by Jun Karren V. Caparoso, CED

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE) through the Gender and Development Resource Center (GADRC) and the College of Education (CED) organized a webinar session on the topic “Promoting STEM among Girls” last June 4, 2020.

The webinar speaker was Dr. Roberto Ramos, a Filipino physicist and educator who is currently an Associate Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research at the University of the Sciences (USciences) in Pennsylvania, USA. He is an advocate of “Women in STEM” himself and founded the “Physics Wonder Girls Camp” for middle school girls at the USciences in 2016.

Dr. Ramos spoke about gender issues in the Philippine educational system and shared possible mechanisms to address the said issues. He also talked about how girls learn and emphasized the vital role of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers and educators in promoting and sustaining the interest of girls in science and mathematics. He pointed out that girls need positive reinforcement from the environment as studies have shown that success of girls in STEM fields is shaped largely by the support and encouragement they get from their parents at home and from their teachers in school.

Furthermore, he urged STEM teachers to maintain the excitement, interest and curiosity that children bring with them as they enter school. He said that teachers must provide a safe and nurturing environment for students, especially the girls in school, and shall practice the use of encouraging words or adjectives, allow girls to interact with scientists, and engage them in inquiry-based and authentic learning experiences. Teachers may also experiment on new techniques in teaching STEM that provide more learning opportunities for girls, he added.

Dr. Ramos concluded his talk by sharing his experiences in organizing the “Physics Wonder Girls Camp,” which aims to enhance middle girls’ interest in Physics through a series of engaging hands-on activities. His passion for promoting an equal representation of girls in STEM resonates through his words and actions and he is such an inspiration to the participants.        

The webinar was held via Google Meet and was also streamed live on Facebook though the assistance of the Information and Communications Technology Center and MSU-IIT Center for e-Learning. The two-hour meeting was attended by at least 90 participants comprised of administrators, students, and STEM teachers teaching in the junior and senior high schools. 

The webinar was also co-presented by the Department of Education Regional Office-10.