by Andrés Peñaloza Lanza, Educator and School Relations Consultant, AFS Intercultural Programs


What are the intersections of global competence, sustainable development and science? AFS’ Andres Lanza recently sat down for an interview with Cristiane Borges Santos, a Computer Networks and Information Security teacher at the Federal Institute of Goiás High School (Instituto Federal de Goiás – Campus Luziânia), in Brazil to explore this topic. She’s currently one of the 150 educators from around the world participating in the AFS Effect+ for the Classroom Program, which develops active global citizens among high schoolers and contributes to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

AFS Effect+ Program introduces students to the UN SDGs and how to work together to help advance these goals in their communities. Apart from the workshops for teens, the AFS Effect+ also includes a program for high-school teachers with training and resources, thanks to the generous support of The Sir Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation. Since it started in 2018, the AFS Effect+ program has been implemented in 18 countries, engaging 200 schools and educational institutions, and reaching almost 10,000 teens. Find out more here.

What were the biggest lessons learned from the AFS Effect+ for the Classroom program?

The Effect + for the Classroom was inspiring and a great opportunity for learning. Connections and interactions with educators from around the world were possible, with different cultures and challenges. In a world marked by diversity, intercultural learning is extremely important to create an environment of justice, inclusion and empathy, with public and quality education.

How do you use global and intercultural skills as a science teacher?

I am a teacher in the area of ​​Computer Networks, Information Security and I have projects related to Robotics and the Internet of Things. In the classroom and in the laboratory, students develop team activities, critical thinking for solving problems, discussion and internalization of ideas through social and cultural interaction, always prioritizing team diversity and developing meaningful connections with each other.

Why is it important to include more women and girls in science?

Many studies focus on socially established beliefs, values ​​and attitudes, forming stereotypes about different skills between men and women. Breaking this paradigm that science and technology is not a girl’s thing is essential for a new generation of girls to feel motivated to choose these areas.

Which of the UN SDGs do you identify with and how do you work to achieve them?

I identify with the following SDGs:

  • Quality Education: I try to develop teaching, research, extension and scientific initiation projects within my school (Instituto Federal de Goiás, in Brazil) to seek beyond the development of meaning, the interest, involvement and creativity of students, motivating knowledge through creative learning.
  • Gender Equality: At the end of 2013, we created the Metabotix (Educational Robotics, Metarecycling, Free Software and Free Culture Laboratory of the Federal Institute of Goiás – Campus Luziânia) with the aim of motivating girls who enter high school to pursue a career in the STEM areas, by demystifying the role of women in the areas of Science and Technology.

What advice would you give to future women scientists?

Behind all current technology, there are great women. For example: Ada Byron (Lady Lovelace) is known as the first programmer in history; Grace Murray Hopper contributed to the development of the COBOL programming language; Marina C. Chen designed and implemented the Fortran compilers; Hedy Lamarr was an actress and was responsible for the spectral spreading technique that served as the basis for some wireless communication technologies; Radia Perlman is considered “mother of the Internet” for her invention of the Spanning Tree protocol. A woman’s place is wherever she wants to be.