What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word "geek?" For 25 teenage girls from the Middle East and North Africa, the answer is "chic!"
As participants in TechGirls, one of the newest programs sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, these computer-savvy "geeks” recently wrapped up a three-week visit to the United States, where they connected with their American peers and learned new technology skills.
A highlight of their program was connecting with interns from Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society's Youth and Media Lab for a dynamic and creative workshop last Saturday, facilitated by our partners at Legacy International. After an opening presentation from the Youth and Media Lab team members, the TechGirls engaged in a multi-part, exploratory workshop to consider how their personal strengths and creative passions could serve them in future careers -- especially in fields traditionally dominated by men.
During the session, the TechGirls discussed their favorite activities and creative outlets on the Internet, as well as challenges they face and opportunities they enjoy in being creative online. They also reflected on the roles of bravery, kindness, and creativity in their professional pursuits and strategized how they could motivate other girls to get excited about science and technology.
The workshop was a great opportunity for collaboration between the TechGirls and their American peers at the Berkman Center's Youth and Media Lab. Everyone's eager to keep the conversation going online, and, fortunately, this is a group that knows how do to just that -- starting on the TechGirls Facebook page. We're thrilled about this new and successful partnership, and we hope all of these relationships continue long after the TechGirls have gone home!