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Diyora – The Next Uzbek Ada Lovelace

Diyora, TechGirls 2021, Uzbekistan

It’s one o’clock in the morning. I am sitting in an auditorium. I have not slept all night and I’m definitely not planning to sleep now. My hands are all burnt after hours of working with a soldering iron. The team I am leading is going to present an automated greenhouse “Demeter” at the Science Fair in 8 hours. The code is not functioning. The door of the greenhouse is not working. Two sensors are broken. Nothing is going according to plan, and I have never been happier in my entire life. 

– Wait.. “happier”? 

– Yes, happier!

Hi there, my name is Diyora. I have been an awesome engineer for 17 years and the first thing I had as a toy back in my childhood was probably a soldering iron…just kidding!

The situation described above is my first practical experience in engineering at my university of study,  the Academic Lyceum of Westminster International University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. That story was probably a turning point for me, as an Uzbek girl who dreams of working as an aerospace engineer at NASA one day. That night, I learned first-hand that not everything goes as planned (and trust me, I love planning!). Sometimes there are occasions which are out of your control. Absolutely out of your control.  You might not notice it, but in such cases you usually have a choice of whether to give up or to keep going. I was faced with either giving up or  becoming the next Uzbek Ada Lovelace. Guess which one I chose? (Spoiler alert, I chose the second!)

I did not go to sleep that night. I continued to work and 8 hours later my project was announced to be the winner. Sure, there was some real hard work left out of the story in these 8 hours. However, the point is that when there is no control over the situation, sometimes, there is a choice. I know well about it as I was “that one girl” in my small hometown in the suburbs of Tashkent, who would hear how “not feminine” engineering is and what “a real lady” should do. Again, an uncontrollable situation as I cannot change everyone’s mindset, but I can’t give up either, right? So I decided to choose the alternative and at the age of 16 I was accepted to the most prestigious STEM-oriented high school of my country and left my small town for an adventure in the big city! Looking back, I am happy. I am happy that I made the choice to go after my dream and happy that I chose to continue to work hard. 

Acceptance to the TechGirls program was a significant milestone for me. It exposed me to powerful women and girls, well-structured educational programs, empowerment and inspiration in every speech, every video call, and every email. TechGirls is the platform where I not only learned about Power Electronics and met the most powerful, inspiring and amazing peers of mine, but I also realized that I am not the only one with a pathway to engineering full of thorns. Moreover, TechGirls is where people taught me that there are girls fighting for opportunities just like me all around the globe. There is something special in each and every one of their stories, just like in mine. 

Fast forward to present, this story is being written by a Georgia Institute of Technology’s Aerospace engineering freshman! In 3 months, I am moving to the USA to pursue a degree in the major of my dreams at a top-ranked university in another part of the world. 

I hope every girl who is reading this will feel a little more reassured and encouraged to chase their dream, no matter how unimaginable and impossible it might seem. Remember, even without the control over certain situations, we are the ones who make choices. Therefore, choose your dream!

2 - Diyora Daminova
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