Saja, TechGirl 2012, Lebanon
Horizons have opened ever since I have participated in the amazing experience of the TechGirls program. The program perfectly fulfills its goals in implanting leadership, faith and success into young participants, as it widely opens their eyes to the aspiration out of this world. This program has made us confident about the capabilities we have and has set us on a path to unleash them. We learned from the expertise of the best women in STEM out there by looking forward to being one of them in the future.
I have always had a passion for biology and I worked on excelling in this domain. This is when I decided to get my Lebanese Baccalaureate in the Life Sciences field to start specializing in it. I fell in love with science and biology even more with a great thanks and appreciation to the teachers who were true pioneers in teaching their subjects. They helped my passion grow with bountiful knowledge to reach the highest achievement of being the first in my sections and among the top three overall at the school. Simultaneously with TechGirls, I was in a program presented by the AMIDEAST called the English Access Microscholarship Program that lasted until high school graduation (almost a two year program) where I graduated from the program ranking first of my class. I was among the first rank in the program scoring 900/900 on the Toefl Junior exam. I also had the honor during my high school years to participate in Jawdat Haydar’s poetry competition and to participate in School Net’s Projects belonging to the Ministry of Education as my high school’s representative.
All this started with the spark of confidence the TechGirls experience gave to us as young girls with great capabilities. After all these successes, I faced my first obstacle, which was to gain a scholarship- especially with the national conflict we had with no official exam grades. It took long nights of trials and preparation to get a scholarship from the Unite Lebanon Youth Project covering 100% my expenses due to my grades and accomplishments.
I went to Turkey to pursue my degree in Genetics and Bioengineering. This domain is new and is not widely known in the world in general and specifically in the Arab world. This made me put even more effort to try to grasp as much as I could and to develop my talents. Throughout studying, I volunteered to teach the younger students to help them pass the subjects. I worked for restless nights in order to get the best results and perform the best projects guided by my professors. The four years passed quickly and ended by me ranking the first on the batch with High Honors. After a year of graduation and sitting unemployed due to the country’s economic crisis, I decided to continue my educational track so I applied for Abdallah Al Ghurair Foundation for Education’s Online Learning Program for a Master’s Degree at Arizona State University. Thankfully, I was bestowed the award of the scholarship and I am currently in this exceptional experience of distance learning and commitment to my new Master of Science degree in Biomedical Diagnostics. I am currently taking online-certified courses to enhance my knowledge and I am trying to participate in volunteering possibilities such as being a Biocurator at Clingen NHS and at the same time the Vice president of Genomisr educational Facebook page to spread awareness about personalized medicine.
My aim is to continue with determination to reach the highest steps in education and maybe even become a professor someday!