Case University – STEMpower – Ethiopia STEM Initiative

STEMpower envisions a technologically-developed, economically-independent, and self-sustaining Ethiopia-Africa. The organization continuously stretches its hand to reach pre-university students in urban cities as well as in remote areas of Ethiopia to cultivate the scientist in every child. STEMpower brought key allies in realizing its vision effectively and efficiently such as the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) known as case University. Case University is a major US university located in Cleveland, Ohio. This historic engineering school has been developing a Chemical Engineering curriculum applicable for Ethiopian STEM Centers funded and established by the Gelfand Family Charity Trust (GFCT) – STEMpower

In March 2019, a team from Case University visited four STEM Centers, Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT), Gondar University, Bahir Dar University, and Foka-Bishoftu Center, in the Central and Northern part of Ethiopia to demonstrated the lab coursework and to get feedback on the curriculum. Each visit included a lab demonstration of saponification – the making of soap from plant-based materials.

The Case Western University acknowledged the dedication and work of the founder of GFCT-STEMpower as follows (www.case.edu). 

The initiative is funded by a commitment from philanthropist Mark Gelfand, who previously endowed Case Western Reserve’s Leonard Gelfand STEM Center in honor of his uncle, who attended the former Case Institute of Technology and graduated as an electrical engineer.

Throughout Ethiopia, Gelfand has built a network of 30 schools and STEM centers that provide high-quality education for thousands of students each year. The initiative will partner with this network, to have a widespread impact. 

By all accounts, the visit exceeded the team’s expectations. Hundreds of pre-university students at the STEM Centers were highly engaged with the experiment. Students also raised many questions which led to further discussion and modification of the Chemistry Engineering curriculum. 

On a larger scale, the visit served as the kick-off for the Case University Gelfand Global STEMpower Initiative, which will involve Ethiopian STEM Centers and Universities.  We hope the initiative will expand to other countries in Sub-Sahara Africa.

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