Partner Spotlight: Kasia Bracho and IBM
Penny Atkinson, Volunteer Writer
THE BRETEAU FOUNDATION STEAM PROGRAMME
This year, the Breteau Foundation has been excited to launch our STEAM programme in Latin America. The programme includes downloadable STEAM workshops with accompanying facilitator guides, ‘A Better World’ STEAM Challenge, and inviting teachers to online training. It’s been a busy year and we are proud to say that we have registered our initiatives with 1761 children!
MEET KASIA, SUPPLY CHAIN LEAD AT IBM
Like so many of our endeavours, these initiatives wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration of key partners and people who are as committed to children’s learning as we are. One of those partners is Kasia Bracho, an Industrial and Systems Engineer who has been an essential part of the Breteau Foundation’s STEAM initiative in Latin America.
Kasia, who is also the Supply Chain Lead at IBM (a global computer technology and IT consulting corporation), is an ardent advocate for young people from all backgrounds to explore careers within the STEM industry, and features in one of our Introduction to STEAM videos. In the video, Kasia emphasizes that “STEAM is not only subjects” (Science Technology, Engineering, Art, Maths), “it is a methodology that helps you learn through experience.”
From a brief glimpse at Kasia’s experience, it is clear to see that building supportive relationships has always been a consistent part of her ethos, with numerous roles held in mentoring, tutoring and coaching, alongside her work in technology and engineering. So, when looking for experts to advise on and support us in our STEAM programme, the Breteau Foundation knew that we wanted Kasia on board. As our Country Manager in Colombia, Jessica Villa Davila, puts it, “we could tell Kasia was passionate about STEAM right from the start as we came across her volunteering work, as well as her initiatives, such as her podcast, which is focused on women’s empowerment.”
COLLABORATION IS KEY
In an industry that has traditionally been viewed as more of a male domain, Kasia is keen to increase opportunities for young women in STEM careers at IBM, where employees are often essential members of their community initiatives. The company’s Corporate Social Responsibility team leads numerous social impact programmes, one current example being the IBMZ-4-Good Ideathon. The Ideathon invites students from across the world to create digital solutions on themes such as access to digital skills in education, gender inclusion and racial inequality in digital skill-building.
‘A BETTER WORLD’ CHALLENGE
In the spirit of STEAM advocacy, the Breteau Foundation has recently launched our ‘A Better World’ STEAM Challenge, inviting students from across Latin America to find solutions to existing social problems, and on which Kasia is acting as a panelist and judge. She has also served as a bridge for us to connect with IBM volunteers who will help us support our STEAM programme with schools, teachers and caregivers. For our Colombia manager, Jessica, “working with Kasia has been a joy as we have learned many things in the process and have also been influenced by her passion for STEAM.”
As our STEAM programmes enable more young people in Latin America to work together and develop their own skills, we look forward to also seeing our partnerships flourish. Who knows what exciting places these collaborations will lead to, but the more we can work alongside new partners such as Kasia, the wider the potential impact will be.