On Wednesday, March 12, the TechWomen delegation visited the Khalil Gibran School of Rabat, where Mentors and Emerging Leaders participated in breakout sessions to discuss STEM education and career planning with middle and high school students. They began the day with a warm welcome from Khalil Gibran School staff, enjoying a traditional Moroccan breakfast and mint tea. About 500 students are enrolled this school year, ranging from grades K-12. With more female students than male, Khalil Gibran School values diversity, and their goal is to help each student get into top universities in Morocco and abroad. The curriculum is centered on innovative learning and emphasizes a collaborative teaching environment.
Science is a strong focus at Khalil Gibran School. Students had the opportunity to participate in one-hour breakout sessions on the science, technology, and engineering fields, where Mentor and Emerging Leader delegation members described their experience as STEM students. Delegates and students shared their favorite subjects in school, including biology, chemistry, and physics. Medicine was another favorite subject, with many students hoping to become doctors one day. 2013 Emerging Leader Rouba Cheaib also shared why science is such a practical—and fascinating—field of study. She explained, “Science is something you see in your daily life. If you understand it, you can understand many things about life with a unique perspective.” In the Science session, Mentor Jeannice Fairrer Samani conversed with the students about environmental science, civil engineering, innovative design thinking, and their potential to impact society in beneficial ways.
TechWomen visited the school at a time when many students are applying for college, so alumnae had the chance to talk to students about STEM careers. Breakout sessions were held for interviewing skills, planning your career and work-life balance, and blogging and online safety, where alumnae presented in their field of expertise. 2011 Emerging Leader Eman Ezzat of Egypt presented on career planning, where she conducted a number of exercises with students about identifying personal strengths and interests to help individuals complete the first step of achieving goals. Eman also stressed the importance of setting “mini-goals” in addition to lifetime goals to be able to assess progress and areas of improvement as one works toward their aspirations.
2013 Emerging Leader Nezha Larhrissi discussed work-life balance, a particularly important topic for female students and professionals. Nezha began her presentation with this question: “Isn’t it a bit odd that we define work as outside of life?” Then, she discussed how it is possible for each woman to achieve balance between work and family. Nezha shared her own experience and explained that while it can be a struggle to manage a successful career outside of the home, women can work collectively to help achieve that balance by supporting each other.
TechWomen’s visit to Khalil Gibran School was insightful for both delegates and students alike. Each and every Mentor and Emerging Leader has done so much to accomplish their goals, and it was extremely rewarding for them to be able to engage with the next generation of female leaders in STEM.
We also encourage you to read the following blog posts about the trip: