My Experience Working With Oppia Foundation

In December 2019, I have started my internship with Oppia foundation . Oppia is a platform that provides free and high quality educational content created by educators from all around the world. Oppia has a great  mission which is to help anyone learn anything they want in an effective and enjoyable way.

The most interesting part of my internship was performing research studies with disadvantaged students in Palestine. The purpose of this study is to help Oppia’s team to improve Oppia’s platform to serve students needs. I did the study with the help of Tomorrow’s youth organization which is an organization that support students who live in refugees camp and belong to families  of low economic level in my city Nablus. Most of  students who have participated in the study are disadvantaged with regards to education and quality of life. Also, most of them have uneducated parents so they don’t receive educational support at home.

I have worked a lot with school students before, but working with disadvantaged students is really different. At the beginning It was hard to control students and convince them about the importance of commitment and respect for time. Also, it was hard to grab their attention to lessons. Once they got started they enjoyed a lot and they continued learning . What makes it work with students that they love the enjoyable stories in  Oppia’s lesson . The lesson teach students Maths by telling them a story and giving them exercises related to that  story in order to show them that math can be used to solve problems in real life.

 

In addition to performing user studies I  worked with both local outreach team and developing team. I  compiled students  feedback that is related to the lessons content and platform. I understood students’  needs and suggested fixes and features to meet them. I was part of many discussion on git hub with Oppia’s designers and developers  to find  the best way we can to apply fixes. Moreover, I have worked on writing requirements documents for new features and I have created Oppia lesson to teach students how to use the keyboard.

In February, students and I were guest speakers in Technovation challenge kick off event in Palestine. I was proud when my students  got into the stage and introduced Oppia to about 120 students and 20 teachers. They talked about their experience and how they have been learning using  Oppia platform. They were very excited and  encouraged other students to  join them doing Oppia’s lessons.

I was lucky to have two amazing mentors who helped me a lot during my contribution . They both answered all my questions. The last part of my internship I have been working hard on a very long report , they helped me with comments and suggestions all the way.
I believe this is the best report I have ever written because of their help. Also, I am very proud of the research study I have finished. I am sure that my work is considered seriously and all the teams are working to improve Oppia according to my research and suggestions.

In addition my mentors were amazing in connecting me with the rest of the team. It was really a pleasure to work with them .

I have learned a lot during this internship. My communication skills through email and git hub  get better by time as my mentors keep connecting me with people of the team to discuss technical and content issues. Also, my analytical and research skills get improved as I learned  what kind of questions should I ask to understand students needs and how to think of improvements. I learned how organize my thoughts and expressed them in writings.

Working with Oppia was really great experience for me . I encourage anyone to dedicate part of their time improving Oppia and serve Oppia’s mission.

 

 

 

 

What’s Next After #Outreachy ? #Week9

 

I don’t usually set plans and I don’t like to spend time thinking about a specific goal ! I know these are not the characteristics of a successful person, but it is fine I am not planning to be very successful in my life,  all what I want is to be happy and do something that worth living for.

Through my life I have passed by many situation where I worked for something and got something else. Most of the time the other thing is better than what I worked for but this is always not clear at the beginning. I believe that the most important thing is to do something useful for others,  and to never stop learning and working on improving your skills and abilities, even if you don’t know what you are working for or to where are you planning to go .

What I love about working with Oppia is that it goes along with what I have been doing since many years.  I always volunteer with schools because I am interested in improving education and introducing technology to the young generation. In 2018, I was a co-mentor for Technovation challenge which is a worldwide competition that aims to teach programming to school girls. For over three months, I mentored four girls to solve a community relevant problem, write a business plan, and develop a mobile application. The team I mentored was the first Palestinian team to reach the final stage and participate in the global pitch summit in Silicon Valley. We won two awards: the people’s choice award and second place overall. The long term impact of Technovation was that the four girls who I mentored are now pursuing their undergraduate study in a technology field.

In 2019, I led three workshops for more than 100 school students from several schools. I introduced them to virtual reality (VR) and taught them how to create simple web VR content.

From now on, I will add Oppia to my volunteering activities and I will  work to introduce  as many students as I can to it, so they learn math and other subjects in a fun way. Moreover, I will continue helping in research studies and testing Oppia’s lessons. Also, I will join Oppia as an Outreachy mentor in the upcoming round.

