Wednesday 8 February 2023

16 Costa Rican girls are ready to travel to the NASA Space Center

"Ella Es Astronauta"is the program that contributes to the construction of significant changes breaking gender stereotypes that will allow raising the rates of women professionalizing in STEAM areas.

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QCOSTARICA – The 16 girls selected by the “SHE IS” Association reached the semifinal phase of the “ELLA ES ASTRONAUTA” (She Is Astronaut) program, where they will live a unique and incomparable experience during immersion at the NASA Space Center in Houston, Texas.

“Ella Es Astronauta”is the program that contributes to the construction of significant changes breaking gender stereotypes that will allow raising the rates of women professionalizing in STEAM areas.

During the first phases of the program, the crew members received virtual sessions for 12 weeks, where they learned about emotional well-being, innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), use of technologies, prevention of cyberbullying, and much more. With the aim of preparing them for immersion, inspiring them to be leaders and managers of change, and empowering them to make the impossible possible.

The immersion week (December 04 to 09) includes a series of activities and challenges in the NASA Space Center, where they will participate in the rocket construction challenge, lunar habitat design, robotics space field competition, visit the museum of aeronautics Lone Star Flight, among more. Likewise, they will have the opportunity to support their sustainable projects and meet women astronauts and leaders who are making history at NASA to finally graduate in mission delivery as an astronaut lives it.

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Together with the Space University Beyond, NASA and the great allies that make this program possible such as BAC Credomatic, Grupo INS, FIFCO, PROSOFT, Goya, Mastercard, EY, Servientrega, Fragomen, UN Women, TOTTO, United Airlines, Best Western, Aguilar Castillo Love, PSC, and The MAP Communications, have managed to inspire and empower girls with their contributions towards gender equality.

Costa Rica’s Sandra Cauffman, current Deputy Director of the Astrophysics Division in the Scientific Mission Directorate (SMD) at NASA headquarters, is one of the great tutors who has inspired and promoted more girls to transform their realities. Who, in addition to being part of the team of facilitators of the program, became a benchmark for successful women in the world.

Read more: From Costa Rica to Mars: Sandra Cauffman’s NASA Journey

“For Costa Rica, this program makes history in our country, demonstrating the way to transform realities with STEAM education. Today we arrive at NASA, we generate openness and opportunities, tomorrow they will be the ones making history in areas where the women are more recognized,” says Priscilla Solano, president of SHE IS for Costa Rica.

“I am very excited to integrate the ELLA ES ASTRONAUTA program with NASA, when they told me that I had been selected I was very happy, it is an opportunity to inspire and be a role model for so many girls in my country that everything is possible,” said Jimena Acuña Ulate, student of the program.

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The girls and adolescents come from different areas of the country such as San Ramón, Ciudad Quesada, Puriscal, Naranjo, Sarapiquí, Oreamuno, Grecia, Limón, Santa Cruz, Moravia, San Rafael de Heredia, Belén and San José; with some condition of vulnerability, disability or great desire to excel.

To bid farewell to the first crew from Costa Rica, on December 2 a press conference and discussion was held with the girls, directors of SHE IS, Jannixia Villalobos Vindas, Vice Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation – Micitt, and managers of the organizations that support this initiative, to accompany them and send them off to NASA.

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