For 27 young women from the Middle East and North Africa, a 3-week trip to the United States has been a dream come true. The first week has passed, and the TechGirls have met numerous women leaders in technology and science in Washington D.C.
TechGirls is a full and intensive training program in a safe and secure setting. Participants are involved in university level training, gaining high level skills, and immersing themselves in American culture. The TechGirls Program is a Department of State initiative administered by Legacy International.
This year’s participants were selected from over 600 applicants –a record number from last year’s program. All the girls are extremely excited to be America and have held themselves to a high standard with grace and humility.
When you meet the TechGirls you immediately note their unique personalities and their intelligence is evident. They have all the qualities to become great leaders, the passion in their eyes sparkles. In a Leadership Workshop with J.E. Rash, President and Founder of Legacy International, he humorously commented, “…it was bright outside but [brighter in here]”. The girls listened to his lecture carefully and they spoke with determination as they engaged him in discussion.
Recently , they met with Nina Zolt, Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer, ePals, Inc. and Stephanie Cohen, Vice President – ePals Global Community. As young innovators of their generation, they are creative in their pursuit to change the world. To make an impact on the world, Nina encouraged them to collaborate with others and recognize one another’s unique strengths in the spirit of building a better world.
They are learning the deep impact that technology is making in bringing people together around the world, and to be able to learn from one another. By collaborating with other students and teachers around the globe through the ePals virtual space for learning online, they can work on projects with other cool like-minded kids. Stephanie noted the importance of keeping up with technology in order to harness it for educational purposes.
Tech Professionals Support TechGirls
This year several private sector partners will be engaging with the TechGirls program. Through these meetings, the TechGirls will be exposed to a variety of Tech professionals. Upon their return home, TechGirls will be able to transfer the skills they have gained during the program into employment and community engagement opportunities. Here some of the partners hosting for this year’s program:
- ALIVE! Inc
- Bully Pulpit Interactive
- DC Digital Divas Dinner
George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services
- Girls in Tech
- Girls Who Code
- OhMyGov Inc.
- Precision Network
- Relief International
- Women Innovate Mobile
- Verizon Communications
- The White House
- Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
- Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA
- Federal Communications Commission
Volunteerism and Service
In addition to the hot weather and ice cream breaks, another highlight of the first week of the TechGirls program was volunteering with Alive! Inc. The TechGirls helped to bag food for the elderly and others in need on Saturday morning. The experience proved to be very rewarding and the girls were happy to see the effects of their volunteerism.
Currently the TechGirls are at Towson University in Towson, Maryland for a full week of technology camp where they will learn how to code and create games among other things. At the end of the week, they will go to New York City for more workshops and meetings with technology professionals.
Follow the day by day activities of the TechGirls in the TECHGIRLS BLOG.
From June 25 – July 18, these tech-savvy teenagers from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen will engage with their American counterparts in the classroom and the community, working on their technical development and leadership skills. They will participate in an iD TechCamp, an interactive technology and computer camp, at Towson University; meet with leading U.S. technology companies in Washington, DC, and New York, NY; and take part in community service activities. The TechGirls will be also be mentored by representatives from top technology companies, making important personal contacts and expanding their networks to compete equally in an often male-dominated field.