In November last year I  have applied for two  scholarships  in order   to get master degree in Business Analytics and big data . The selected candidates for the next stage are supposed to be informed late February. I did not get any rejection email from any of them so I am optimistic.

My work with Oppia includes  performing users’ study with students, analyze their results and feedback. For sure, this is helping me gain real-life skills in research and analysis.

After completing my Master’s degree, I want to continue my volunteer activities that support women and education. Having an MSc in business Analytics and big data will allow me to share my knowledge with students and be a role model for them. I will help Palestinian women to be independent and successful by starting a platform that provides free consultancy for women who are planning to start their own business and help them to earn a living.

I have no specific goal for my career but I believe that in the near future all business sectors in Palestine will need to address big data and will need skilled people to manage development. Also, I will  start my own business that will provide consultancy and data analysis services to local and international projects. I dream to expand this business to be able to provide data analysis services to governmental sectors like health and education, and help the managers of these sectors to make socially conscious decisions to improve the quality of the services they provide.

Apparently, it looks like I have a plan but I did not know …The most important thing I think  is  to be flexible and never  stick to one goal or one plan. If your plan does not work life will bring you better opportunities by time …

 

My Progress in the first half of Outreachy internship !

In this blog post I’m talking about my progress in the first half of Outreachy internship. The most important thing I did is that I have started working on 3 Mathematics topics provided by Oppia with 6 amazing students. I contacted with Tomorrow’s Youth Organization in Nablus, which is a non-governmental organization that works in disadvantaged areas of the city, doing community service and charitable work for children, youth and parents. They provide me with computer lab and internet connection needed for the study.

Since the middle of January, I have been working with students in separated sessions. Students were selected depending on specific criteria related to their previous knowledge. In the first 2 sessions all participating students got introduced to Oppia’s mission and understood what we are going to do during the study. Also, I showed  students the  computer skills needed for them to be able to solve the lessons (Scrolling, writing symbols like : + =  ).  After that, students filled the pre requirement  survey in order to measure their level in the mathematics topic they want to work on. During the sessions my role as a facilitator is to  watch the students and help them when needed. I  take notes about students’ reactions, questions, challenges, technical problems, learning difficulties and improvement suggestions. Also, with the help of my mentors I have prepared several surveys to be able to measure students progress during each topic.  I am now working on evaluating each student progress in each topic and finding problem with lessons that prevent them from learning as expected. (If existed).

The  study did not finish and we do not have final results yet, but so far , students feedback and suggestions help us a lot improving a lot of features in Oppia platform.

Moreover, during the past month students and I were guest speakers in Technovation challenge kick off event in Palestine, organized by the regional ambassador of the challenge Ayah Soufan.  I invited students to get into the stage and introduced Oppia to about 120 students and 20 teachers. They talked about their experience and how they have been learning using  Oppia platform.

My next task will be improving the students evaluation process to get more accurate result. I planed not to only depend on surveys result but to also interview students and understand what make them answer this way.

Oppia to a newcomer

Hello ! I can not believe that I am almost in the mid point of my Outreachy internship. If you want to know what is Outreachy and how to get involved, please read my previous blog posts.

Outreachy !  the journey just started

Time I were stuck during my #Outreachy internship

In this blog post, I am going to talk about Oppia for someone who is interested in contributing to the Open source but do not know from where to get started or what they can do.

Oppia is a platform that provides free and high quality educational content created by educators from all around the world. Oppia’s mission is to help anyone learn anything they want in an effective and enjoyable way.

As a contributor you have the opportunity to do a lot of things to improve Oppia. You don’t need to be a teacher or a developer to get started. You just need be passionate about  improving education in your country or wiling to learn and improve your research and technical skills.

You can get involved in art, development, local outreach, and lesson creation. The educational content in Oppia is based on story telling and creative artwork is a key part of Oppia’s story. As an artist you can get involved by ceating graphics for lessons, websites, and other foundation-related outreach material. Also, you can collaborate with team to define art-related needs and help drive the design-related strategy and direction for Oppia.

