STEM experts play a critical role in an increasingly global society that is faced with myriad challenges, including climate change, water scarcity, increase in natural disasters and more. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy – and enables the next generation of innovators to address these challenges head-on, identifying solutions that can shape, safeguard and improve our world.
Here are some of the projects you could get involved in:
Engineering/Architecture: Students would have an opportunity to explore engineering and architecture in the context of Chicago. This city is famous for innovative designs and leading-edge engineering concepts. William Le Baron Jenney built the first skyscraper and pioneered the first metal frame buildings. Students will end the first week by using engineering principals and creating their own skyscraper.
Science/Industry/Energy: Students would visit the Museum of Science & Industry and collaborate in a simulation called “Future Energy: Chicago” to help reimagine and reinvent Chicago’s energy future. Student teams would have the opportunity to think about how to maximize energy efficiency with trade-offs to various options: oil, natural gas, solar, wind and more.
Conservation/Environment: Meet with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and participate in a workshop about what’s being done to protect the world’s largest source of fresh water – the Great Lakes. Learn more about Lake Michigan and how fresh water is managed.
Science/Environment: Spend an afternoon at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and see how a single water reclamation plant cleans over 700 million gallons of waste water per day and then sends clear water back out into streams and rivers. The process incorporates physical and biological processes with a combination of air, gravity and microorganisms speeding up a
process that would take weeks in the natural environment – and making it happen in hours.
Engineering/Science/Technology: Spend a day at Argonne National Labs, a multidisciplinary science and engineering research center where talented professionals work to find solutions to some of the biggest questions facing humanity from how to obtain affordable clean energy to protecting ourselves and our environment.
Technology/Science/Medicine: Tour a state-of-the-art university hospital trauma center and see how teams of specialists can handle Level 1 emergencies. The students will also hear about next-generation clinical trials and groundbreaking new treatment options.
Weekday Mornings: Students will have classes on a variety of topics such as: Engineering, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Physics, etc.
Weekday Afternoons: Students with have a mix of workshops & activities in the local community, and excursions within the Chicago region. These workshops, activities and excursions serve to reinforce the concepts being studied and to further expose students to additional areas of STEM.
Evenings: AFS-USA provides regular intercultural learning small group discussions and workshops to ensure that students are also learning the soft skills – empathy, sensitivity and cultural understanding to equip them more fully to be globally competitive in their careers.
Weekends: Most weekends are spent in downtown Chicago exploring the city, the museums, the beaches, the shops and much more.
Unscheduled/Personal Time: The program provides personal time in which students can play sports, engage in music and dance, check their social media, and more!
Having fun is, of course, a precept throughout the programme!