Beyond the Boundaries – TechWomen


Anjali Sinha, Reporter

On October 10, Presentation students and faculty joined together in a panel discussion with five members of the U.S. State Department’s TechWomen program.

With roughly 100 participants selected each year from twenty different countries, this program helps women identified as “Emerging Leaders” in STEM fields gain professional training with an industry mentor and learn how to further foster an environment that encourages other girls to pursue higher education, especially relating to technology.

As part of the Math and Science Independent Research class, I was invited to eat lunch with the five women prior to the panel discussion. Along with a few other students and teachers, I conversed with one or two of the Emerging Leaders regarding their personal history and efforts to make it where they are now. These stories were impressive and eye-opening. They talked about not only the hardships faced with regard to the workplace but also the impact their employment had on their families.

Later in the theater during the panel discussion, the five women — Janet Leparteleg from Kenya, Fatma Wassar from Tunisia, Umu Kamara from Sierra Leone, Mide Ayeni from Nigeria, and Amina Daham Zareb from Algeria — answered questions about their past and current experiences in their fields.

These inspiring accounts expressed how the five women defeated gender stereotypes. Education played a substantial role in their progress, and when speaking about the difference in the quality of enrichment between America and their countries, Ayeni conveyed her astonishment at how many opportunities we have compared to the very limited materials she had in school.

All of the stories emphasized the importance of female empowerment in education and STEM fields. Pres girls will definitely carry on what we have learned and apply it to the future.