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Staff – TechGirls 2022 Program

TechGirls 2022 Program - Meet the Team!

Welcome to the 2022 TechGirls Program! Since 2012, Legacy International has administered the program.  TechGirls has trained and mentored 343 teenage girls (ages 15-17) from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen. In 2019, the program expanded to include young women from Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan).

In 2022, the program will expand to support approximately 111 young women from 36 participating countries and approximately 25 U.S. peers in a dynamic four week U.S.- based experience with a 7-month mentoring program (including pre- and post-exchange).

The dedicated TechGirls program staff strive to create an environment where participants can feel a sense of trust and respect for one another. This atmosphere originates from staff attitudes and actions.  Participants follow staff members’ example and gain new understandings of how dedication and commitment can build a strong community.  By choosing to work with the TechGirls team, each staff member agrees to uphold high standards of personal behavior and job performance.

TechGirls Team

Mary Helmig - Headshot

Mary Helmig

Vice President Youth Initiatives

Ms. Helmig has 30 years non-profit experience, including directing U.S. Department of State Exchange programs, professional development initiatives and youth leadership programs.  Her work in Indonesia, Iraq, across the MENA region and with many US Embassies worldwide has addressed topics of NGO development, social cohesion, religion and society, business development, women’s economic prosperity, STEM training, and civic education and engagement. Ms. Helmig is involved in the design, funding, and program and financial administration of Legacy’s projects. Mary enjoys cooking for friends and family, walking in nature and gardening.

 

Bernie

Bernadette “Bernie” Lamontagne

Program Manager for the TechGirls Southeast and Central Asia Region

She joined the TechGirls team in 2019. She has experience in comparative international politics, as well international exchange programs, and has worked on State Department-funded initiatives including TechGirls, the International Visitors Leadership Program, and the Iraqi Young Leaders Program. Bernie has also travelled extensively for international education programs to the Palestinian Territories, Morocco, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. She holds a Doctorate in Political Science, a Masters in International Studies, a Bachelors in French and took an introductory acrobat class at the New York School of Trapeze. Bernie has a soft spot for cats, and enjoys cheesy puns, learning languages, and meeting people.

 

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Theresa Kozelka

Program Manager for the TechGirls Middle East & North Africa as well as Fiji, Mongolia, and Taiwan

Theresa is motivated by the power of international exchange to promote cross-cultural understanding and generate innovation. Her excitement around social impact, innovation, and the exchange of ideas led her to work on the Professional Fellows Program, a Department of State Initiative, which connects and empowers entrepreneurs and changemakers from around the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to that, she worked with the U.S. Peace Corps in Thailand, as a Youth in Development Facilitator, working in conjunction with local government and community organizations to create leadership opportunities for local youth with an additional emphasis on gender equality. Theresa joined the TechGirls team as a virtual facilitator in 2020 and returned full time in 2021 as a Program Manager. Theresa graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. 

Arshelle

Arshelle Carter

Program Coordinator for the TechGirls Sub-Saharan Africa region as well as Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Arshelle believes in the value of international exchange programs and looks forward to supporting TechGirls as a Program Coordinator! Through her experiences studying, volunteering, and working abroad, she developed an appreciation for international education. Arshelle coordinated the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program in Indonesia for two years after serving as a grantee herself. She enjoyed facilitating education initiatives in the country and working to empower young people. Additionally, Arshelle has assisted government and non-profit projects in Mexico, Suriname, and across Southeast Asia. Arshelle graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.A. in International Studies and a B.S. in Business Management. In her free time, you can find Arshelle sipping espresso in a local coffee shop or experimenting with new recipes.

Brittany

Brittany Corn

Program Coordinator for the TechGirls Western Hemisphere and Europe & Eurasia Regions

Brittany recently returned stateside after teaching English in Spain for the last five years and obtaining a Master’s degree in International Education at the Universidad de Alcalá. Brittany also has experience working in both the legal field and in higher education with international students and scholars. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Justice Studies: Global Justice and Policy from James Madison University. After years of city living, she is currently enjoying spending time at her parents’ farm, where her closest neighbors are llamas.

Gabrielle Gonzalez - Headshot

Gabrielle Gonzalez

Program Associate for the TechGirls

Gabrielle is motivated by the belief that all people are entitled to an education, economic security, and social equity, and she is interested in how programs can be employed to promote that. Gabrielle has interned with the National Science Foundation where she researched how to get girls engaged in STEM, and is excited to bring that knowledge to the TechGirls program! She has also participated in a Webinar from J-PAL that covered the importance of MERL in international programs, volunteered with The Committee for the Upliftment of the Mentallly Ill in Jamaica, and extensively researched the ways that gender and poverty intersect in an international context. Gabrielle graduated from James Madison University in 2021 with a major in Justice Studies, a concentration in Global Justice and Policy, and minors in Economics, Humanitarian Affairs, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In her free time, Gabrielle enjoys pottery, running, and singing in the Fairfax County Choir! 

 

TechGirls is a U.S. Department of State initiative and exchange program designed to inspire young women around the globe to pursue higher education and careers in technology through hands-on skills development. It is administered by Legacy International in partnership with Virginia Tech, Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED).