Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
Mentor & fellow team up to deliver computing workshop
Fellow(s): “Kathy Giori, Faten Khalfallah”
Country: Tunisia, United States
Mentor Kathy Giori, with the support of fellow Faten Khalfallah (Tunisia, 2015), facilitated a workshop introducing young women to the world of physical computing with Microblocks, a programming language that runs on microcontrollers. Kathy has extensive experience leading workshops for Microblocks, where she directs global partnerships and outreach and serves as a member of the Project Leadership Committee. The interactive event was a part of Get Science, Engineering, and Technology (GetSET) 2022, an outreach program hosted by the Santa Clara Valley chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SCV SWE) that empowers and motivates young women from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in STEM.
Faten assisted the event while on a visit to the U.S. during which she served as an event partner for the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation Summit in Dallas, Texas and an attendee of the Google-sponsored Girl Powered VEX Robotics Workshop in Sunnyvale, CA. She joined these events as a representative of Tunisia and the First Skills Club, a non-profit she co-founded with her husband Rabah Hammouda to provide educational programming for kids to learn and communicate in English via STEM education.
Report Date...: 7/25/2022
Mentors launch series of free data privacy trainings
Fellow(s): “Jessica Dickson Goodman, Tanya Kobyluk, and Fatema Kothari”
TechWomen mentor Jessica Dickinson Goodman, Board President of the Internet Society’s San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (SF Bay ISOC), has launched a free virtual series of encryption and data protection trainings with the support of co-host and mentor Tanya Kobyluk, ISOC Board Vice-President, and mentor Fatema Kothari, ISOC board member.
Running every third Monday of the month, the trainings focus on providing tactical tech support and training about encryption tools, technologies and good habits to protect personal data and private searches online.
The sessions were started as a response to an overall interest in people seeking better control of their online privacy as a result of recent rollbacks on reproductive protections in the USA. They are open to the public and have been attended by guests worldwide, including TechWomen alumnae from Egypt and Cameroon.
Report Date...: 7/18/2022
Cameroonian Fellows tapped for One Young World conference
Fellow(s): “Christabel Ngwashi Apholung, Zyh Akumawah”
Cohort: 2020-2021, 2022
Cameroonian fellows Christabel Ngwashi Apholung (2020-2021) and Zyh Akumawah (2022) have been selected to attend the annual One Young World Summit in the UK as scholars of AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP). YHP seeks to prevent the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease by confronting the primary risk factors – tobacco use, alcohol overconsumption, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and air pollution.
Christabel is a medical doctor and the founder of MoreThanJustAnMD Health, a storytelling platform that utilizes social media, radio and television to promote proactive health care. She is also steering the Fight Against Substance Abuse Project (FASAP) to educate young adult students about healthy lifestyles and reduce substance abuse.
Zyh, also a medical doctor, is the founder and medical director of EasyHealth, an organization that combines accessible digital technologies with community cooperation to improve the quality of health among rural Cameroonians. Zyh also contributes her time to St Mary Soledad Catholic Hospital and Doctors Without Borders as a medical and mental health resource. She believes that “an amplified voice is key to achieving the policy changes that are needed to help establish more focus on non-communicable diseases among young persons.”
Christabel and Zyh will convene with more than 1,000 young changemakers worldwide to present and network among One Young World Counselors. Past counselors have included Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Sir Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan, Emma Watson, Professor Muhammad Yunus and Arianna Huffington.
Report Date...: 7/11/2022
Mentor leads POWER sessions with U.S. State Department
Fellow(s): Lucie Newcomb
Long-time TechWomen mentor Lucie Newcomb, CEO of NewComm Global Group, collaborated with diplomatic partners to host a series of webinars for Providing Opportunities for Women’s Economic Rise (POWER), an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.
Topics of the webinar series focused on value proposition and product market fit, business planning, funding sources and pitching. Lucie co-designed and co-facilitated these sessions with stakeholders from the U.S. Embassies in Tokyo and Seoul.
POWER was launched in 2019 to leverage diplomatic relationships and resources to promote women’s economic empowerment worldwide. It connects the U.S. private sector with U.S. missions abroad to encourage opportunities, partnership and strategy among women-led enterprises in emerging markets.