If you are a beginner or experienced developer you can start by collaborating on creating high-quality lessons at scale. The Oppia codebase is open source, developed by a community of volunteers from all around the world who want to use their skills to make a difference.

If you want to start developing you can check Oppia project on git hub and help in building  features that enable students to learn effectively. For example highlight text while narrator read the story. Also, you can provide infrastructure to deliver lessons at scale and apply ML techniques to help Oppia respond better to students’ answers.

Moreover, you can contribute in local outreach and Lesson creation. Local Outreach volunteers host seminars, talk to schools, reach out to parents, and more in order to raise awareness about Oppia to local students and families. These volunteers also play a key role in telling Oppia team  how they  can make Oppia an even better resource for the students they work with. Also, they can help in translation, research and voice over.

Last but not least, if you are a teacher you can simply help in creating lessons. Currently, Oppia is focusing on  on basic mathematics, but intend to expand to other subjects in the future.

More information about what you can do for Oppia can be found here.

As an Outreachy intern, I am working with both local outreach team and developing team. I am doing work on quality assurance by testing the system with students, compiling their feedback  and doing research about their needs. Also, I suggest fixes and discuss with the team about  what  is the best way to apply them. In the near future, I am planning to get involved in simple tasks related to coding  as I am interested in learning Python and angular.

For me, it has been a great experience so far. I encourage anyone to dedicate part of their time  improving Oppia and serve Oppia’s mission.

Time I were stuck during my #Outreachy internship

 

Resource : blog.internshala.com

This post is supposed to be written one week  ago but I am writing it now. Sorry, that I am always late. At the beginning of the internship  I was struggling to  follow the schedule and finish things on time. Usually, when I plan to finish a task I just have  highlights,  I don’t focus on details,  but during my internship I am supposed to write all details in details.

My mentors are so professional and organized and I am doing my best to be organized like them and keep them updated with my work in  a professional way.

In the first two weeks I did 8 short term user studies where I tested the system with each student separately and asked them to do one lesson,  give their opinion and tell me once they get stuck so I take notes, report bugs and suggest fixing . I was surprised that students see things in a different way than we do. Sometimes things that intuitive  for me in dealing with a web application is something that they need to think a lot before doing it.

One of the challenges was explaining to parent what their children are  going to do during the study. All parents I contacted allow their children to participate expect one who thought that these studies would make his daughter distracted and confused between what she takes in schools and what she does with Opiia.

The main task in my third and fourth week  of internship is to write a detailed plan for the long term user study that I would be conducted with students in Palestine. Mentors provided me with resources to start with but it was hard to take care of all steps and scenarios. What  helped me a lot after I deliver the first draft was my  mentors questions bout what I would do to do something or how I expect these things can be measured….I have been updating the plan  accordingly with their notes and questions.

Providing  Oppia (The educational platform I work on) in Arabic to Palestinian students  is a challenge too. Arabic is the  native language and students of low social economic level usually go to public school where they don’t study English in a good way.  Sometimes very simple things take plenty of time. For example, we were translated ratio lesson to Arabic. The ratio which is written 5:4 is read five to four in English . Arabic is a right to left language, so when we mean  5:4 it should be written 4:5 to be read as five to four. We thought it would work just by change the CSS and set the direction to rtl (Right to left), but It did not. We did not find a way to do so and we noticed the same problem when using google translate. After several trials and long time searching we noticed that we can write ratios correctly in Arabic by adding a space between one of the numbers and the colon (:) . Even google translate don’t read ratios in the right direction in Arabic if there is no space. Here is the issue.

https://github.com/oppia/oppia/issues/8296

I believe, that learning and improving our skills are the main purpose of this internship. In order to learn we should try, do mistakes, read, and ask. Discussing with my mentors through emails or regular meetings always help me in solving confusions and problems.  I like that they contacted me with other people who work on Oppia  and are responsible about  answering my questions or fixing the bug.

If you don’t understand what is Oppia and what you can do to be part of the team, stay tuned for my next blog where I am going to  explain my project to  newcomers to Oppia.

If you want to know more about Outreachy and how to apply, please visit my blog about the process of applying to Outreachy.

