Rawan, Egypt, TechGirl 2017
Hello! My name is Rawan and I am a TechGirls 2017 alumna. I remember the first time I heard about TechGirls. It was my first year at Maadi STEM School for Girls, a project-based, STEM-oriented all-girls school in Cairo. After gaining admission to the school, I was keen on utilizing all the resources and opportunities I had to pursue my passion towards STEM. One of those life-changing opportunities that I got to pursue was TechGirls. Looking back at my high school career, participating in TechGirls sparked a period of huge personal and professional growth for me. Attending Virginia Tech University and taking programming classes with girls from a variety of backgrounds made me realize my interest in pursuing an undergraduate degree in Computer Science abroad, specifically in the United States. Participating in leadership clinics equipped me with the project management skills needed to apply what I have learned in the program and empower 70 girls in my community to start mobile application development upon my return.
I am currently a first-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at Northwestern University. I am passionate about the intersection between Computer Science, Entrepreneurship, and Design. I am interested in pursuing a career that is related to human-centered design and/or community-based organizations, which is something that I have first started exploring during implementing my TechGirls follow-on project. I have also continued my efforts in introducing girls to STEM here at Northwestern through volunteering with MakerGirl Academy at Northwestern and conducting 3D printing sessions for girls of ages between seven and ten years of age. Over the past couple of months, we have educated around 60 girls, contributing to a total of nearly 4,000 girls in 22 states since the organization started, and we are aiming to reach the target of educating 10,000 girls by 2023 with half of the participants coming from rural and under-served locations.
In addition, I am currently working on two projects involving helping people with disabilities. One of those projects is being an IT volunteer for an organization called ETI (Empowerment through Integration), an organization aiming to disrupt the narrative surrounding disability through empowering youth with disabilities, and helping them transform their curriculum to the virtual format. The other project involves being a Research Assistant at the Inclusive Technology Lab here at Northwestern University, through which I get the chance to conduct research about how to make daily-used and collaborative technologies more inclusive for elderly people and people with disabilities.
TechGirls taught me a lot of skills that I put into action every single day, regardless of where I am or what I am doing. I will be always grateful for the out of-the-box mindset, the countless memories, and the long-lasting, vibrant network that TechGirls brought to life.