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Siena – Creating My Own Way

Siena, TechGirls 2023, Honduras

My friend and fellow 2023 TechGirl Keona quoted Coldplay during her speech at the Department of State. “You’re a sky full of stars”, she said. Remembering her words still makes me shed a tear and most importantly, it makes me believe that the world is full of potential – we just have to find it. TechGirls is not just a STEM program, but also a life-changing experience where I was able to create unbreakable bonds and long-lasting friendships with girls from every corner of the world. Each of the 2023 TechGirls impacted me in so many ways and opened my eyes to a world I will never be able to experience again. 

TechGirls was an experience that taught me many valuable lessons, such as inspirational words that still roam around in my head. One of the speakers at Capitol Hill said, “If you can’t find your way, create your own.” These words inspired me to take action with my community action project. Although I once saw myself lost in the world of technology, I have come to realize that I have been one of the fortunate girls to receive this opportunity. After having the amazing opportunity of being a 2023 TechGirl, I found myself wanting to share my knowledge with others who didn’t have the same opportunity as me. After the camp, I came back to my country with the motivation to start my community action project, The STEAM Dream, where I have impacted more than 20 students from a public school in my city and taught them all about the world of STEAM. Teaching students from a public school in Tegucigalpa, I was able to enjoy and admire the smiles on the kids’ faces and teach them about robots and wind power energy. It took me about four months to plan the entire project, with ups and downs along the way, but these obstacles did not stop me from addressing the issue that children are not introduced to STEAM in Honduran schools.

The TechGirls program guided me to my future career, helping me decide the path I want to take. After two weeks of a very interesting class about Automating Systems using Microprocessors in Virginia Tech, I became sure that this was the career for me. Our capstone project was a very fulfilling experience, where I was paired up with a TechGirl from Egypt and a TechGirl from Cambodia. In two weeks, we created our innovation called the “Stalker Hawker”. The “Stalker Hawker” is a small device, worn as a vest or a small backpack, with features that can avoid violent attacks and even save lives. 

Thanks to the TechGirls program, I was able to open many doors, including a full-ride scholarship to Worcester Polytechnic Institute. My hard work and dedication allowed me to fulfill my dreams of being part of TechGirls and studying in the United States of America. I will value every conversation, every laugh, all the lessons learned and every long, sweaty walk from class to the dorms forever. I will always cherish all the long nights working on our capstone projects, learning about all the cultures of the world, our pod chant “A.S.U.M. Awesome, Smart, Unique, Mindful! Go ASUM!” Yet what I will miss the most is the friendships I created. For now I am leaving the program in hopes that someday we will get to be together once again because “Once a TechGirl, always a TechGirl”.

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