In addition to benefiting the next generation of women in STEM, Virginia Tech’s faculty customized a brand new coding course, which has, in turn, elevated the university’s computer science department to new heights. Moreover, the mentorship provided by Virginia Tech reached far beyond the teaching assistants that worked with the TechGirls. During their stay, the TechGirls interacted with 28 additional students, instructors, academic and career advisors, program coordinators, and professors at the university. The young women from across 7 Middle East and North African countries received a comprehensive and exclusive opportunity to delve into the STEM field from all angles. In return, the TechGirls shared stories and information about their cultures with everyone they met at VT—reinforcing the notion that mentorship and cultural exchange have no age or geographic limitations.
It doesn’t matter what area you like. Do you like art? You can do computer science and merge it. Do you like law? You can merge it together. Do you like medicine? Yeah—whatever you love you can enrich it using tech. It allows you [to] expand and reach better people, it allows you to know more about yourself—to discover things about yourself. You can find people who are in the niches you are in. There’s a huge community of tech women, especially. There are resources for women. Just the only thing you have to do is dip your toes into it. What do you have to lose? It’s challenging, it’s fun, it’s new every time—there’s always new things coming up. You keep learning and that is the best thing about it—you keep learning something new every day and it’s so rewarding.