Last weekend 70 senior high school girls, 8 neuroscience professionals and several volunteers from GhScientifc and University of Cape Coast (UCC) Medical School gathered to commemorate this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science. GhScientific had 70 girls from 5 senior high schools; Mfantsiman SHS, Edinaman SHS, University Practice SHS, Aggrey Memorial SHS and Ghana National College in Cape Coast for a Neuroscience Experiential Day.
Women are underrepresented in different fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and the lack of diversity in Neuroscience with a majority of them being males is no exception in Ghana. The aim was to mobilize and inspire these young girls into an area of science that is receiving growing global attention: NEUROSCIENCE.
The participants had the opportunity to learn new and fascinating things about the human brain, techniques used to understand how the human brain works, neurological assessments, molecular tests, cellular imaging and behavioral tests. Apart from these activities, the students were engaged in a speed mentoring session and an interesting discussion on the science behind addiction.
According to one of the students Nana Akua Duah from Mfanstiman SHS, she thought the camp was going to be all about experiments but was surprised to have career counselling in addition. She hoped that the next experiential day will have more time will be allocated to the career session. In her opinion having more knowledge about neuroscience professions will make them better equipped for the future. Due to her recent exposure, Nana Akua would like to be a neuroscientist in the future.
The camp was facilitated by Dr. Thomas Tagoe (Neuroscientist and GhScientific Cofounder), Dr. Francis Djankpa (Neuroscientist and Head of Physiology Department at UCC), Dr. Robert Biney (Neuropharmacologist), Dr. Abdala Ussif (Neuropharmacologist), Dr. Felix Yirdong (Clinical Psychologist), Dr. Benjamin Aboagye (Neuroscientist), Dr. Kwesi Agyen-Mensah (Neurosurgeon) and Dr. Kevin Akoto (Medical Officer)
GhScientific is an NGO focused on promoting STEM education and communication with the purpose of changing stereotypes about these fields to encourage the younger generation to venture into STEM related fields which will have socio-economic impact on Ghana’s development. The organization has organized several experiential days free for students over the years however; Cape Coast was the first for 2019 with plans of having similar ones in Kumasi, Ho and Koforidua throughout the year. These activities are also in line with this year’s International Women’s Day 2019 campaign theme: #BalanceForBetter, with specific interest in gender-balanced neuroscience professionals.