(Junior Academy Members: L-R Elias and Victor from IES Länna)
Eight students from five IES schools have joined a prestigious group of young international scientists and mathematicians.
The New York Academy of Sciences started its Junior Academy to encourage talented students from around the world to work together, with companies and experts to find innovative solutions to global challenges. Now the group has recruited students from IES schools in Johanneberg, Liljeholmen, Huddinge, Sundsvall and Länna for this STEM project (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Students taking part in the project compete in challenges over 70 days with topics around some of the greatest issues humanity faces today, including issues around public health, nutrition, hygiene, climate change and energy, among others.
Two of the students taking part are Victor and Elias from IES Länna.
Elias said: “I have always loved to come up with solutions and design work, I love these subjects and working in groups, so I can learn from all of these different people from around the world. That is the biggest part of it, you get to be part of this community and solve problems with people.
"The school told me about this opportunity, I got help from my teachers to write my application, and one of my teachers wrote a recommendation letter. I couldn’t have written such a good application without all that help.”
Victor added: "I will learn to work in teams and with people from all over the world, make friends, and learn about people with different abilities. For example, right now I am not good at coding but I might get a lot better and learn more, maybe develop interests I do not have today.
"When I talked to my parents, they weren’t too sure I would succeed. When I told them that I got in they were really happy, they said congratulations and that I could choose dinner. I chose kebab, of course.”
Being part of the programme means that the students taking part are members of the New York Academy of Sciences, which once had Charles Darwin and Thomas Edison as members.
The students work in their free time to find the best solution to the challenges which have been posed. Those taking part choose who they want to work with, through a global network where they can create a profile which lists their skills and interests.
Now both Victor and Elias have been approached by other students from around the world, keen to enlist their help for the challenges.
Elias said: “I have a lot of messages telling me that they want to learn things together and asking if I want to team up. A lot from Sweden, but also from Pakistan and Egypt, there are a lot from those countries and India. I’m amazed that they want to learn from me and team up with me, it just feels good”
Mr Pruden, academic manager at IES Länna, has been one of those encouraging the two students to apply to take part.
He said: “We were really hoping that one of the two might get in, and when we got the emails to say that they would both take part, we had an academic euphoria. It was a nice feeling and great to see how much both of these students really lit up."
Those teams who win a challenge are given an all-expenses-paid trip to the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City for the annual Global STEM Alliance Summit, where they receive prizes and special recognition.
That is something Victor has his eye on, but he thinks this year will be spent learning how the system works, so that he has a greater chance of winning challenges in the years to come.
He said: “Of course it would be really fun to go to New York but I have plenty of time to win a challenge, I can be part of the community for five years. Now I will focus on learning the community and seeing how it works.”
IES wishes all the students taking part the best of luck and hopes that they reach New York.