When Maram Abu Hussein was accepted about three months ago to learn computer coding in Washington, D.C., she thought her good luck was an April Fool’s joke. Maram, from Jordan, is one of nearly 30 girls who traveled from the Middle East to the U.S. for the first time to participate in an immersive, three-week exchange program to learn about Java software and programming.

Middle Eastern girls from countries like Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Egypt learn about coding in Washington, D.C. (Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State)

The TechGirls program, administered by Legacy, started in 2011 under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is produced in collaboration with iD Tech, a provider of summer STEM courses, and TechGirls, a State Department initiative. It exposes girls from countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Yemen to technology and computer science. This is Legacy’s 4th year of successful MENA TechGirl programs.

“You can do anything using programming,” Maram, a 16-year-old aspiring computer programmer, said Wednesday during a session at an American University hall. “If you learn Java, you can make any project for fun or for helping people.”

Maram, who said she doesn’t take any technology classes in Jordan because they are too expensive, found out about the program — which is free with scholarships offered by iD Tech — through social media.

“The first day, I didn’t really believe I was in D.C.,” she said with a smile.

Read more about the TechGirls in this recent post, “Foreign Exchange Program Exposes Middle Eastern girls to Computer Coding”

by Corinne Lestch at fedscoop.com