Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
Team Tunisia wins four awards at FIRST Global Challenge 2018
Fellow(s): Faten Khalfallah
2015 fellow of Tunisia Faten Khalfallah led a group of students to victory at the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge in Mexico City. The annual robotics competition, which centers on 14 Grand Challenges for improving life on the planet as identified by the U.S National Academy of Engineering, brings together 192 countries in a three-day Olympics-style robotics competition. Team Tunisia, comprised of local youth mentored by Faten, won two gold medals: the Dr. Mae Jemison Award for International Unity, awarded to teams that break down barriers and build bridges, and the Munsa Mousa award for fundraising. They also won the Social Media Award, and Faten was presented the Outstanding Mentor Award for her exceptional leadership.
While in the TechWomen program, Faten was hosted at Autodesk, learning more about 3D design software. After returning home, she organized a summer tech camp to bring students together for five days of immersive STEM experiences and was selected as a 2016 Generation Change Fellow from the United States Institute of Peace. Currently, she is a regional project coordinator and ambassador of the VEX Girl-Powered Initiative at VEX Robotics.
Report Date: 8/27/2018
TechWomen partners with Microsoft for Ignite conference
Fellow(s): Nisrine Deeb, Ouafa Benterki, Noura Ghali Bergouza, Fatima Zohra Benhamida
Country: Algeria, Lebanon, Tunisia
Cohort: 2012, 2013, 2014
IIE is pleased to announce a partnership with Microsoft, which will sponsor four TechWomen alumnae to speak at and attend the 2018 Microsoft Ignite conference. Nisreen Deeb, 2013 fellow of Lebanon, Ouafa Benterki and Fatima Zohra Benhamida, 2012 and 2017 fellows of Algeria, respectively, and Noura Ghali Bergouza, 2014 fellow of Tunisia, were selected to take part in the sold-out event held on September 24-28 in Orlando, Florida. Now in its fourth year, Microsoft Ignite connects IT professionals to industry leaders shaping the future of tech innovation. Through 700+ deep-dive sessions, learning labs and high-profile keynotes, attendees will gain insight and skills catering to their personal and professional interests. During the five-day event, TechWomen alumnae will participate in diversity pre-day activities as well as speak at breakout sessions and panels, including a session discussing how IT pros can be better advocates for diversity and inclusion.
Nisreen works a systems analyst and project manager, and is the founder of The Mini Programmer, a computer programming curriculum for students. Ouafa is CEO of MTY Intelligent Software, a technology startup that provides data analytics and localization services and was named the Women in Data Science Ambassador to Algeria in 2017-18. Fatima serves as Assistant Professor at the National School of Computer Science in Algiers. Noura, a cloud and B2B service manager at Tunisie Telecom, is also the Vice President of Women Leaders in Technology Tunisia.Read More »
Report Date: 8/20/2018
Mentor(s): Rekha Pai, Erin Keeley, Maile Smith, Diana Macias, Bianca Lederer, Sandra Chen
Company: Cresta Ventures, Facebook, Genentech, Twitter, Western Digital
Mentor Type: Impact, Professional
A group of six TechWomen mentors traveled to Malaysia to lead programming to empower, connect and support the next generation of women leaders in STEM fields. Supported by the U.S. Department of State and working closely with U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Rekha Pai (of Cresta Ventures), Erin Keeley (Western Digital), Maile Smith (Northgate Environmental Management), Diana Macias (Twitter), Bianca Liederer (Genentech) and Sandra Chen (Facebook) met with government representatives, women in the workforce, youth leaders, entrepreneurs and government-sponsored incubators throughout the country.
Rekha, a longtime TechWomen mentor, previously traveled to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore as part of the U.S. Speakers Program, sponsored by the Bureau of International Information Programs. Following the success of her earlier trip, Rekha was invited back and assembled a team of mentors, nearly all of whom have participated in past TechWomen delegation trips, to join the “Women in Tech Delegation.” The group participated as judges and mentors at the National Science Challenge, a premier science competition that included 2,400 teams from over 50,000 students throughout Malaysia. They also visited Penang Science Cluster and met entrepreneurs at MaGIC, Malaysia’s government-sponsored global innovation and incubation center.
Report Date: 8/13/2018
Fellow shares perspectives with recent engineering graduates
Fellow(s): Samia Elhanchi
2017 fellow of Morocco Samia Elhanchi spoke to recent engineering graduates at Career Bootcamp [website in French], an annual gathering of engineers in Morocco. The event, organized by the Engineers Forum Association, brought together 50 recent engineering graduates and experts in the field for a week of training, conferences and workshops. Experts shared their knowledge and best practices, guiding the recent graduates on their career choices and encouraging knowledge sharing. Samia is a senior project and portfolio manager at Orange Morocco.
In her address, Samia shared lessons learned throughout 20 years in the industry, outlining her career journey, her academic achievements and the difficult decisions she made balancing professional and personal goals. Joined on stage by her husband, also an engineer, Samia spoke about how teamwork and mutual support of each other’s ambition aided their professional success. She concluded by stressing the importance of lifelong learning, reflecting on her TechWomen experience and the impact of networking, mentorship and community involvement.Read More »
Report Date: 8/6/2018
Fellow launches STEM makerspace for local children
Fellow(s): Saba Rasheed Malik
Fellow Saba Rasheed Malik (2017) of Pakistan has launched weePro, a program that provides a collaborative learning experience for children and teenagers. Designed to develop skills such as computational thinking, creativity and analysis, weePro’s programming includes a STEM-based makerspace, as well as a robotics and programming camp. At weePro, students are immersed in STEM-based learning, developing code for autonomous robots and conducting experiments that teach working principles of automobiles, vacuum cleaners and floating boats. Recently, weePro completed its pilot program in partnership with a local community center. “It turned out to be a life-changing experience for them,” says Saba.