 

 

 

 

 

Outreachy ! The Journey Just Started …

I first heard about Outrachy program in 2016 while I was a men-tee  at Mozilla organization during Techwomen program. I knew that Outreachy offers a paid internship for people who want to contribute to the open source. I loved the idea but I  I never did code contribution before  and I did not have enough skills to do so. I did not even give it a try.

In June, 2019 while I was attending the All hands event in Whistler-Canada, my friend Havi Hoffman (One of the most amazing Mozilla employees) mentioned the program to me and told me that she thought that it is a great program and encouraged me to apply and told me that  Princia; a Mozilla techspeaker and a very outstanding women  was previous Outreachy  intern . After Havi’s advice I considered visiting the website and know more about the program. And Guess what ! Contributing to open source  is not just about programing ! I was impressed by the number of open source projects that were Listed. The skills needed vary depending on the project requirements. Some projects need specific programing skills, some  need documentation and data analysis and others need graphic and design and so on. 

Applying to Oureachy is of two stages. Stage one requires filling initial application that contains questions about applicant’s learning environment and about discrimination they face in their work environment  at their countries. The second stage requires candidates who pass the initial phase to contribute to one or more open source projects that are listed in the Outreachy website. outreachy.org

After spending enough time reading projects description and their requirements I have decided to contribute to two amazing projects. One is called Librehealth in  which I contributed in improving documentation and to fix some  bugs in the UI, it was my first time to do pull request and do code contribution to an open source project. The second project is Oppia, which is great project that aim to provide students with quality education regardless of where they are or what traditional resources they have access to. My contributions were simple that I did not expect to be selected, but I really learned a lot from the contribution period. The surprise was that I got selected for both of the projects that I have applied for and unfortunately I had to pick just one project. I picked Oppia because I am  interested in applying technology to improve education,  I really enjoy working with students and I want to help in performing researches and studies that will improve Oppia platform.

More than two weeks of the internship have passed, I am satisfied with what I  do and I hope that I can make the most of such great opportunity. I really encourage anyone who is looking for opportunity to improve their careers and  contribute to the great open source projects to check out Outreachy and never hesitate to apply .  Please, reach out to me at yamama.shakaa@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns related to Outreachy applying process.

My next blog is going to be about time I were stuck during my internship. Stay tuned….

 

 

NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World

In April, 2019, I was so lucky to participate as a mentor in NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World. Teams spent three days working on an applications that solve problems in the Arab world. The problems were related to several fields such as health, education, refugees, food-waste and others.

Participants used trending technologies like AI, machine learning, augmented reality to solve  problems. The result was many amazing projects that proves how technology is so important in improving the world and make it a better place.

The first day was started by several lightening talks that introduced participants to trending technologies and skills that help them during the hackathon like augmented reality, AI with Watson APIs , Pitching , ideation and others. I was honored to represent Mozilla techspeakers and gave a talk about webXR API.

The diversity of the participants and mentors was impressing, the hackathon brought more than 120 participants from over 50 countries in one place. Participants were carefully selected depending on their background and skills and the female participation was so distinctive.

Brian chuk and I were co- mentors for a team of 6 amazing students, each was interested in specific fields.

The team was able to come up with a business plan, marketing strategy and a working prototype for a web application that helps coordinate donations to people in need in times of crisis. Also, they practiced hard to pitch the idea in-front of professional judges with long experience in different fields.

Our team was diverse in terms of specialization and nationalities. Mariam from UAE is a details oriented person with outstanding quite character and artistic sense. Danielle from Australia and Aymen from from Algeria were distinguished programmers they were able to spent day and night working on coding. Farouk from Egypt is a future business man he is so interested in doing marketing researches and he was able to look for any information related to money. Omarn Maktabi from Syria and Omar Hafez from Egypt were interested in user experience and front end developing they were responsible about providing the best design and experience to our project’s users .

It was so fun working with such amazing team. All were eager to learn and excited while working. The team was under pressure while practicing the pitching presentation in the last day but we still were able to keep our sense of humor and positivity, We did so good and were able to be the third place winner. 😀

The pitching presentations of all teams were so interesting and professional. It was the first time for me to attend a pitching for many teams without feeling bored . The ideas, the applications, the way of presenting all were so professional and pleasant .

I believe that after this experience each participant grow professionally and personally by expanding their network of professionals, introducing to new cultures and learning new tech and soft skills.

Moreover, the event was so well organized. It is clear that the organizers worked so hard and payed attention to all details to make it such amazing experience . Everything was of high quality; the food, the venue, the welcoming in the airport, the accommodation. At the begining of each day we had a mentor meeting  so organizers make ensure that all is going well and solve any problem that may happened. Literally everything was perfect !

During my way to Abu dhabi from Queen Alia international airport I faced a problem in my passport and the employee did not allow me to check in for a problem in my Arabic name .  My problem got solved immediately once I got contacted with  Prof Sanaa Odeh who connected me to the travel agency. I mentioned this as an example of taking care of all big and small details.

Huge thanks to all organizers who brought this kind of event to the Arab world and who have been committed to organize one annually since 2011.

Finally, I believe that this hackathon has a long term positive impact on each participant. I kindly ask all tech companies to support it even by encouraging their employees to participate or by providing organizers with any kind of support they need to bring creative, innovative students from all around the world.

For more information please check https://nyuad.nyu.edu/en/events/2019/april/nyuad-hackathon-2019.html

Also, this twitter hashtag shows a lot about of how unique and fun this experience was. #NYUADHACK

Stay tuned for 2020 hackathon and contact nyuad.hackathon@nyu.edu for any further information.

My First Mozilla Techspeaker Meetup & My First Visit To Paris

I was invited to attend Mozilla Techspeaker meetup this year in Paris.
The event took place in Mozilla Paris office on 15,16 th September 2018. The purpose of this event is to gather active tech speakers in order to get introduced to each others, attend workshops and get advises about conference speaking ways and strategies from global expert coaches.
The event was wonderful, all participants  delivered a technical talks. All talks were so useful and introduced us to Mozilla’s projects, activities and products . We learned a lot from listening to each others.

I delivered a 7 minutes talk  about Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities in Education. During the talk, I presented a small example I built using (A-frame) to introduce students to Egypt pyramids through a web VR audio tour.

code on github

The coaches feedback was so helpful . They gave their opinion in a positive smart way that help us a lot to improve ourselves and our public speaking skills.
Attending other Tech speakers talks and discussed with them the topic and the coaches opinion was the best part of the event.
All tech speakers are positive and passionate about Mozilla and all were professional in their own way. There is something new I learned from each one of them.
Also, we got the opportunity to attend several workshops about Firefox reality on go , IOT , Rust and web Assembly.


Furthermore, I enjoyed visiting Paris, and going for a tour in the city with those amazing people. We visited  the  National Library, Bank of France, the Stock Exchange, la Place des Victoires, the Ministry of Culture,  the Palais-Royal and the Louvre.


I am grateful that I was able to have this amazing weekend in Paris with the best people anyone can wish for . Thanks to everyone organized and worked hard to make it that success.

My First-Time Speaking At a Conference. #MozTechSpeakers

I’m honored to graduate from Mozilla tech speaker winter course this year. I’m very thankful to get the chance to join this great network of professionals and good people. The best topic I found myself fit to speak about is  A-frame; which is a framework that provides an easy way to create web virtual reality content. So, virtual reality could be open, connected, instant and popular as much as the web and could be easily  used in many fields.

My first workshop as a Techspeaker was at my city Nablus, I gave a 5 hours workshop about webVR and A-frame for schools students whose age between 14-16. I  use the aframe.io/schools slides, we spend the time applying the example and seeing the rsult using the cardboard. The good thing that I introduce the students to totally new technology. Four of them just seen VR content for the first time in the workshop. They were very engaged and they created simple beautiful example.

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My second experience as a techspeaker was giving a talk about Aframe in ARABWIC conference (Arab women in computig  5TH annual conference) which was held in AUB (The American University of Beirut).I was so glad to be supported  by Mozilla to attend this great conference. And this is the first time for me to be a speaker at  a conference. I gave a talk about webVR and Aframe. Even there were another 4 talks at the same time many attendees were interested in my workshop. I prepared well and I watched Srushitika talk about Aframe and this helped me a lot. I used her slides too. I prepared myself to many Q & A but I haven’t been asked most of the questions I pridected.

I started the session  by asking the attendees those questions :what is the VR ?  who has ever tried  a VR experience? And I asked them about the VR glasses ? if they think creating VR  content is easy or not ? if they ever created a VR  contetnt? If they think it is easy to create a VR content ? Then I presented the slides explaining webVR and why it is important and what is the friction of the current VR ecosystem. Then, I talked about  how it is easy to integrate javascript with aframe. After that, I went to glitch and the visual tool. At the end I mentioned all the resources I know about Aframe.

One of the attendees was an educational method master student she told me that she created her own card board at  home by using plastic and water. Before the conference I met an indian girls who live in Qatar, her name is Wafa  while we were discussing the conference  she told me that she was so excited about the virtual reality session and I was like yaay ! this is my workshop ! 😀

The session was around one hour, I tried to engage the audience, I was feeling inside that I’m nervous but in general I was happy when I finished. I feel I did good.

What makes me happy more, that after finishing many attendees waiting for me to ask me details about  the topic, they took pictures with me and ensured that they have my contact info. It was amazing I feel like popular.

One of the attendee told me directly that he liked the session and it is the best talk he attended till now.

Two teachers  asked me about more real applied educational examples on VR.

Furthermore, after one day of the session  a girl came to me to told me that she loved my talk and she felt that I was very confident while I was talking ! and I was like me ! confident !!!! hahahaha this shows that the nervousness I felt inside wasn’t shown to the audience which is perfect 😀 I was so happy that I asked her to say what she said again and I recorded it. And then I regretted not recording the other good feedback I got. Next time will do.

Till now, many attendees asked me for the slides of my talk.

Unfortunately, it was hard to record the full session of me talking my friend record a very short video for me.

The last day of the conference there were a hackathon organized by the amazing techwomen fellow – Mariam Haydar-  for school girls. The teams were competed  to create a mobile application to solve a community problem in their country. I helped in mentoring the teams. They built the mobile application using MIT app inventor  .

In addition, I gave a talk instead of my fried Ayah Soufan, because she couldn’t make it to Lebanon because of an unexpected problem in her passport. The talk was about the achievement of Arabwic Palestine chapter I  gave a formal presentation  for 5 minutes. 

Also, I attended many other workshops about several trending topics in technology  like machine learning and web progressive app. One of the best session I attended was a session called I’m remarkable, It was about giving us a way to increase our self confidence by listing things that we see ourselves remarkable at and saying them out-loud in front of the audience. And yes, I’m remarkable because of many things 😀

I believe that networking and getting introduce to new people is the best part of the conferences.

What I learned from my little experience as a Mozilla tech speaker is that if you prepared well you will do good. It is very important to believe, that your audience want you to do good and that your content is valuable  and interesting and you are good enough to give the best presentation. Try to be perfect but don’t worry a lot about it, being good is enough.

Finally, thanks  to Mozilla for supporting me going to this conference, thanks to Arabwic for organizing such great conference, and thanks to AUB for hosting us. I enjoyed each moment I spent in Lebanon and I loved everything there, the place, the people and the food.  ❤

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Best of #Techwomen16

In 2016 , I was lucky  to be part of Techwomen Program .  TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. department of state’s bureau of educational and cultural affairs, the initiative  aims to empower the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by providing them the  opportunity to live in silicon valley ; -the home of the global technology in the world – , for few weeks  . Please check techwomen website to know more about this great program.

As a Techwomen16 emerging leader , I passed through many new experiences , I worked for  three weeks at the great Mozilla , I got introduced to many new people and I visited many new places ! that was awesome !

bridge

We spent 5 weeks in the USA ,  four awesome weeks in silicon valley ,San Francisco ,  and 1 week in the capital of the state ! yess we visited Washington DC !!

Honestly , each day of the program was very special for me.  Even  it is hard to find words that express how much this experience was special and useful personally and professionally ,  I’ll try my best to mention the best of of it .

In addition to the mentor-ship program  we had two type of events ; cultural and official events. The official events were organized by the awesome Techwomen team and the cultural events were organized by the amazing volunteers mentors who dedicated themselves to introduce us to the best places in the silicon valley and in Washington DC  during weekends and in the evening after the mentorship day.

