Available to young women (ages 15-17.5) around the world, applications are now open for the AFS Global STEM Accelerators: a full-scholarship virtual exchange program in sustainability, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), and positive social impact.
The program is run by AFS Intercultural Programs, a global non-profit intercultural exchange network with more than 75 years’ experience in international education. AFS received Diversity Abroad’s 2022 Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion in International Education (EDIIE) Award for the Accelerators’ successful inauguration. 20% of the scholarships will be allocated specifically for refugees and girls from displaced populations, whether from war, violence, or natural disaster.
The Accelerators program is part of a broader five-year scholarship initiative aimed at reaching 5,000 young people worldwide, with a focus on supporting women. The initiative is funded by bp, and the curricula is co-developed by AFS and the University of Pennsylvania Center for Social Impact Strategy. AFS conducts outreach with support from SPARK, an international NGO that creates pathways for young people, particularly women and refugees, in fragile communities worldwide. The program also provides internet and technical support for users in need.
Previous scholarship awardees reflect the diversity the program was designed to embrace: 20% were refugees or displaced persons; 82% identified as People of Color; 51% were from low-income households; and 10% are set to be the first in their families to graduate from high school.
AFS scholars’ voices echo the desire for a brighter and more inclusive future: “I am from a traditional society where girls don’t even have the right to go to school,” says Harira, a participant from Afghanistan. “Participating in this program is my first step toward achieving my goal to explore the world and become influential in improving sustainable societies.”
The Accelerators program culminates with scholars developing social impact capstone projects and presentations that offer potential solutions to real-world challenges, with an emphasis on sustainability. Participants earn the Advanced Certificate on Global Competence for Social Impact, awarded by AFS and the University of Pennsylvania.
“It is always exciting to see strong interest from brilliant young women around the world,” says Kerry Dryburgh, EVP people & culture, bp. “With their passion to make a difference and the skills they will learn, they are future changemakers, leaders and innovators.”
Applications are open until March 15, 2023, and the first cohort begins on May 13.
Learn more & apply: https://afs.org/global-stem/accelerators.