While in the TechWomen program, Saba worked on the development of educational games at Lumosity. Since her return to Pakistan, in addition to launching weePro, Saba has organized civic hackathons and technology-driven bootcamps for young girls. Currently, she is an assistant professor in computer science at the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences in Islamabad, Pakistan.Read More »
Report Date: 8/6/2018
Fellow awarded Schlumberger Faculty for the Future fellowship
Fellow(s): Titi Aladesanmi
2015 fellow of Nigeria Dr. Omolara (Titi) Aladesanmi was awarded the 2018-2019 Sclumberger Faculty for the Future fellowship. Titi, who specializes in ecotoxicology and bioremediation and is a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University, is one of 50 new fellows selected from a total of 555 applicants.
During the 2015 TechWomen program, Titi was paired with Professional Mentor Dr. Romy Chakraborty at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Three years later, her Faculty for the Future fellowship will brings her back to the Bay Area, where she will once again work alongside Dr. Chakraborty. Titi’s research, “Bioremediation of Cyanide Polluted Water,” will investigate environmentally sustainable ways of reclaiming polluted environments.
The Schlumberger Foundation, an independent non-profit that supports STEM education, developed its fellowship to support women in STEM during their postgraduate studies.
Report Date: 7/30/2018
Team Cameroon shares action plan news in guest blog post
Fellow(s): Meyo Zongo, Patu Ndango Fen, Danielle Akini, Mpara Faith and Beatrice Nguimkeng
2017 fellows of Cameroon Meyo Zongo and Patu Ndango Fen authored a post for the TechWomen blog this week to provide an update on their seed grant-winning action plan project. Danielle Akini, Mpara Faith and Beatrice Nguimkeng are also members of Team Cameroon, which is implementing Able Too, an initiative that aims to serve as a resource for parents and teachers of special needs children. The team has built its interactive online platform, identified potential partner schools and fostered partnerships with organizations aligned with their mission, such as the Hope Inclusive Foundation, a teacher training center in Yaoundé.
Able Too recently launched their pilot teacher training program at the Tassah Academic Complex, facilitating workshops on inclusive teaching, including strategies to creatively engage hyperactive children.
Report Date: 7/23/2018
Fellows win AEIF grant for youth STEM camp in Lebanon
Fellow(s): Sabine El Kahi and Aseel Honein
Cohort: 2013 & 2014
Fellows Sabine El Kahi (2014) and Aseel Honein (2013) of Lebanon are winners of an Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) award for their Orion STEM camp, which will introduce youth to different aspects of technology, including design, electronics, coding and gaming. Intended for students 12 to 18 years old, the camp will bring young adults together to collaborate and solve challenges through a scientific lens. The program will reserve half of its spots for students from underserved communities.
During the camp’s closing ceremony, participants will have the opportunity to pitch their innovative ideas and demonstrate their learnings. Sabine and Aseel hope that students will gain valuable skills through engagement with design thinking, architecture, game making and mechanical engineering.
AEIF awards support alumni initiatives that promote shared values and innovative solutions to global challenges. Out of more than 1,300 applications submitted this year, Sabine and Aseel’s project is one of just 70 to be selected for a grant and is funded under the AEIF theme of Advancing Science, Technology, Health and Innovation.
Report Date: 7/23/2018
Pakistani fellow launches mentoring initiative for orphans
Fellow(s): Mehak Jamal
2017 fellow Mehak Jamal of Pakistan recently launched a social initiative called Ibtida, meaning “beginning” in Urdu, for local women to support other young women. Ibtida will train educated but economically inactive women from financially marginalized communities as mentors for middle school girls in under-resourced schools. For mentors, Ibtida develops a higher sense of self, thus supporting them to a become more engaged in their community; for the young girls, “it’s the beginning of a journey of self-exploration.”
Once trained, mentors are placed in underserved schools, where they will implement activity-based programming for girls to develop skills that better prepare them to enter the workforce. The first cycle of Ibtida will begin this September with 20 mentors and 60 eighth grade girls from Lahore, beginning with young orphans, who are among the most vulnerable in their society. In the second phase, the program will expand to include refugees and internally displaced persons.
Mehak hopes that the program will be enriching for both mentors and mentees and will help address the low rate of women in the workforce in Pakistan by empowering participants with marketable skills and training. Her goal is that by 2020, Ibtida will support 600 women, 1,200+ young girls and 30 schools.
Report Date: 7/16/2018
Fellow leads engagement in international teen hackathon
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa
2017 fellow of South Africa Lindiwe Matlali recently led a group of teens participating in an Education for Justice (E4J)-sponsored hackathon in Silicon Valley. In partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Lindiwe also helped coordinate elements of the hackathon, relying on connections from her TechWomen network, including at Symantec, which hosted the three-day event. The delegation from South Africa, which included student participants from Africa Teen Geeks, the organization founded by Lindiwe, was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training of South Africa, Buti Manamela.
The event asked students to develop educational games to teach users about criminal justice and crime prevention. Twenty-five students were selected among winners of previous regional hackathons in South Africa, Indonesia, Bolivia and the U.S. Lindiwe’s team won the competition by creating Silent Screm, an app aimed at combatting human trafficking in South Africa.
Report Date: 7/9/2018