Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
TechWomen alumnae collaborate with TechGirls for STEM event
Fellow(s): Nisreen Deeb
This week, 2013 fellow Nisreen Deeb collaborated with TechWomen and TechGirls alumnae for an event aimed at educating and inspiring girls interested in STEM fields. Nisreen is the co-founder of Girls Got IT, an initiative that exposes girls aged 15-17 to STEM through interactive workshops on robotics, 3D printing, website design, game development and more.
The Girls Got IT event, supported by UNICEF Lebanon, was attended by 600 public and private school girls from throughout the country. The day featured inspirational keynotes, group sessions and 25 workshops led by local startup companies. 2018 seed grant-winning team My ioLab participated in the event, hosting a workshop on IoT and innovation.
As part of a broader effort to unite alumnae of TechWomen and TechGirls – an ECA program aiming to inspire teenaged girls to further pursue STEM – three TechGirls alumnae participated as volunteers, supporting Girls Got IT with logistics, registration and workshop facilitation. “I love TechGirls and their passion, and I always try to include them in our events” says Nisreen. The day was Girls Got IT’s biggest event to date; moving forward, Nisreen hopes to include as many girls as possible, contributing to their mission of ensuring that no girl is left behind.
Report Date...: 4/29/49
Fellow’s team wins Judge’s Award at robotics competition
Fellow(s): Faten Khalfallah
2015 fellow Faten Khalfallah and her team of high school students won the Judge’s Award at the 2019 VEX Robotics World Championship High School Division, held this week in Louisville, Kentucky. Faten is the regional project manager at VEX Robotics and the VEX Girl Powered initiative ambassador in Tunisia.
The largest robotics competition in the world, the annual event brought together more than 1,500 high school teams from around the globe to build robots and compete in engineering challenges. The Judge’s Award is reserved for a team that deserves special recognition for their accomplishments, perseverance and team unity during the competition season. Previously, Faten and a team of students won four awards at the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge robotics competition in Mexico City.
Report Date...: 4/29/19
Fellow wins 2019 African Digital Woman at Margaret Awards
Fellow(s): Arielle Kitio
This month, 2016 fellow Arielle Kitio received the African Digital Woman Award at the annual Margaret Awards in Paris. Now in its seventh year, the awards are held in celebration of Digital Women’s Day, a day created in 2013 that aims to inspire women to innovate in the digital sector.
This year’s awards were themed “Women: World Changers” and recognized leading women who demonstrate commitment to a better world through their work and achievements. Arielle was recognized for her impact as the founder of CAYSTI, a STEM education program that educates young students through their youth tech lab, incubator and after-school programs. “I am moved, honored and grateful to have been selected as a winner,” says Arielle.
Report Date...: 4/29/49
Fellow wins Young Professional of the Year at Nexte Awards
Fellow(s): Sebay Momoh
Country: Sierra Leone
This week, 2018 fellow Sebay Momoh was awarded Young Professional of the Year at Sierra Leone’s Heirs Africa and Nexte Awards. Nexte, the philanthropic arm of Heirs Holdings, works to to minimize economic inequality in Africa and create a generation of successful entrepreneurs.
Attended by government officials, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and academics, the annual awards recognize individuals who are making meaningful contributions to development through hard work and commitment to innovation. Sebay, a petroleum engineer and program coordinator for STEM Women SL, was awarded the Young Professional of the Year award for her contributions to national development. “Some days the vision I’m striving for isn’t as clear to me,” says Sebay. “But then there are times like these that reignite the fire and inspire me to keep pushing.”
Report Date...: 4/22/19
Fellow recognized for inspiring and educating girls in Kenya
Fellow(s): Ruth Kaveke
This week, 2017 fellow of Kenya Ruth Kaveke was featured in an article from Digital Opportunity Trust Kenya, an initiative that supports youth in becoming innovators and leaders through digital technology. Ruth is the co-founder and director of Pwani Teknowgalz, a non-profit that aims to educate and empower girls through STEM education.
As one of few women in ICT at their university, Ruth and her co-founder Aisha were determined to bridge the gender gap in STEM, later establishing their organization to educate secondary and university girls on mobile apps, coding and web development. This month, Pwani Teknowgalz launched a campaign to train 100 girls from underserved communities in Mombasa on web development and digital marketing.
Report Date...: 4/15/19
Fellows partner with Facebook and UNODC to host hackathon
Fellow(s): Carolyn Seaman, Lindiwe Matlali
Country: Nigeria, South Africa
2017 fellows Lindiwe Matlali of South Africa and Carolyn Seaman of Nigeria recently collaborated to host Nigeria’s first Hackathon for Justice. Organized in partnership with Facebook and the Education for Justice initiative of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the annual event aims to engage youth in using technology to address challenges to rule of law. Last year’s hackathon, also organized by Lindiwe, was hosted in Silicon Valley at TechWomen partner company Symantec.
This year, 50 students from 10 universities were selected from among 400 applicants to participate in the hackathon. Within a 24-hour period, 13 teams used problem-based learning to design and create apps, receiving mentorship and coaching from Facebook’s software engineers and representatives of Africa Teen Geeks, Lindiwe’s STEM education non-profit. By the end of the hackathon, the teams developed mobile apps addressing issues such as corruption, human trafficking, violence against children and terrorism.