At the first week  of the program we visited many  high tech companies  to attend several sessions . We started with twitter to perform the cultural kick off  . As twitter is my best social media network it was extraordinary for me at that time to be in  Twitter headquarter ! but after few days it becomes normal to visit this kind of companies , we have Techwomen permit sir  😄

The cultural kick off event was amazing ,the place was colorful ; all Techwomen ladies were stunning and shining wearing their traditional dresses.  Each team represented their  country  by giving interesting information about it  and  performing traditional  dance and songs in a very   creative way.

c3

As a part of the program , we were  asked to write an action plan to solve a problem in our home country . It was very valuable to introduce to the problems and the solutions of different countries  and I found out that many of our problems are in common so we could get benefit from some solution and apply it in our own situation.

workshop

In the  next four  days we visited many global companies like Symantic , Yahoo , Sun run ,LinkedIn  to attend  sessions about  the program orientation and  workshops to get  prepared to work on our action plan.

semntic

During the program we attended  several  talks and panels at linked in ,yahoo, Instagram  all of them were given by  very inspiring and outstanding women . They talked about their professional and personal experience and gave us tips to pass through life successfully .

Women in Tech conference. Department of State and luncheon. Washington, D.C., Thursday, October 13, 2016.

One of the best official event was a voluntary day , all of us should have participated in an activity to give back to the community in the bay area,  we had many options like help in building solar panel , cooking for elders and others , I chose to help in buildng an educational Tall Ship . It was beautiful and tiring activity at the same time .  I worked with seniors who dedicate themselves to improve the education by building this ship for students .It was interesting and inspiring to see seniors spending  their time in helping their community and improving their selves. I was really impressed by their passion , hard work and dedication.

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In the second week we started our mentorship and I was a mentee at Mozilla ! Mozilla was amazing !I was lucky to have two amazing mentors at Mozilla ,  Maria Papova and Rina johnson . I spent most of the time with the lovely Maria, she was amazing and taught me a lot  . Even I spent small amount of time with Rina  the discussion I had with her and the information I got  were very valuable ; we talked a lot about the IOT  (internet of things ) and the security issues related to them and how Mozilla is trying to solve these issues.

mozilla

With Maria , I was shown how to start a design sprint for a new  Mozilla’s product  , and how to make a competitors research  to get benefit from the competitor’s products features and improve it and avoid their mistakes.   I attended many meetings with the product team , and watched  how they take decision in each step of the process .

In addition , me and the Els who were mentored  at Mozilla had many useful workshops and meetings with inspiring people who work at Mozilla . we discussed many issues about education , women , career path , self improvement , Mozilla product . We got introduce to many Mozilla initiatives such us Mozilla clubs , Mozilla tech speakers , we know more about how Mozilla support developers and provide tools and tutorials to help them . Thanks to my dears Larissa and Liz .

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I was surprised about the time and effort the Mozillians have done to create products that are  accessible for everyone in the world even in poor countries who does not have high speed internet and high performance devices.

What make Mozilla more amazing was  my colleague Chaioma , Mahina   Estella and Shahodat . It was amazing working with them . we spent priceless time during   lunch  break  talking about different interesting issues and sharing our cultures with Maria . I feel like I already visited Tajikistan, Nigeria , Cameron and Bulgaria .

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The great Mozilla :

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Cultural Events

During Techwomen program we were always busy doing something new even during  weekends and  after   the mentorship day . We were lucky to have several special cultural mentors who helped us spend amazing time introducing us  to the most important places and exciting  activities in the bay area and in Washington DC .  Hicking near the ocean ,biking and kayaking at the shorline lake ,the angel island , Stanford  university visit , The giants game , Yusimiti park trip , off the grid picnic , the golden gate hiking ,  the explorotorium . We spend memorable time there !

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All cultral events was amazing and informative but  the best for me was watching the giants  game (the most popular baseball team in San fransisco )  at a real very big stadium with huge number of audience and  big screens to show them cheering and dancing  !  it was the first time for me to go to a stadium and attend a game , I spent 4 amazing hours eating popcorn , sandwiches , cheering the giants and shouting  even though  I have not understood the baseball game till now 😀

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Our Trip to Yosemiti  National Park was also very special , Marwa , Ghadeer , Uri ,Elena and I went there with the two amazing mentors Erin and Claudia , it took us around 5 hours to arrive but it worths it  ! Erin drive most of the time ! and we were talking all the way ! we were a very diverse companion , Erine is american , Marwa , Ghadeer and I are palestenian , Claudia is Maxican , Uri from south Africa and Elina from Uzbekestan !  we talked about life , study , work ,culture , fashion , generation , studying  ….We talked a lot and laughed a lot !

