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Microsoft, Science Trust launch 1st ‘Girls STEAM Challenge’

Within the framework of the celebration of the International Women’s Week, and the purpose of promoting the participation of girls and adolescents in the disciplines of STEAM, Microsoft Puerto Rico alongside with the Science, Technology & Research Trust announce the First Microsoft Girls STEAM Challenge.

The challenge is aimed at students of public and
private schools of Puerto Rico between the intermediate and superior levels,
organizers said.

To participate, the interested parties must be
students from 6th to 12th grade of any public or private school in Puerto Rico
and must have the guidance of a teacher mentor, parent or guardian.
Registration starts Mar. 11 and runs through April 12.

This initiative aims to listen to the solutions that
young women present to some of the social problems of the country in one of the
following areas: Strengthening Education, Improving Health, Strengthening the
Economy, Citizen Security and Sustainability of the Environment, choosing at
least one of the STEAM branches and using Microsoft technology.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math)
is defined as an educational approach to learning, using science, technology,
engineering and mathematics, but incorporating the arts to guide research,
generate dialogue and encourage the critical thinking of the students.

So, they participate in experiential learning,
persevere in solving problems, work collaboratively and deploy a creative
process, the entities stated.

“This initiative aims to promote strategies for
problem-based learning and service-based learning, helping to develop in the
students the skills and abilities of the future invaluable for their academic
and professional success,” said Keren Henríquez, director of education and corporate
social responsibility for Microsoft Caribbean.

“By creating an innovative project in the STEAM area,
we empower students to be part of the next generation of technology heroines,”
she said. “We thank the Science Trust for supporting us in the feat of inviting
students to use their knowledge of STEAM topics and pair them with research and
creativity to imagine and represent their vision of technology.”

To participate, students must come up a solution and
present their proposal to solve it. They will be asked to develop a
presentation with the Microsoft Sway tool and present a video of a maximum of two
minutes that explains and demonstrates its solution. The evaluation criteria
will consider four areas: originality, methodology, presentation of the result
and impact.

The evaluation committee is made up of educators from
the STEAM disciplines of specialized schools of the island, as well as
university professors who are experts in the same disciplines. The prizes for
the winners include, among others, a Microsoft Surface computer for the winner
of the intermediate category and a Microsoft Surface computer and special
participation in events such as the Microsoft Education Forum 2019 and the
Innovation Learning Week at Microsoft Operations Headquarters Puerto Rico in
Humacao for the winner of the superior category.

The competition’s first and second place winners will
receive cash prizes.

“For the Science, Technology & Research Trust it’s
very important to support this initiative that is aligned with our effort to
offer students, at intermediate and higher levels, the opportunity to expose
themselves to the STEAM disciplines, and particularly to girls, who remain a
minority in the professions of engineering, mathematics and science,” said Science
Trust CEO Lucy Crespo.

“The art in STEAM gathers all the opportunities that
the creative industries offer as professional and economic development. It is
the way in which from an early stage they can identify interests in the areas
where there will be future jobs and the opportunity to start,” said Crespo.

The winning projects will be announced between May 8
and May 10 and the final competitions of the Intermediate and Superior
categories will be held at the Microsoft Operations Puerto Rico of Humacao, on
May 16-17, respectively.

The project and final awards exhibition will take
place during the Microsoft Education Puerto Rico Forum 2019 on May 23 at the
Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino.

“During the last years, the STEM (Science Technology
Engineering Math) education evolved into STEAM which means a cutting-edge
change that we are taking advantage for the development of students,” said Migdalia
Bonilla, general manager of Microsoft Operations Puerto Rico.

“STEAM’s learning builds the skills students need, and
Microsoft encourages them to discover excellent physical activities that
stimulate creativity, increase curiosity and inspire them to continue to
develop,” she said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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