“We are excited to be working with UNODC and Facebook to encourage youth to be actively involved in solving issues of rule of law and to amplify the great work of the Education for Justice initiative,” Lindiwe said. A hackathon participant reiterated, “This is not the end; we will keep the same energy and continue providing solutions to the problems of our world.”
Report Date...: 4/8/2019
Fellow organizes International Women’s Day event in Dubai
Fellow(s): Rayan Al Zahab
2016 fellow of Lebanon Rayan Al Zahab, a Women Techmakers ambassador and Google Developers Expert, recently partnered with Google to organize an International Women’s Day event in Dubai. The event theme, “#IAmRemarkable,” was borrowed from the initiative of the same name that aims to empower women and underrepresented groups to speak openly about their accomplishments. Organized by Rayan for the second straight year, the event welcomed nearly 200 attendees.
Princess Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the Dubai royal family presided over the event, announcing with a Google representative an initiative to train and certify 1,000 girls in the MENA region on Google Cloud technologies.
Report Date...: 4/8/2019
2018 seed grant winners launch Internet of Things initiative
Fellow(s): Farah Shouman, Mel Azzi, Ryme Assaad and Stephanie Bassil
2018 seed grant-winning Team Lebanon, comprising Farah Shouman, Mel Azzi, Ryme Assaad and Stephanie Bassil, have initiated their STEM-based impact project, My ioLab. The initiative provides opportunities for youth to innovate and refine their Internet of Things (IoT) knowledge, identifying solutions for the environment, security, home automation and industrial sectors. Through Ryme and Farah’s TechWomen mentorships at Mozilla, the team was able to leverage the company’s Things Gateway, an online resource that provides an open source IoT framework upon which anyone can build. Last month, the fellows hosted a hands-on coding workshop for teenage girls, using an environmental case study to show the relevance of IoT in solving real-world challenges. The event was an introduction to coding for many of the girls, helping them acquire skills and gain exposure to possibilities in the tech industry. Last month, three members of the team joined the TechWomen delegation to Uzbekistan, hosting an IoT workshop alongside Farah’s TechWomen Professional Mentor and Mozilla senior project manager Kathy Giori.
Next month, the fellows are partnering with Girls Got IT and the Lebanese League for Women in Business to host an innovation and IoT workshop for girls from schools throughout Lebanon.
Report Date...: 4/1/19
Fellows organize first TechWomen conference in Ramallah
Fellow(s): Gina Kadri, Dalia Shurrab, Zeina Sadeddin, Hanan Atallah, Waad Jabbarin and Nuha Shawahna (2018); Razan Qraini, Ruba Awayes, Rasha Abu Dayyeh and Rana Nofal (2017); Yamama Shaka’a (2016) and Ayah Soufan (2015)
Country: Palestinian Territories
Cohort: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
This week, TechWomen fellows from multiple cohorts came together to organize the first TechWomen conference in Ramallah. Gina Kadri, Dalia Shurrab, Zeina Sadeddin, Hanan Atallah, Waad Jabbarin and Nuha Shawahna (2018) were joined by Razan Qraini, Ruba Awayes, Rasha Abu Dayyeh and Rana Nofal (2017), as well as Yamama Shaka’a (2016) and Ayah Soufan (2015) for the one-day event. The conference, sponsored by U.S. Embassy Jerusalem and attended by 80 students from throughout the region, aimed to strengthen the TechWomen and TechGirls networks and feature women leaders in STEM.
The day’s programming included TED-style talks and practical workshops focused on leadership development, personal branding and design thinking. TechWomen Impact Coach Jessica Dickinson Goodman, who mentored action plan teams from the West Bank and Gaza in 2017 and 2018, joined the conference from the Bay Area via Skype, leading a session on creating a five-year career plan. “It was a great event, and a great chance to network and meet leading Palestinian women,” said Gina.
Report Date...: 4/1/19
Mentors inspire young students to pursue their STEM passions
Fellow(s): TechWomen delegation trip to Uzbekistan
Cohort: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
On day five, delegates visited students at three local secondary schools, introducing them to STEM fields and fostering their interest in entrepreneurship, robotics and more through interactive dialogue and exploratory exercises. Throughout the day, students learned about new industries and were challenged to think about how can they turn their passions into sustainable careers.
At School #31, mentor Elaina Tia led students in an exercise called “My Three Alternative Lives,” which prompted girls to think about their current career aspirations, their “plan B” and the careers they would unabashedly pursue if given the chance. Initially pursuing a career in finance, Elaina shared that she chose to follow her passion for design, ultimately becoming a UX designer at LinkedIn. She encouraged the girls to follow their curiosity, reminding them that they have the ability to choose their own path despite any challenges they may face.
The activities ended with a Q&A session, during which one student asked mentors about the biggest risk they had taken in their career. Mentor Maile Smith said that she takes a series of risks every day, insisting that she is heard, respected and valued: “I take a seat at the table even if I’m not offered a seat at the table,” she said.
Report Date...: 3/25/19