The ‘Race to Space’ competition awards 12 Moroccan students scholarships to travel to Washington D.C. and attend Space Camp.
By Carolina McCabe
Rabat – The fifth annual Race2Space (‘Race to Space’) application will open on Sunday, December 16. In partnership with the US Embassy in Rabat, the Scientific Morocco Association seeks Moroccan students ages 15 to 18 interested in science and mathematics. The contest aims to provoke creative thinking about fundamental concepts in STEM.
Students applying for the contest must put together a creative three-minute video about a concept or theory in STEM. For the first time, the application also requires an experiment, demonstration, or simulation within the video that illustrates the concept being communicated.
“If we are to build a greater appreciation of science in the public consciousness, education is key. We need great scientists, but more importantly great communicators who can unlock the mysteries of nature in ways that amaze us, ” said El Hassan Bouaghad, the vice president of Scientific Morocco and director of the program. “Exposure to a topic for the first time allows innovative insights, and youth have the ability to communicate with their peers in a way that others can’t.”
After the submission of applications on January 19, 2019, a team from the Scientific Morocco Association will pre-select applications to then be reviewed by a jury of scientists and science communicators. Students are judged on their ability to communicate the topic in an engaging, interesting, and imaginative way. Students applying must also engage in peer review. Each applicant will rate the applications of five other applicants.
The 12 winners will receive full scholarships, paid for by the US State Department, to the renowned Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama in July of 2019. The students will also travel to Washington D.C., where they will visit scientific, cultural, and educational sites on an immersion tour.
The Scientific Morocco Association aims to make scientific knowledge more accessible to Moroccans. With various initiatives, the association strives to create opportunities for Moroccans to engage in STEM. According to their website, “Space Camp provides unique inspirational experiences to talented youth that can help shape their future choices and push them to inspire other kids.”
Space Camp is held at the US Space and Rocket Center. Every year students from across the United States and over 150 countries take part in the camp. Throughout the experience, trainees experience simulated missions, collaborate in teams, and learn about flight and space history.
According to Space Camp, 61 percent of all graduates are in the fields of aerospace, defense, energy, education, biotech or technology, or studying to do so.