Lucie has worked as a Speaker Program Trainer and Curriculum Developer for the U.S. State Department for more than 8 years. She actively attended last month’s SelectUSA Summit hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and has recently been named one of the 150 Great Leaders of 2022 by the Global Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
Report Date...: 7/11/2022
Fellow appointed Vice-Chancellor of STEM university in Nigeria
Fellow(s): Francisca Oladipo
In early July, it was announced that fellow Francisca Oladipo (2016) had been confirmed as the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of Thomas Adewumi University (TAU) in Oko Irese of Kwara State, Nigeria. Francisca has over 20 years of academic leadership and research experience, most recently as Director of Quality Assurance and Head of the Computer Science Department at Federal University Lokoja (FUL), where she also worked as a coordinator of the FUL-RWEYDF Centre for ICT (Information and Computer Technology) for Development and Training, a collaborative effort between FUL and the Rural Women Empowerment and Youth Development Foundation. In addition to these roles, Francisca also serves as Executive Coordinator of VODAN Africa, a collaboration of universities and health facilities across the continent of Africa that provides a “platform to enable access to critical data needed from Africa to fight the novel COVID-19.”
Francisca shares that she “warmly welcome[s] this opportunity to co-create with all the [sic] critical stakeholders to realize the vision of the founders of Thomas Adewumi University through the delivery of accessible, student-centered education in Science, Technology and Medicine.”
Thomas Adewumi University is an accredited, STEM-based institution of higher education with the mission of providing a “world-class academic environment that supports staff and students in conducting cutting-edge teaching and research in the areas of Science, Technology and Medicine …[for] the benefit of humanity.”
Francisca earned a PhD in Computer Science from Nnamdi Azikiwe University and has completed continuing education courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Oxford and University of Essex. She completed her experience as a TechWomen emerging leader with a mentor from Google in 2016.
Report Date...: 7/4/2022
Fellow subject of short film on pioneering satellite build
Fellow(s): Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova
Kyrgyz fellow Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova (2019) recently starred as the lead subject of a 7-minute documentary on the Kyrgyz Space Program produced by the Eastern Standard Times (EST). Kyzzhibek is the 27-year-old director of the Kyrgyz Space Program and leads an all-girls team on a mission to build and launch their country’s first ever satellite. The Kyrgyz Space Program was founded in 2018 to advance science, education and gender equality in the country and Central Asian region. With no national space infrastructure to lean on, Kyzzhibek and her team have started from scratch, first building a lightweight 10cm x 10cm x 10cm educational model of a CubeSat, a miniature satellite which can collect and analyze simple data from space before moving on to draft and flight models. In the short film, Kyzzhibek explains, “Our project [is] not only aiming to launch the satellite, but also to educate girls and women. More than 100 women [have] graduated our course and they [have] started [sic] how to solder, how to create 3d models, how to code, and [how to] work with Arduino microcontrollers and their sensors.” She continues, “after completing our courses, some of the girls wanted to study programming and become software developers and some [went on] to universities with technical majors.”
Despite the simplicity of the satellite model, the project has already lasted four years and is estimated to cost more than 100,000 USD. The Kyrgyz Space Program raises funds in part through a Patreon page. There, they honor important women from international space history with various donation brackets named after the famous figures, including Shiaki Mukai, the first female Asian astronaut, Anousheh Ansari, the first Muslim female astronaut and Anna Lee Fisher, the first mother to journey to space. The history-making satellite has been named after Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy, a 20-year-old Kyrgyz medical student who was murdered by her abductor in a police station while trying to report her own bride kidnapping.
“We really want girls in our country, our region and globally to understand that they are capable of doing anything,” Kyzzhibek declares. “The world is such a big place, and the universe is enormous. No matter what other people tell you, always believe in yourself.”
