1-week summer school in STEM-disciplines back in Colombia

1-week summer school in STEM-disciplines back in Colombia

by Diana Mancera, Colombia (PPRE 2011-13)

Former PPRE student Diana Mancera shares her experience of the summer school in Colombia:

Science Clubs were an initiative of latinamerican students which were abroad and wanted to create a social impact in their countries of origin through the knowledge they acquired during their careers (focused on STEM disciplines). It was founded as a non-profit organization in 2016. Currently, there are clubs organized in different countries (mainly spanish speakers). In the particular case of Colombia it is supported by government educational institutions and some private and public universities. They are organized in some of the main colombian cities and there is one version which is focused on remote rural areas. The team of each proposed club is comprised by one instructor living abroad and another one (in a related field or discipline) which lives in the country where the club is organized. Travel expenses and US$300 for materials are sponsored by the organization while the time dedicated to the course remains as voluntary service. 

The one-week program aims mainly at students of secondary school and it intends awakening their interest in STEM disciplines. In our particular club we worked on an introductory course about renewable energies. The idea of the final project was proposing sustainable solutions from energy point of view for each of the main regions of Colombia, according to their particular situation (resources, needs, etc). Among others the following solutions were proposed by the group:

  • Use of passive solutions to the greatest extend possible (green roofs, bioclimatic design using local resources, etc)
  • Use of PV at domestic and utility scale in the regions where the potential allows it (specially in the northern region and the archipielagos where currently energy is produced mainly  by imported diesel from continental regions)
  • Installation of a CSP plant in the desert of La Guajira in the north Coast (Atlantic Sea) of the country, which has good values of direct irradiance. Since the region undergoes potable water scarcity, part of the produced energy would be used to support desalinization of sea water.
  • Installation of wind farms, especially in the north where wind speeds are higher. The tower would be done in Guadua (a local kind of bamboo).
  • For the case of the Pacific Region where irradiance values are not so promising, we focused on the use of other resouces. Namely:
    • Collection of rainwater to be used for energy production to watermills
    • Use of geothermal energy near to the volcanos of the Los Andes mountain chain
    • Production of energy from plants in large extensions of crops in agricultural regions.
    • Use of the energy potentially produced by the the approaching and docking of boats in the seaport.
  • Use of biomass from crops waste in agricultural regions.
  • Use of small vertical wind turbines along the largest highways of the country.
  • Use of electrical boats for turistic regions (i.e. Amazonas river,  the coasts etc)
  • Use of "green" paving stones that collect energy from the footsteps.
  • Extension of the interconnected zones.

In summary it was a beatiful experience to see the interest of the kids, to have lot of smart questions and to count on their compromise and imagination to propose useful solutions.

The following is the webpage of the Science Clubs International:

Unfortunately, the website of the Colombian version is only in Spanish:

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