Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
Fellow shares insights on using open source tools for teaching
Fellow(s): Chioma Ezedi
TechWomen mentors Jessica Dickinson Goodman and Fatema Kothari, both board members of the Internet Society of the San Francisco Bay Area, recently started a blog series on the organization’s website, highlighting tech leaders from outside of the United States. Chioma Ezedi, 2016 fellow of Nigeria, contributed to the series, writing about how she is using open source tools such as Arduino to teach computer science in rural Nigeria.
Chioma is a software developer who is passionate about education technology and currently serves as a project lead and mentor at STEMTeers, an initiative to inspire, engage and promote children and youth into STEM. In the blog post, she outlines the challenges STEM education is facing in Nigeria due to the lack of infrastructure and equipment, which has been further exacerbated by schools closing due to the pandemic. With the increasing availability of open source resources being iterated and improved upon, she sees the opportunity for them to enhance students’ learning during this time and beyond: “I realized Open Source is for more than free tools, software or hardware; it was a great opportunity to learn, learn by building and create with innovation.”
Report Date...: 7/27/20
Fellow(s): Alaa Khoja
This week, 2019 fellow of Libya Alaa Khoja celebrated the completion of Teccamp, an eight-week web and mobile app course for young students in Libya. Teccamp is run through Alaa’s employer, Tatweer Research, a company that educates and empowers Libya’s young entrepreneurs. Alaa works as their community development officer, responsible for selecting Teccamp’s trainers and applicants as well as supervising the program. Teccamp’s goal is to instill in its graduates an entrepreneurial spirit, inspiring them to start businesses of their own.
Originally planned to be in-person, the course was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alaa and her team also faced internet issues and persistent 10-hour power outages, requiring them to try different technologies and work together to usher the students through the learning process. Ultimately, their students – mostly comprised of university students and new graduates — were trained in front-end and back-end languages, database design and app development. Trainees also applied their knowledge to innovative projects that they presented at the conclusion of the course. “Teccampers went through a lot this time,” said Alaa. “But nothing inspired me more than their stamina and their love of learning.”
Report Date...: 7/20/20
Fellows host live session for TechWomen seed grant project
Fellow(s): Asna Javed, Ayesha Mumtaz Kahn, Asmara Rahat, Farhat Yasmeen and Zeenat Anjum
Recently, the 2019 TechWomen seed grant-winning team who created Bachaoo held a live session on dealing with the trauma of child sexual abuse. Fellows Asna Javed, Ayesha Mumtaz Kahn, Asmara Rahat, Farhat Yasmeen and Zeenat Anjum founded Bachaoo in order to create awareness around child sexual abuse and advocate for children and victims in Pakistan.
Their Facebook Live session featured Ambreen Qureshi, an integrative therapist who spoke about the different types of trauma, shared how parents can identify signs of sexual abuse and gave tips on how to reach out to mental health professionals. Soon, the fellows will host another Facebook Live conversation with an educationist and therapist on children’s emotional health. “Overall, we are making great progress,” says Asna. “We have more than 2,000 followers now. People are reaching out to us and want to be a part of the cause.”
Report Date...: 7/20/20
TechWomen alumnae offer advice and inspiration for TechGirls
Fellow(s): Azhar Mambetova, Dalel Mansour, Faten Khalfallah, Ghada Ameen, Nisreen Deeb, Sara Dib
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Tunisia
Cohort: 2013, 2015, 2018, 2019
Recently, TechGirls created a resource for TechGirls participants and girls interested in STEM fields to hear from TechWomen fellows, receive mentorship and learn about careers in STEM. Profiles of Women in STEM features TechWomen fellows from Algeria, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon and Tunisia who created videos sharing their career journeys and the lessons they learned along the way.
Fellows Azhar Mambetova (Kyrgyzstan, 2019), Dalel Mansour (Tunisia, 2015), Faten Khalfallah (Tunisia, 2015) Ghada Ameen (Egypt, 2018), Nisreen Deeb (Lebanon, 2013) and Sara Dib (Algeria, 2019) participated in the initiative, highlighting their career wins and challenges, and offering advice for girls who are curious about STEM. “I chose to teach in technology because I wanted to inspire others…and you can inspire others too,” said Faten, who also gave advice for finding a career in STEM: “I advise all the TechGirls, all the girls, to discover many domains and many subjects. I advise them to choose the career that you love,” she said. Azhar chronicled her career in banking and fintech, speaking about what drives her to mentor others: “In my career, I hadn’t had a lot of role models…and at some point, I decided I can become one,” she said. Nisreen presented on her experience as a woman in tech, encouraging girls to raise their voice, ask for help and give back to their community. “I’m really proud to be a woman in tech,” she said. “Why? Because we can inspire, we can give back to our community and we can help other people.”
Report Date...: 7/13/20
Mentor(s): Jill Finlayson (mentor)
Company: Women in Technology Initiative at UC Berkeley
Mentor Type: Professional
In an IIENetwork webinar, longtime TechWomen mentor Jill Finlayson shared her insights on design thinking, problem solving and innovation. The webinar,” Strategic Thinking for International Education,” featured Jill as well as Dr. Lisa Coleman, NYU’s inaugural senior vice president for global inclusion and strategic innovation.
Jill is the director the Women in Technology Initiative at UC Berkeley, leading their efforts to advocate for women in tech, facilitate mentorship and increase the visibility of women role models. In the webinar, she brought participants through the design thinking process and highlighted the ways in which design thinking facilitates problem-solving, redefines challenges and fosters innovative thinking. “People need to feel safe putting out crazy ideas,” Jill said, “And that’s where design thinking really shines.” She encouraged participants to adopt a “yes-and” mentality, telling them to always test their assumptions, iterate on feedback and work together to develop moonshot ideas.
