benefitted 40 students and was supported by 15 volunteers, most of which were young STEM professionals and alumni of Colegio Loyola themselves. In addition, the event was partly funded by the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame. About the event, Maura said, “After months of planning and coordination, the event was incredibly successful and I look forward to expanding Science Day to offer more activities to students at other high schools next year.” If you would like to be updated on future plans for Science Day or would like to donate, please reach out to Maura firstname.lastname@example.org.