Report Date...: 7/4/2022
Fellow helps host virtual career fair to promote global hiring
Fellow(s): Hiba Ghannam
Country: Palestinian Territories
Fellow Hiba Ghannam (Palestinian Territories, 2019) took part in producing the first MENA-wide Virtual Career Fair 2022 to be hosted by Washington D.C. based startup Localized, where she works as a Senior Quality Assurance Engineer. Localized hosted over 60 companies from numerous nations and industries, with sponsors and guests including Google, Nestle and U.S. News and World Report. The company’s platform is designed to connect businesses seeking to build diverse, high-achieving teams with a global talent pool. Hiba held virtual sessions for recent STEM-major graduates, advising them on finding “international opportunities and remote work from [their] region.” Hiba is an example of this ethos as a remote employee for the American startup working from her home in the Palestinian Territories. Hiba completed her master’s thesis in software engineering from Birzeit University and is a co-founder of Palestine Tech Meetups.Read More »
Report Date...: 7/4/2022
Fellow featured on “Meet the Leader” podcast for World Economic Forum
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa
Lindiwe Matlali, a 2017 fellow from South Africa, was recently featured on “Meet the Leader,” a World Economic Forum (WEF) podcast, following their 2022 annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Lindiwe is the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Africa Teen Geeks, one of the largest computer science non-profit organizations in Africa, and a contributing author to WEF on topics including gender, race, equality and social innovation. In the featured episode, “Top Leaders Share What’s Needed After Davos,” Lindiwe focused her message on the responsibility of wealthy and powerful actors to protect the world’s most vulnerable populations. “If your responsibility is to look after others,” she stated, “take it seriously and try and do it right… before you start enriching yourself. Because it’s not about you. When you make poor decisions, it affects the vulnerable the most.”
Lindiwe was featured among other “Voices of Davos” from the WEF annual meeting, including Nela Richardson, Chief Economist of ADP Research Institute; Kristian Teleki, Director of Friends of Ocean Action; and Tolullah Oni, an urban epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge. The stated mission of the WEF 2022 annual meeting was to usher in a “new era of global responsibility and cooperation… against a backdrop of deepening global frictions and fractures.”Read More »
Report Date...: 6/20/2022
Fellow speaks on transformational mentoring in aerospace panel
Fellow(s): Madeeha Khan
Fellow Madeeha Khan Yousafzai of Pakistan (2022) was honored to speak on the panel “Transformational Mentoring: Inspiring Global Change Makers” at the Womentech Global Conference (WTGC) in June. As founder of House of Passions, a professional coaching and training consultancy, Madeeha brought her extensive expertise in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), IBM Blue Core, scrum framework, and agile and lean methodologies to a discussion on the accelerative value of mentorship in both career and life, with an emphasis on the aerospace industry. Madeeha spoke in the company of four women leaders from the space technology and policy sector to promote the life-changing value of mentorship in advancing entrepreneurship, leadership, diversity and inclusion. Her co-panelists included: Shelli Brunswick, Chief Operating Officer of Space Foundation and a United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) Space4Women mentor; Lee Steinke, Chief Operating Officer of CisLunar Industries; Dr. Wumi Alabi, Deputy Technical Director and Head of Space Applications at the African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in English (ARCSSTE-E); and Tuana Yazici, an UNOOSA Space4women mentee and space tech policy advocate.
The WTGC 2022 was a hybrid conference hosted across a diverse array of global time zones as a program of the WomenTech Network and the Coding Girls Foundation.
Report Date...: 6/20/2022
Marvell mentors and fellows collaborate to promote TechWomen mentorship
Fellow(s): Cora Wai Sheung Lam, Shailja Garg, Nayanika Diwadkar, Khadija Garamanli and Safa Buzgeia
Country: Libya, Tunisia, United States
Mentors and fellows of sponsor Marvell Technology hosted a webinar of nearly 50 attendees to promote the TechWomen (TW) mentorship experience. The event, “TechWomen 2022: Spring Lookback and Autumn Cohort Applications,” was co-organized by various Marvell stakeholders, including mentors Cora Wai Sheung Lam, Shailja Garg and Nayanika Diwadkar. It also featured guest presentations from fellows Khadija Garamanli (Libya, 2022) and Safa Buzgeia (Tunisia, 2022). The event included an opening address, a comprehensive overview of the TechWomen program, an introductory video featuring TW director Katie Zee, remarks from TW Mentorship Initiatives Lead Linda Miles, and detailed first-hand accounts of the experiences of mentor and fellow experiences. The event was launched with opening speaker Kalpendu Pasad, Principal Engineer and Manager at Marvell, who emphasized, “We are at the cusp of a technology revolution [and]… we cannot afford for women to be left out. One-on-one mentoring by the engineering community, at every stage, is essential to ensure that women cultivate a lasting and fulfilling career in technology.”
Report Date...: 6/20/2022