Report Date...: 7/6/20
Fellow featured as advocate for gender equality in STEM fields
Fellow(s): Sadaf Shaheen
This week, 2018 fellow Sadaf Shaheen was interviewed in City Pulse magazine, an online periodical from Amnick, a UK-based social enterprise consulting firm. Sadaf is an international collaborator for their Smart Cities program.
In the feature, Sadaf reflects on the challenges she has faced as a woman in tech in Pakistan, sharing her work to dispel stronglyheld gender stereotypes within the country. “I knew it would be especially hard for me to enter the notoriously male-dominated field given the deeply entrenched gender norms in Pakistan, but I did it anyway,” she said. “Now, I am working as a role model in my native town for young girls.” Sadaf also spoke about her participation in the TechWomen program, as well as her upcoming professional goals. Soon, she hopes to launch a startup that trains women and girls in STEM fields, as well as expand her work as regional ambassador for Technovation.
Report Date...: 6/29/20
Fellow and mentor collaborate for COVID-19 hackathon
Fellow(s): Binta Moustapha, Dr. Jeannice Fairrer Samani (mentor)
Country: Nigeria, United States
Recently, 2014 fellow of Nigeria Binta Moustapha and TechWomen mentor Dr. Jeannice Fairrer Samani worked together for Hack the Crisis Nigeria, a three-day hackathon for COVID-19 innovation. The effort was a part of Hack the Crisis, a network of global hackathons that aims to harness the power of technology to solve leading crises. 100 Women in Tech Nigeria, Binta’s campaign that amplifies women leaders in Nigeria, organized the event.
Over the course of the hackathon, 50 teams addressed four challenge areas, applying their innovations to healthcare, communications and more. In addition to sourcing tech solutions to COVID-19 challenges, Binta prioritized creating awareness in indigenous languages such as Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. Jeannice, the chair and founder of Fifth Wave STEaM Education initiative, delivered a virtual session on best practices in pitching. In her presentation Jeannice took the hackathon teams step-by-step through a successful pitching process, beginning with identifying a problem and pitching how their idea plans to solve it. “Introduce your company’s product or service as the ultimate solution to these problems,” she said. She also spoke about the importance of identifying a target market, finding an advantage over competitors and laying out a future roadmap. At the conclusion of the hackathon, three teams were given a cash award sponsored by NITDA, Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency, as well as access to consulting services to further develop their ideas.
Report Date...: 6/22/20
Mentor(s): Eileen Brewer (mentor)
Recently, TechWomen mentor Eileen Brewer led a webinar for CareeHer, an online community where women entrepreneurs can network, share knowledge and find mentorship. In her session, Eileen discussed the difference between a personal and professional brand, focusing on the soft skills and emotional intelligence required for success in the workplace and beyond.
Throughout her talk, Eileen stressed the importance of learning skills, life skills and literacy skills when interacting with others. She also shared best practices for communication and collaboration, giving tips on maintaining an open and inviting tone that encourages a culture of knowledge-sharing: “The more we share, the smarter everyone gets, and we all rise up together,” she said. She concluded the session with advice on optimizing social networking platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, reminding the audience to be consistent, positive and intentional with their messaging.
Report Date...: 6/15/20
Mentor(s): Laleh Coté (mentor)
Company: Berkeley Lab
Mentor Type: Cultural
This month, TechWomen mentor Laleh Coté was awarded funding to study how virtual mentoring will affect the mentor-mentee relationship within STEM fields. Laleh, a Cultural Mentor, is a STEM education specialist at Berkeley Lab. She will be the principal investigator for the study, supported by two co-principal investigators.
Her project, “Virtual Mentoring: Impacts of COVID-19 on the next generation of the scientific workforce,” is one of eight projects addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that received grant support from the Innovative Genomics Institute. “Considering the impact of mentor-mentee relationships on student learning and career success, it is critical that we understand what is happening now with ‘virtual mentoring,’” she writes. Together, Laleh and her team hope to find community best practices that will support the growth and retention of students entering science fields.
Report Date...: 6/8/20
Mentor(s): Anar Simpson (mentor) and Erica Lockheimer (mentor)
Company: LinkedIn Learning, Technovation
Mentor Type: Impact, Professional
This week, TechWomen mentors Anar Simpson and Erica Lockheimer were featured speakers for the 2020 IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference, a month-long virtual series for women in technology that offers sessions, live panel discussions, virtual networking opportunities and more. Erica, a Professional Mentor, is the vice president of engineering for LinkedIn Learning. Anar, an Impact Coach and TechWomen’s strategic partnership advisor, is also a Global Ambassador for Technovation.
In their session, “Leading in Engineering,” Anar and Erica spoke about how women can optimize their network, step into leadership and support other women along the way. Erica shared both the challenges and highlights from her career, giving tips for other women on career progression and embracing leadership opportunities. They also spoke about TechWomen, reflecting on the relationships created between mentors and Emerging Leaders. “I thought I was the mentor, but I learned so much. I realized I needed to have a global impact perspective, which was so critical,” said Erica. “They’re strong connections. They’re relationships for life.”
Anar concluded their session with a call to action, encouraging participants to expand their network, lean on others and embrace their own journey: “It’s your own unique path,” said Anar. “Be true to yourself.”
Report Date...: 6/1/20