A vision for STEM and belief in Guyana’s children- Karen Abrams continues to prove herself

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She packed her bags, travelled back and forth from the United States of America (USA) to Guyana, on the conviction that the children of Guyana should not be left behind in a rapidly developing technological world. She is determined to give Guyana’s children the type of educational exposure her children have benefitted from in the USA.

Herstory 

Undoubtedly, Karen Abrams has a vision for Guyana’s children and is determined to work with them, in their communities, with their parents and the government to realise it. She travelled to Guyana around 2016 with a dream, and the support of former first lady Sandra Granger, confident in her ability to help shape a brighter future. She led the introduction of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as an integrated discipline to Guyanese children. 

The subjects in STEM could be intimidating for adults much less children. Thus, when Karen burst onto the scene seeking to create national appreciation for the disciplines through robotics learning, whilst some embraced her desire with open arms, others were wary. In short time she proved herself and supporters right and forced the wary to recognise her ability.  Her passion- a most fitting description- was released in the project (STEMGuyana) she launched with the support of her family and well-wishers. 

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Karen has brought to STEMGuyana her all. Her can-do and go-getter attitudes rally support for the project. Her children have been involved, including travelling to Guyana to provide necessary technical support and encouragement critical to success. She has kept society informed and involved utilising social media (Facebook) as a platform. Persons have been kept abreast of the children’s progress, rallied around them, and have shared feedback reminiscence of the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Hers has been the ever-inspiring presence about the possibilities and enthusiasm of the children she has taken under her proverbial wings. Not once has she demonstrated she would quit or has given up on her ward, in spite of challenges, financial or otherwise. For her learning, education and opportunities are not confined to class, location, race, creed and all the other diversionary ‘elements’ use to deprive. 

She has taken under her wings’ children from the poorest to the richest neighbourhoods. No village or ward has been beneath her interest nor the children residing within are considered unworthy. 

Robotics accomplishments

These are Guyana’s children Karen has been moulding and exposing to compete with themselves and against students of more developed societies and with superior education infrastructures. In 2017 she collaborated with the Ministry of Education to launch a Maths App for the National Grade Six Assessment.  

In 2018 Karen took the Robotics Team to the international arena. Rather than be intimidated the children were injected with confidence that they are as good as anyone, could compete and win. Participating in the Global Robotics Competition held in Washington DC, Guyana placed 10th.  

In 2019 Guyana participated in the much sought-after International STEM Competition, coming in 39th out of the 190 participating countries and walked away with the Albert Einstein Gold Medal of Excellence. 

Karen has produced a STEM Television talk show “Robin The Robot” to ensure continuity of education in the pandemic. She helped produce the podcast “Learning Pods” which is screened in nine of the country’s ten administrative regions. She has trained two hundred plus STEM Club leaders across Guyana. 

Karen has also provided curriculum and material support for 70 plus local STEM clubs, and prepared youth robotics national teams for participation in local and international competitions. Not settling for children alone learning the importance of Robotics, Karen has piloted a role for the parents. According to Stabroek Business (April 4, 2021) she has launched a ‘Parent Academy’ in order that parents, who have children (Grade 1 to 10), are empowered to learn about the programme and be able to supervise and teach their children.   

National Award and USA recognition 

The outstanding work Karen has done moulding the minds of Guyana’s children, preparing them to compete, through STEM, at home and in a global economy has been second to none.  Both Guyana and the USA have acknowledged her efforts and achievements.  

In 2018, she was awarded Guyana’s fourth-highest National Award, the Golden Arrow of Achievement. This Order is said to be conferred on any citizen of Guyana who has performed an outstanding and specific act of service or achievement of an exceptional nature or is given for long and dedicated service of a consistently high standard in responsible offices, local government services, social and voluntary services, industry or trade unions, or in any other area of public service.

Last month she was amongst “50 Women Over the age of 50” who were recognised by the prominent USA Forbes Magazine for exemplifying, “the full range of career and passion project paths including entrepreneurship, business ownership, non-profit and philanthropic pursuits, inspirational leadership, public service, policy conceptualisation and implementation and social advocacy.” 

Source- internet 



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