“There’s an infinite number of things to learn about in this world, with endless applications,” explains Leslie Espinoza-Campomanes, who studies Biomedical Engineering and Human Rights at Stanford University. From modest and sometimes difficult origins in Peru, Leslie was the first in her family to attend college.
Meanwhile, fellow Stanford student Vivian Auduong grew up in Chicago, raised by parents who immigrated to the U.S. to escape the Vietnam War and who impressed the importance of education on her. Vivian studies Electrical Engineering at Stanford.
Besides the school they attend, Leslie and Vivian also share a love of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and a meaningful friendship. They met at the Intel WiSci (Women in Science) Girls STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Camp.
Vivian calls the camp “an incredible opportunity and exchange program that brings together girls from all over the world to learn about STEM topics together, to grow together, and to cultivate their confidence and their abilities.” The camp gave Leslie her first opportunity to use a microscope and cultivate cells in a Petri dish, as well as using fluorescence and robotics, and building an app.
Leslie and Vivian worked on their final project together: a phone case that allows visually impaired people to type in braille. Their project won first place in the Campers’ Choice and Technical categories.
Vivian says that education has changed her life completely and opened up numerous possibilities, and Leslie calls it a gift that lasts forever—literally able to transport people anywhere they want to be. “You are limitless in what you can do,” Vivian says, and “education is power,” Leslie adds.
Since 2015, Women in Science (WiSci) Camps have been made possible thanks to private-public partnerships between Intel, the United Nations Girl Up initiative, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships, and many other collaborators committed to closing the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).