Over the last several years, the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has developed numerous exchanges to empower women and girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Tech Age Girls (TAG) is one such program, leveraging communications technology to connect young women in Philippines and Vietnam with learning resources and mentors. In December 2012, ECA worked together with our grantee partner, IREX, to take this exchange to the next level with in-person TAG conferences featuring talented young women from both countries.
The first TAG conference was held January 14 -24 in Hanoi, Vietnam. Thirty female students were selected from a pool of 376 applicants within the TAG virtual program, chosen based on their vision, leadership skills, and writing abilities. The conference enabled the girls to build their digital communications skills and learn effective leadership techniques. Additionally, they shadowed successful female mentors through three, half-day internships at organizations including the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Bridges Across Borders. Check out this picture of the TAG participants working on their digital stories.
The girls came away from the Vietnam conference more prepared for a technology-based global environment. Linh of Bac Giang High School said, "TAG changed me a lot. It made me a more confident girl. It taught me a lot of things...how to manage time, how to use technology, and it helped me to have more friends from everywhere from all over our country."
The second TAG conference was held January 20-30, in the Philippines. Twenty-eight girls from across the nation gathered in Manila and covered topics critical in an increasingly connected global society. The group met with a local Intel representative to discuss career opportunities and participated in community service project training. Dana, of Paranaque City, Philippines, encapsulated her experience with this thoughtful comment: "Gandhi once said, 'Be the change you wish to see in the world.' To me, TAG means change, and as a TAG, I can help others." Here is another great photo of the TAG girls working on their projects!
Connecting with U.S. students in the GCE long-term virtual exchange program and with each other at the TAG conferences has given these young women useful skills and positive examples that will help them reach their full potential and have a positive impact in their communities.
Please visit our webpage for more information on ECA's Global Connections.