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Erin – Opening Doors and Inspiring Youth

Erin, TechGirls 2022, Indonesia

TechGirls was another door in the long, long journey of my life. It might have been only three weeks, but it sure felt like a giant leap for me. Those three weeks gave me years worth of experience. I made friends from all over the world, I met so many remarkable people with their awe-inspiring stories, and I visited places people my age could only dream of. To say that my horizons broadened is an understatement. TechGirls gave me a whole load of gems, from knowledge to memories to wisdom, and I was more than eager to share it with the world. 

The community action project was that outlet for me. It was where I would share all that I learned from this program. I thought about making something grand, something that would last for years to come, like some of the projects from previous TechGirls alumnae and other women in STEM who came before me. For weeks I pushed myself to think of the perfect idea, until a realisation struck me: Hey, we’re not here to compete, we’re here to learn together! It’s never about how big your project is, but rather what you aim to do with it. The community action project is not about proving yourself to be the best TechGirl, but rather about sharing and applying what you’ve learned from the program and what you gained from the project itself. So instead of casting my sight on something far away, I turned my vision inward. I looked at the people around me and thought, is there anything I can improve for them? And that’s where the idea for my project began.

My project, Design Your Foundation, was a series of workshops aiming to build digital literacy and graphic design skills for high school and middle school students. The inspiration for this project came from how much technology is improving every year and how it is an integral part of every aspect of our lives, especially in the education field. A lot of school assignments today require various digital skills such as designing a PowerPoint as well as using various tools like Canva and the wide variations of Google apps, so I thought it was crucial to know at least the basics. Through this project, I combined the knowledge and skills I learned from TechGirls with my passion for arts to teach young students about the basics of graphic design and various tips and tricks in using digital apps and tools. 

This project is the pinnacle of my TechGirls experience. It’s where I share the knowledge I gained from my classes and teachers, apply the skills I learned from the motivational workshops I attended, and strengthen the connections I made throughout the entirety of the program. Though both the program and the project have ended, the impact is still prominent. To this day, I’m still often invited by the US Embassy to their events to give talks about the TechGirls and my experience as a TechGirl and an exchange student. I’ve stood in front of people of varying ages and shared the wonders TechGirls allowed me to see, and it’s like I can watch their dreams bloom before their eyes. It’s a heady feeling to be able to be part of this one of a lifetime experience, but it’s even more delightful to know that my experience can become a source of inspiration for many people. TechGirls may have ended for me, but I hope that through me, it can open so many more doors and lead so many more youth to be the best version of themselves, as it did to me. This leg of my journey is over, but the road’s still long and I’m more than ready to see where it leads.

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