As part of the finalist support stage of the GSTEP Challenge, finalists participate in industrial visits to institutions where they experience practical applications of STEM in the development of solutions to real world problems. The visits encourage the students to see how scientific and technological concepts they study at school are applied and stimulate them to think creatively about how their projects for the Challenge can be enhanced. The visits also serve as an opportunity for the students to learn more about STEM careers and subjects available to them.
Finalists in the Eastern region had the opportunity to visit Ashesi University College located in Berekuso in the Eastern Region. Founded by Patrick Awuah (a former Program Manager at Microsoft) in 2002, Ashesi University has earned a reputation for its commitment to encouraging ethical leadership, critical thinking, and innovation among its students. The university’s unique approach to education has attracted attention both nationally and internationally, making it a compelling destination for the finalists to witness the use of modern transformational teaching and learning methods in African higher education.
Led by knowledgeable student and administrative guides, the finalists embarked on a comprehensive tour of the campus, exploring state-of-the-art facilities, classrooms, and recreational spaces. The university’s commitment to sustainability was evident in its eco-friendly infrastructure, incorporating renewable energy sources and sustainable design practices. Ashesi’s commitment to academic excellence became apparent as the finalists engaged with faculty members and observed classes in session. The interactive and dynamic learning environment at Ashesi emphasized the importance of critical thinking, collaboration, and practical application of knowledge.
The team visited the Engineering department and in the Engineering department where the students were introduced to the Vortex Set-up, the Heat exchanger and the Hydraulics Set-up. In the FAB Laboratory, the teams saw projects done by other tertiary students and this aroused some curiosity and ambition within them. The students were shown how basic scientific and technological concepts they study at school are applied in the development of the projects presented.
The students also had a laser cutting and 3D printing session where they were shown how a laser cutter and 3D printer works. The session provided insights into how to use a laser cutter and 3D printer as well as how the finalists can use the equipment in the study of STEM subjects. These sessions were equally educational for the STEM coordinators and teachers present, many of whom were being introduced to these equipment for the first time.
The visit proved to be a transformative experience for the group of young people. From the cutting-edge academic programs and STEM resources to the inspiring sustainable and eco-friendly practices, the visit left an indelible mark on their minds. As they departed from the campus, the visitors carried with them not only a deeper understanding of academic excellence but also a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to making a positive difference in the world.