Adison, TechGirls 2020, US
I am enormously grateful to have had the honor of being a US Youth Ambassador for the TechGirls program this year. Although COVID-19 prevented us from meeting in person, we were able to complete the program online. I quickly fell in love with the brilliant minds and kind hearts of my fellow TechGirls. The distance was not felt in the virtual setting because our desire to use technology for good bonded us. Being a part of such an international and inspiring community of young women has motivated me to work towards empowering more women in STEM.
I’ve always felt passionate about increasing the number of women in STEM. This summer, I created def include( ), a free summer program for young women to learn programming beyond the beginner level. There were two important reasons to develop this program: the lack of challenging summer opportunities for young women and the desire to teach coding the way I wished it had been taught to me. I utilized my programming skills to create a website for virtual learning to take place. Additionally, along with my team, I developed and taught three courses in Python to young women in my community. The program was successful, so I was looking for our next course and found inspiration while participating in TechGirls.
Learning and collaborating with other young women with a passion for STEM from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia made me realize that our differences in ideologies were not a source of division, but an opportunity for growth and connection.
In my pathway, Communitech, we were tasked with solving a problem in our community with technology. I was inspired by the brilliant ideas the TechGirls had to improve their communities. While working on our projects, I saw incredibly thoughtful and innovative app wireframes that tackled challenges like improving mental health, making recycling easier, and increasing equal access to college application aid. Inspired, I wanted to help these girls bring their ideas to life so I created a web development course for def include( ) that’s occurring this fall.
With the help of the TechGirls alumni community, def include( ) was able to reach 60 girls from 12 countries. Already, I’ve been able to see the wonderful websites our students are creating. Many of our students have joined our Slack group and it has been great to see them bonding over favorite TV shows, travel locations on their bucket list, and music. Being able to foster connection between students globally has been a highlight of this experience. Although we are still early in the course, I’m so excited for the projects that will come out of this course and the positive change they will create.
Being a part of TechGirls has empowered me to use my education in technology and my passion to make a positive change. TechGirls are changing the image of technology by working towards a bright future for themselves and their communities. I’m immensely thankful to be a part of this community of leaders and changemakers and inspired every day to work towards a better world.