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Many thanks go to Erine , Diane , Heather , Molly , Andria , Rashma , meryan , Jeniffer , Cloudia ,and everyone   !

Furthermore , I was lucky to have cute relatives who live in the bay area , Mira and Ghazi   added a very special taste to my visit , I spent  very interesting time with them .They  took me to many places in the bay area , we went to the ferry building , the fishermen wharf ,California academic of science , berkly university ,Japanese park , china town and others. Besides , I  tried  several new things  with them ;  booba(kind of a very strange tea with something like jelly balls in it ) ,   n out Burger  (The most popular burger series in California ) , rode the cable car  (the symbol of Sanfransisco and it  is a manually operated cable car ) ,ate the most delicious Chinese food in a very traditional Chinese restaurant after waited our turn  for 15 minutes as it was full  ,watched old chinees ladies wearing I ❤ SF T-shirts dancing a beautiful traditional dance  .

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Cultural Activities :

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Washington Dc

At the last week of the program we went to Washington Dc , we stayed in a hotel which is near the national mall , where we could easily reach many iconic places in the capital of the state . at the first night in Washington DC we played a game called Scavenger hunt  . We were divided into teams of five  The game  has many listed places where each team should seek and find all of them in order to win . We use google map to arrive to  Washington monument ,Albert Einstein memorial, Korean war veterans Memorial ,Martin Luther King,  Roosevelt Memorial and Lincoln Memorial  .

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The two next days we visited Eisenhower Executive office which is considered part of the white house we attended several discussion panels  there,  led by outstanding women . The panels addressed several topics such as tech entrepreneurship ,tech inclusion and many other topics related to women and education .

The next two days we attended sessions in the  department of state the sessions were by many  people who work there  , such as Catherine Russell – U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues – and Mary Ellen Weber – Consultant with Stellar Technologies and former NASA astronaut- and others .

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At the end of the day we got Techwomen certificate and guess what !!!  it was 14th Octobre and it is  my birthday ! when our Areezo said my name she said something like  “This name is very special , congrats to the birthday  girl and mentioned my name ” I was so much surprised ! how she got to know my birthday ! thanks to my amazing mentor Maria for organizing this ! and after this  all ladies started singing Happy birthday to me !  Actually it was really unexpected surprise and it was awesome to have people celebrate me in the state department  .

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 As my birthday is a very important occasion and luckily I were surrounded by great caring  people I had another birthday at night in the hotel organized by the lovelies Erin , Marwa and Ghadeer . I’m so much thankful 🙂

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and I got a great beautiful gifts, from Diane and Erine ❤  , which is a paint that represents  Techwomen ladies in the cultural kick of .

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The last day in Washington , we  visited the white house , the capitol building and Washington museums and parks . what is special about Washington is that it has a lot of special and huge museums and you can visit all of them for free .

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Unfortunately, I only had time to visit two museums ; national air and space museum and the national natural history museum which is the most visited natural history museum in the world, and the most visited museum (of any type) in North America.

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At the end of the last day we had the farewell party … we said good bye to the amazing Techwomen team , to the mentors and to the amazing Els ..  till we meet again 🙂

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Washington Dc:

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For me , Techwomen was a really life changing experience , I achieved things that is impossible to be achieved without it and learned things that need many years and travels  to be learned . I got improved personally and professionally , I learned priceless new things and  I enrich my network a lot . Because of Techwomen I now  have  friends  in many places on this earth from different cultures , religions and backgrounds , I  realized that  the world is so much diverse and open  and even that sometimes we are so much different we could be so much a like !

Finally , thanks a lot to everyone who make this program  such success and I strongly recommend all ladies who are illegible not to hesitate to apply  for the next rounds of Techwomen which I hope that it will last forever !  Please let me know if you need any help in applying , you can contact me at yamama.shakaa@gmail.com