In partnership with the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna and American Councils for International Education, eight international girls traveled to the United States to participate in a weeklong STEM summer camp at the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado in Colorado Springs. The girls, from India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Senegal were paired with eight local Colorado Springs girls to collaborate on exciting STEM projects and build personal connections that are sure to last a lifetime.

The international girls have a common goal: to pursue STEM-related fields and make a difference in their respective countries. Adja from Senegal hopes to one day transform her country with the field of science by building hospitals and providing other hospitals with new and modern infrastructure. Fatou, also from Senegal, wants to become a heart specialist and help develop her country by opening health clinics. And Sana from India, dreams of becoming a biological researcher and contributing to the welfare of her community – these are just examples of how a lifelong interest in STEM can empower a generation to change the world.

The Colorado Springs summer camp reinforced important 21st-century skills with hands-on, engaging STEM activities, like programming LEGO Mindstorms to complete a Mars mission and using engineering design to address a community problem. The program was an opportunity for the girls to connect with peers from different countries and cultures, apply key STEM concepts to real-world scenarios, and prepare to become the innovators and leaders of the future.

During the camp, the girls built parachutes and stomp rockets, freed a robot stuck on the surface of Mars, collected Martian rock samples, among other things. The girls transformed into different STEM professionals as they learned the importance of teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving – skills that will make them successful in their careers.

The visiting students were competitively selected from a national application by American Councils for International Education to participate in the summer camp. This experience is made possible thanks to funding from U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna and international student selection, recruitment, and participation managed by American Councils for International Education.