In a high school classroom in Lima, Peru, a group of students are programming a 3-D printer. Later on, the students—who until then have not had previous programming experience—will be learning to code with Python, eventually building tech projects with social impact. It’s all part of United Technologies for Kids (UTK), an NGO startup that U-M sophomore Giuliana Huerta Mercado created to promote science and technology education in developing countries.
Huerta Mercado said she was always been interested in science, but there were few opportunities in her high school in Peru to have hands-on experience. It was while visiting her engineering friends at their labs that she had the idea for the program. “I loved how the university promoted STEM education and the projects my friends were doing,” she said. “I thought they must have had hands-on education in school. That’s when I decided to bring hands-on education and STEM projects to schools in Peru.”