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Creating Career Pathways in STEM through Mentorship

As career opportunities in STEM continue to grow, it is important that Ghanaian youth are given the necessary tools and opportunities to compete and take advantage of such career opportunities. Developing the skills necessary to pursue STEM starts with education both in and out of the classroom.

The responsibility to increase exposure of Ghanaian youth to STEM sits not only with educators but also with both private and public STEM community stakeholders. Providing a role model or figurehead to assist in the promotion and provision of practical learning in STEM is necessary in assisting students develop a career path.

In increasing access to STEM opportunities, providing mentors has shown to make significant positive outcomes especially for girls and disadvantaged students. Introducing mentors, especially from backgrounds that are similar to that of the mentees helps build confidence in students to pursue STEM subjects.  Many students need an understanding of the opportunities available to them and how they can pursue it.

Having an individual engage them directly to help navigate the options and opportunities available makes it easier for students to decide to pursue STEM courses. Mentorship also assists students in appreciating and understanding STEM careers from a perspective outside the classroom.

The GSTEP Mentorship program aims to offer finalists of the GSTEP Challenge the opportunity to expose themselves to career opportunities outside of the classroom while receiving guidance in the implementation and application of their projects.

Finalists teams will have a better appreciation of the relevance of STEM in today’s business world while applying the stages in the development and presentation of their prototypes to the opportunities in STEM. The Mentorship program will enable the students explore the options available to them as they proceed through school to assist in deciding how to pursue the STEM subjects they may be interested in.

James Otabil is a mentor on the GSTEP Mentorship program in the Ashanti Region. He is mentoring the finalist team, Smart Thinkers. James is pursuing an MPhil in Biochemistry at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

He joined the mentorship program because he believes that more young people should explore opportunities in the Sciences and he wants to encourage them to do so. His team, the Smart Thinkers, are developing a generator that is powered by electromagnetic energy.

James is impressed by the team’s enthusiasm for the project and he is putting in his best efforts to encourage the team while providing them with support and resources to help them understand their project as well as other opportunities in STEM.

He meets with the team weekly in their school and uses an interactive approach to understand them and provide the support where necessary. He is particularly interested in developing their critical thinking and problem solving skills which he believes is essential in STEM. He also provides areas for the team to do further research to help them learn more.

Each of the 50 finalist teams of the GSTEP Challenge is undergoing similar mentorship sessions to provide the needed support to all members of the teams. Teams undergo mentorship sessions for 7 weeks after which they will complete their projects for the Challenge and present it to a judging panel.

Mentors will be providing support in the areas of presentation skills, pitching, business plan development, STEM career guidance among other areas. Individuals in STEM and business are encouraged to participate in the GSTEP Mentorship program to increase access and opportunities in STEM to more Ghanaian youth. Interested participants can visit to learn more about the GSTEP Mentorship program.