Visit to STEM School for Girls
On the fifth day of the delegation trip, the group spent the morning visiting Egypt’s first STEM school for girls to introduce students to diverse opportunities for careers in STEM and share perspectives of powerful women from Silicon Valley. More than 100 high school-aged students participated in the day’s activities.
The students were divided into two groups, with each group hearing a keynote presentation from a different mentor. In one room, mentor Teresa Williams spoke about her personal path and career as a nano scientist. She emphasized the importance of finding a role model, saying that “having a role model completely changed how [she] saw [herself], encouraging the students there to not only find role models for themselves, but also to become role models for others. In the second room, mentor Cathy Simpson spoke about why STEM careers are important and fulfilling and why girls in particular are needed in these fields.
Following the keynote presentations, the mentors and fellows were divided into three groups to carry out different activities with the students. The first two groups carried out STEM workshops, with the students who participated rotating to the other workshop halfway through the time period, while the third group had the opportunity to go on classroom visits. In the first workshop group, Sabine El Kahi, 2014 fellow of Lebanon, led the students in hands-on activities developed by her organization, Kids Genius, with the help of mentors Mohna Dhomse, Rebecca Biswas, Lizz Noonan and Teresa Williams, along with Baratang Miya, 2015 fellow of South Africa, and Majd Hemiemat, 2014 fellow of Jordan.
The second workshop was a challenges and opportunities brainstorming session that included Reham Nasser, 2011 fellow of Egypt, Ghana Bteich, 2015 fellow of Lebanon, Lara Chikhani, 2017 fellow of Lebanon, Mouna Edrissi, 2012 fellow of Morocco, Asma Marie, 2013 fellow of Libya and mentors Jill Finlayson, Katy Dickinson, Rima Akras and Cathy Simpson. Reham opened the conversation by talking about her program Teenpreneurs, which she launched after she identified a gap in her community and was determined to support girls to realize their potential as beginning entrepreneurs.
Participants in the second workshop then broke into groups to identify problems they are facing along with solutions to those problems. Some examples of topics that were discussed were street harassment, communication challenges between different generations and gender discrimination in the STEM fields, and the solutions included social media awareness campaigns, mentorship trainings and sharing examples of successful women.
From Silicon Valley to the Nile: Soft Skills Workshop
In the afternoon, the delegation met with university students from different areas of study at the American University in Cairo to lead a soft skills workshop and discuss new trends in tech from Silicon Valley. The event opened with TED-style talks by three mentors: Teresa Zhang, who spoke about renewable energy and clean electricity grids, Rebecca Biswas, who spoke about the Internet of things and artificial intelligence and Jill Finlayson, who spoke about the future of cities using artificial intelligence.
The students were then able to attend one of three breakout sessions designed to help them develop the soft skills needed to succeed in the modern workforce. The breakout sessions were:
- Building your resume and interview skills, led by Geetanjali Johary and Lisa Ramirez
- Professional networking and marketing yourself on social media, led by Rima Akras and Cathy Simpson
- Best Practices in finding a mentor and being mentored, led by Katy Dickinson and Mohna Dhomse
Silicon Valley Meets Egypt Networking Reception
In the evening, the delegation met with alumni of the U.S. embassy’s Meet Silicon Valley program, which brings Egyptian entrepreneurs to the San Francisco Bay Area for an intensive acceleration program.The program is administered by the non-profit organization INJAZ Egypt.The evening started with a welcome and introduction from Ruth Anne Stevens-Klitz, Cultural-Attaché at the U.S. Embassy, and Dina El Mofty, Executive Director of INJAZ.
Mentors Jill Finlayson and Erin Keeley gave brief presentations focused on building linkages and exchanging ideas, global collaboration for impact, their experiences as Silicon Valley professionals in Egypt and creating purpose-driven networks. During her presentation, Erin expressed how impressed she had been with the entrepreneurs she had met, saying that “I really do believe the next big thing in the tech world could come from right here.”
Continue following the delegation trip activities at #TWegypt, and continue reading our blog for an overview of the delegation’s final day in Egypt.