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Zaman youth attend free STEM camps at Oakland University

Oakland University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS) this month treated nearly three-dozen Zaman youth to a week-long “STEM” immersion experience introducing them to the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The 35 middle- and high school students attended one of two five-day camps organized by the SECS. The first was an “engineering exploration” camp examining a broad range of STEM concepts through lab experiments and activities, while the second was a projects-based robotics camp. The students, most of whom are children of women enrolled in Zaman’s Building Ongoing Opportunities Through Skills Training (BOOST) vocational skills program, were given lunch and round-trip transportation as part of the experience. The camps were completely sponsored by the SECS, and organized by Dr. Chris Kobus and Marianne Donoghue, who are the Director and Assistant Director of the SECS Outreach Program, respectively.

The camps were an exciting confidence-builder for youth who have suffered setbacks to their education as a result of difficult life circumstances, said BOOST Director Gigi Salka.

“The youth who attended the STEM camps are refugees whose studies have been interrupted by their displacement and who speak little or no English, as well as youth who are children of marginalized women heads of household trying to make a better life for their families,” said Salka, noting that the students were assisted with translation by a volunteer. “Spending a week at Oakland University, learning about dynamic disciplines with countless career opportunities – these experiences helped them to see themselves as college students and to believe that higher education is within their reach. This is vital to Zaman’s goal of ending intergenerational poverty and we are grateful to SECS for such a generous gesture.”

SECS Dean Louay Chamra – whose wife, Dr. Roufaida Al-Misky, is a volunteer tutor for Zaman’s adult literacy program – said “We are thrilled to provide this opportunity to these students. Encouraging students to pursue higher education in STEM allows for a brighter future. When students are successful, they better contribute to the advancements of their families, communities, and society. Everyone deserves an education in order for dreams to become realities. OU is proud to share these principles with Zaman.”

Zaman International is a nonprofit organization committed to addressing the basic needs and empowerment of marginalized women and children locally and internationally. Founded in 1996 and incorporated in 2004, Zaman has to date assisted more than 125,000 people in Southeast Michigan with food, clothing, furniture, utility assistance, infant burial, and other essential needs, while providing humanitarian relief, disaster response, and access to safe drinking water to an additional 600,000 across the world through international activities and partnerships. Since 2016, Zaman has operated out of the Hope For Humanity Center, a 40,500-square-foot facility in Inkster that houses its crisis assistance, vocational training and life skills programs. For more information, please visit www.zamaninternational.org.


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