STEM Education Onstage: An Enseña por Colombia Alumnus Presents During UN General Assembly Week

Bryann Avendaño, Enseña por Colombia alumnus, Co-founder of ScienteLab

In 2015, I visited the Natural History Museum of Berlin and I was inspired by a top scientist who was teaching a group of children what science truly is and how to conduct it, as well as the relevance of science for society. I realized what I could do as a scientist and a social leader: inspire children to get involved in science and break the cultural misunderstanding about STEM careers in my country. 

When I came back to Colombia and decided to join Enseña por Colombia, I woke up every day with the motivation that, one day, every child will have a scientific education and the opportunity to choose STEM careers as their life project.

After my first year of teaching, I co-founded the non-profit ScienteLab and joined the board of Clubes de Ciencia Colombia, one of the largest STEM initiatives in Colombia and Latin America. Clubes de Ciencia began in Mexico and has expanded into seven  countries.

Clubes de Ciencia Colombia  has grown from 15 clubs in 2015 to more than 119 clubs in 2019, thanks to many partners who believe in our mission—to inspire the next generation of scientists in Colombia—and are also passionate about building a network of scientists to tackle our economic, social, and environmental transformation in Colombia. In the past five years, we have worked with over 8,700 children and over 700 scientists, as well as connecting with over 300 partner organizations.

This year, Clubes de Ciencia Colombia was named one of the top 10 organizations that are contributing to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations Foundation and invited to participate in the fifth annual United Nations Solutions Summit in New York City. I traveled to attend the program during the week of the United Nations General Assembly and had the opportunity to speak onstage about the work we are doing in Colombia and Latin America, its impact so far, and our goals and commitments for the future.  It was incredible to to share this important stage with leaders and innovators from across the world who talked about other groundbreaking ideas, like eco-bicycles in Ghana, 3D-printed prosthetics in Tunisia, music production for nature conservation, and coding and digital literacy for women in Nigeria.

Attending the Solutions Summit made me realize the importance of reaching different audiences—policy-makers, UN leaders, investors, and politicians—not just for the connections with powerful actors but also simply to highlight the need to develop scientific skills to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. This opportunity was the first time an Enseña por Colombia alumnus spoke onstage during  the United Nations General Assembly Week about how to address the quality of education in Colombia through STEM Education, but I hope it will not be the last.

Read more about Teach For All network partners' participation in the events surrounding the 2019 UN General Assembly.