Student Ambassador Spotlight: Meriam G.

Meriam G., Student Ambassador (2017-2018)

Meet Meriam! Meriam is a Student Ambassador in Tunisia. Meriam was already a very engaged member of her local community before becoming a Student Ambassador, and the skills and connections she developed through her community engagement were important tools for her this season. In 2016, Meriam participated in TechGirls, a summer program in Washington, DC for girls interested in STEM that also required Meriam to host information sessions when she returned to Tunisia. These information sessions helped Meriam develop her network further and reach more girls. Her connection to TechGirls also provides her access to the American corner (the US Embassy’s cultural center in her city), which provides her chapter with a place to meet for information sessions, workshops, and group discussions. Meriam also started a new Technovation club in her school and hopes to expand it further next year.

Of course starting a new club and recruiting and supporting 20 girls during the Technovation season didn’t come without challenges. Meriam found that girls struggled with finding time to work on Technovation around their busy schedules, as well as committing to such a rigorous project. Meriam also noted that many of the girls she worked with were hesitant to try coding, but with additional encouragement from her they were able to face their fears and tackle the challenge. Overall Meriam greatly enjoyed being a Student Ambassador this year, despite these challenges. “Being a student ambassador was the highlight of my school life and technovation participation. I LOVED the interaction with the young girls full of energy and inspiration which pushed me to do my best in sharing my knowledge with them and building a stronger local community of girls for a change.”

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Alumni Spotlight: Houyem Boukthir

Technovation recently had the chance to talk with Houyem Boukthir, a 2015 Technovation participant from Tunisia. We got some great advice for young women interested in tech, learned how Houyem worked though challenges during the program, and what inspires her.

 

Tell us about yourself!HouyemBoukthir

My name is Houyem Boukthir, I’m 18 years old and I live in Ariana, Tunisia.

When I was 8 I dreamt of founding a car manufacturer producing only autonomous and ecofriendly vehicles, therefore reducing stress, car accidents and pollution. When presenting the idea to my father he replied that I needed a huge amount of money in order to fulfill my dream. Thanks to my childhood optimism, that didn’t stop me — on the contrary that’s when my long journey of saving money started.

I first bought a piggy bank and started saving all my pocket money depriving myself of stuff other kids my age would buy. As I grew older I realized that money wasn’t the most important thing I needed. In fact, I needed some skills that neither school could teach me nor money could buy.

I got myself more involved in community services, jumped in every event and training I’ve heard of and with 5 other friends we founded the first club in our school counting more than 50 members.

I was obsessed with the idea of becoming a better version of myself bit by bit each day, and turning into a person who worked for change and success instead of only dreaming of it. That’s when teammate Narmine introduced me to Technovation; an experience that I’ll never forget. It made me more aware of how far I have come as an individual and how hard I will work in order to achieve my goals.

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