Enugu–– The U.S. government is strongly committed to supporting the development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and programs that will encourage young Nigerian students to pursue studies and careers in tech fields.
The DNA Learning Center hosted at the Godfrey Okoye University Enugu on Thursday concluded the U.S. supported “Back To Science Initiative” that provided hands-on laboratory DNA training for 160 secondary school students and 40 teachers across Enugu state.
Over the last five months, participants were exposed to the newest ideas, discoveries and technologies in biology and life sciences that includes sample collection and metadata annotation, DNA extraction and isolation, bioinformatics and data analysis in a collaborative, hands-on, and practical learning environment.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the program, U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer Stephen Ibelli said it was imperative for young students especially girls to have access to mentors from a range of technical fields who can help them gain skills and boost their confidence to consider higher education and careers in STEM.
He explained that “The Back To Science Initiative” is one of the U.S. government’s efforts to support the next generation in building their capacity in STEM fields, using inquiry-based learning and hands-on laboratory techniques.
“STEM education is the key foundation for any country’s economic success, and the U.S. Mission Nigeria is excited to support this initiative that serves as an inspiration for young people to consider STEM subjects in their future careers in order to continue to build technical capacity in Nigeria, Ibelli said.
Coordinator of “The Back to Science Initiative” and Assistant Director of Research & Training at the DNA Learning Center, Michael Okoro, said the training provided an opportunity for underserved students and educators to be trained in practical molecular biology and laboratory techniques.
“Interestingly, participants are already making informed choices on their future career fields and seeking further guidance from the staff of the DNA Learning Center Nigeria,” he added.
The United States Consulate in Lagos awarded a grant to the DNA Learning Center Nigeria at the Godfrey Okoye University Enugu to support efforts to promote a hands-on approach to STEM educational delivery in Nigeria.
More broadly, the United States has invested millions of dollars to directly advance STEM education in Nigeria, through activities that promote opportunities for young people especially women in tech fields.