AFS Intercultural Programs and BP announce the launch of the application cycle for the 2019 BP Global STEM Academies, STEM-based study abroad scholarship programs. The 2019 Academies will take place in Brazil, Egypt and the USA in June and July 2019. 100 high school students from around the world will be selected to participate and receive a scholarship covering the full participation fee, transportation and living costs. The deadline to apply is February 28, 2019.

Research shows that young people often fail to see how science-related subjects can have a direct and exciting application in their daily lives. At the same time, STEM education programs (science, technology, engineering and math) rarely prepare young minds to collaborate in cross-functional, culturally diverse and transnational work teams that are now commonplace in many workplaces.

To help build a pipeline of globally ready STEM professionals, AFS Intercultural Programs partnered in 2018 with BP, the global energy company, to create an innovative study abroad program. The BP Global STEM Academies are unique four-week full-scholarship programs that expose teens to key STEM principles and methodologies and critical global competence skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and foreign languages.

The BP Global STEM Academies blend immersive and hands-on STEM learning with cultural activities, intercultural learning and reflection to prepare diverse and talented high schoolers to succeed in an increasingly globally interconnected world. Program participants interact with STEM professionals, visit various energy facilities, as well as take classes on subjects like geology, math, robotics, climate change, architecture and more.

“I believe that the world is at a critical time where we need more teenagers of all backgrounds aspiring to STEM careers,” said Helmut Schuster, BP group human resources director. “Equally important, our world needs future leaders who are culturally fluent and able to transcend different languages, beliefs, and cultures in an intuitive way.”

For over 70 years, AFS has empowered more than 500,000 students and families around the world with intercultural education and exchange programs. AFS President and CEO, Daniel Obst, said, “Scholarship programs like the BP Global STEM Academies will help ensure that the STEM community is inclusive and that international education opportunities are open to those who may not be able to afford to go abroad. Our partnership with BP will help us empower more young people to confidently pursue their career interests and take their first steps to becoming active global citizens.”

The 2018 Academies were held in Brazil, Egypt and the USA and included participants from 14 countries (Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, the UK, and the USA).

Post-program assessments of 2018 Academy participants revealed an increase in global competence, with the teens demonstrating a greater understanding about how culture influences the way they perceive the world. Also, 97% of participants expressed an interest in pursuing STEM education and 87% reported a significant desire for a STEM career.

The BP Global STEM Academies prepare students to thrive in competitive and diverse classrooms and workplaces, and 93% of Academy participants in 2018 reported an increased in world affairs.

“It was an amazing experience,” said a scholarship winner from Germany who participated in the Brazil Academy in 2018. “I had the chance to grow, to get to know all those wonderful people from around the world, to learn more about STEM topics and about cultures. It inflamed a fire in me that motivates me to think critically and to question things.”

Applicants for the 2019 BP Global STEM Academies must be between 15 and 17.5 years of age with a demonstrated academic and career interest in science, technology, engineering, math or related fields and applications. Students from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply, ensuring a diverse and inclusive participation in the Academies.

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