Science In A Suitcase is a non-profit educational organization helping to shape schools, students & teachers

OUR STORY

Science in a Suitcase (SIAS) was formed in 2014, on a bus ride through miles of rice fields in rural Vietnam. In an attempt to temporarily satisfy their travel itch before becoming parents, Nicole and her husband Andy planned a babymoon LEGO robotics adventure across Southeast Asia. They invited their favorite robot enthusiasts, Lillan and Antonio, to join them. Together, they spent three weeks eating their way through Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam and introducing disadvantaged children to science, engineering, and creativity through LEGO robotics. Inspired by the lives they touched, they founded SIAS with the vision of packing science and engineering experiments into a suitcase, bringing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math) education to underserved communities worldwide.

Building technical literacy is crucial for engaging with today's world, and our programs focus on teaching the fundamentals of engineering and computer science. However, we go beyond just technical skills. We aim to nurture creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and resilience in failure, helping kids transform their ideas into tangible prototypes and ultimately make a positive impact on their world.

Since our inception, we've implemented programs across the globe, from Austin, Texas, to Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Suriname, and beyond. We’ve donated over 150 LEGO robotics kits to underserved youth, trained hundreds of teachers and mentors globally, and sparked new possibilities for countless children along the way.

How do we work?

At Science in a Suitcase, we are dedicated to following regenerative travel practices when working with different communities. Our approach is guided by the 4 C's of regenerative travel:

Community We believe in respectful and collaborative engagement. We only travel to communities where we are invited. From the outset, community leaders are involved in every decision that affects their stakeholders during our visit, ensuring our presence is welcomed and beneficial.

Commerce Supporting local economies is a priority for us. We source vendors and suppliers from the local community wherever possible, fostering economic growth and sustainability in the areas we visit.

Conservation We are committed to environmental stewardship. Each trip includes daily opportunities to learn about and participate in local conservation efforts.

Culture We value and respect the unique cultures of the communities we visit. Our cultural activities are curated in collaboration with local community partners to ensure they are represented with dignity and authenticity, providing a meaningful and respectful cultural exchange.

Partnerships are at the heart of our work. We collaborate with schools, communities, local NGO’s, and local STEM organizations to create sustainable impact. Once we establish these relationships, we co-design educational programs tailored to the needs of the community. Whether it's a rural town in South Africa or a home school community in Central Texas, we bring a team of dedicated volunteers to kickstart the program, train local teachers, and engage kids in hands-on learning experiences.

Our Commitment to Regenerative Travel

Our team

Jeremy Mwenda | Program Coordinator - Kenya
Nicole Richard | Board President

jeremy@scienceinasuitcase.org

nicole@scienceinasuitcase.org

Lillan Sprietz | Board Vice President

lillan@scienceinasuitcase.org

Antonio F Delgado | Minster of Fun and Education
Barbara Joubert | Logistics

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Barbara@scienceinasuitcase.org

Andy Hinde | Finance

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Andy@scienceinasuitcase.org

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Nicole spent nearly a decade leading the NI development teams behind the creation of the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® and LEGO® WeDo® robotics software. This unexpected opportunity to use her engineering degree to develop toys sparked a passion in Nicole for helping children discover and cultivate an interest in science and technology. She soon found herself traveling far and wide to places like Cambodia, India, and Vietnam, seeking opportunities to provide these learning tools and experiences to disadvantaged children, leading to the eventual creation of SIAS.

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“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.”

– Mark Van Doren