Presenting…Ghada Missaoui, 2014 TechGirl from Tunisia

The next up in our installment about the 2014 TechGirls: we proudly present Ghada Missaoui from Tunisia, who has a strong passion for engineering and shifting the way it is perceived. The following is from a speech she gave recently at the American Corner.

Ghada Missaoui photograph Allow me to present myself. My name is Ghada Missaoui. I am 16 years old and I will attend 3rd year mathematics in Lycée de Jeunes Filles Sousse. Recently, I was selected to participate in the exchange program TechGirls, which takes place from July 31 to August 21. I invite you to share in this wonderful experience with me by following me on Twitter and Facebook in our day-to-day activities. I discovered TechGirls through the US Embassy website in my country. I filled out an application and wad selected for an interview. Finally, I received an email announcing that I had been selected. It was the best day of my life. TechGirls began in 2012 and aims to promote high level of study of technology for girls between the ages of 15 and 17 from the MENA region. The program offers intensive training program comparable to university-level coursework. It consists of leadership training, community service, job shadowing, visiting technology companies in Washington DC and New York like Yahoo! and Facebook, and meeting with tech professionals. Also, there is a weekend we’ll spend with an American family for total immersion into American culture. The final goal of the TechGirls program is implementing an achievable community-based project when we return home. TechGirls are supported before, during, and after the program in finalizing their project. My community-based project is designing a website with the purpose of rendering technology more visible and better understood through hands-on application and less formulaic approaches, in order to attract young women and men to it as a career. This project is in response to the finding of  a survey that I carried out about the perception of technology and engineering among secondary school students. The conclusion is that many students feel little about engineering when compared with other professions. Many students have a low-level of knowledge about engineering and they see it as being limited to fixing things, rather than about designing, innovation, or creativity. Engineering, currently, is a profession of men. My project is to try to generate an interest in technology and innovation for young people by addressing the gender stereotypes and showing exciting high-tech innovations that are easy to understand and are based on simple ideas that help those in need. I hope that this brief speech gives you a general sense of the TechGirls program and I hope that you will follow me on social media and share this experience with me. Thank you very much.

Follow Ghada Missaoui’s TechGirls experience on Twitter @2014Techgirl and on Facebook.