GeminiFocus January 2018 | Page 29

Manuel Paredes Viaje al Universo 2017 Encourages Diversity in Astronomy and More Gemini South’s 2017 Viaje al Universo focused heavily on promoting gender equity in astronomy and encouraging STEM careers. In October 2017, Viaje al Universo (Viaje) — one of Gemini South’s most popular public out- reach programs — celebrated its seventh year of bringing the wonders of science and as- tronomy to classrooms in La Serena and Coquimbo, Chile. During the week-long event over 5,000 people participated in Viaje’s many exciting and educational programs and activities. Veronica Firpo (in black at center) joined a group of female students for a photo at the end of Firpo’s public talk about women in astronomy, as part of Viaje al Universo’s activities. Over 30 professionals from the University of La Serena, Gemini South, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), and the Giant Magellan Tele- scope (GMT), visited 32 classrooms and over 1,500 students. These scientists, engineers, and astrono- mers shared the wonders of the Universe using fun, interactive presentations. Viaje 2017 introduced two new events designed to foster diversity in Science, Technology, Engineer- ing, and Mathematics (STEM) careers: (1) Gemini presented a public talk sponsored by the Chilean Government’s Ministry of Women that empha- sized the importance of women in astronomy; and (2) a Mateada Astronómica — an event similar to an English “Tea Time”; typically participants converse in a relaxed environment while sip- ping on mate, a traditional South American caffeine-rich drink. The events engaged over 200 local women and encouraged them to pursue astronomy-related careers. January 2018 GeminiFocus 27