Grace, TechGirls 2022, Taiwan
The TechGirls program is more than a learning experience, and instead, a life-changing period. Recalling months ago, when I received the acceptance notification, I was overwhelmed by excitement to study advanced courses in a university abroad, build a connection with girls interested in STEM from different countries, and meet experts in various fields. Never did I know the TechGirls program is more than what I expected. Through the one month spent abroad in Washington, D.C. and Virginia Tech, I grew as a person, besides gaining knowledge of molecular modeling informatics. From the interactions and sharing sessions with girls from different cultural backgrounds, I obtained cultural awareness and recognized the beauty of diversity. From job shadowing and field experts’ panels, I saw the possibility of STEM, including its wide application, potential, and careers. From leadership workshops and in-class research, I discovered the value of a team-based approach.
With such an amazing realization, I wanted to inspire girls in my community in the same way. By showing the wide careers and application of STEM, perhaps more teenage girls will pursue related study paths, hence addressing the unbalanced gender ratio in the local STEM industry and social stereotypes toward women in STEM. Therefore, for my follow-on project, I hosted the seminar “Beyond STEM,” inviting experts from both tech and non-tech companies to speak. Aside from the follow-on project for the TechGirls program, I was inspired by a girl from Kenya, who started a moving library in Kenya to serve rural communities with no educational resources. Without the TechGirls program, I wouldn’t have the platform to meet girls from a completely different part of the world, nor start a conversation about such global issues.
The TechGirls program enriched me as a person. Through connections with girls from other countries, I gained the awareness of being a global citizen, eager to use my ability to help the world. On the other hand, the lessons learned at Virginia Tech laid the foundation for pursuing biomedical engineering and public health for me. I can’t wait to contribute to society as a TechGirl.