Fostering a Transcontinental Collaboration during a Global Pandemic: SciBridge x SciFro
This year, SciBridge began a new project to adapt kits for SciFro’s two week summer school in 2021. SciFro is a non-profit organization based out of Stanford University whose mission is to empower African students to solve local problems through scientific research and innovation. Founders of SciFro and native Ethiopians, Iwnetim (Tim) Abate and Loza Tadesse, organize summer schools at Ethiopian schools such as Addis Ababa Science and Technology University (AASTU) where they provide hands-on learning opportunities to help prepare African students for graduate school, establish industry partnerships, and encourage student entrepreneurship. This summer, SciBridge and SciFro leaders held a virtual meeting and connected immediately on their shared vision for uplifting students through hands-on education and started a collaboration for a 2021 summer school in Ethiopia.
SciBridge was tasked with adapting three previous kits Al-air batteries, dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC), and thermoelectric generators (TEG) for the upcoming SciFro summer school. SciBridge received authorization from both the University and NC State MSE Department to allow the assembly of small groups of less than 5 students to put together kits. SciBridge’s first Build Day took place on November 21st where the main task was to assemble a prototype kit for each experiment. On December 2nd, following COVID-19 social distancing protocols, SciBridge members started to pack the kits in an assembly line fashion. The final Build Day of 2020 took place on December 9th and SciBridge volunteers replicated the Al-air battery experiment.
While waiting for more supplies to come in to test the DSSC kit, SciBridge members are amending and modernizing past lesson plans for the SciFro summer school. SciBridge is currently planning several Build Days in January and February 2021 to test out the DSSC experiment and finish kit assembly. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out this form.
SciBridge would like to thank all the volunteers who helped with the SciFro collaboration efforts: Alex Almaraz, Rachel Broughton, Alex Hsain, Ishita Kamboj, Cailin Peterson, Saeed Saeed, Mike Spencer, and Ruocun (John) Wang. We would also like to thank our sponsors for supporting SciBridge’s vision of connecting scientists and students across continents. Despite the difficult year, SciBridge has ended 2020 with a positive outlook for the future. We look forward to continuing our work on this exciting project in the new year!