NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World

Earlier this year, 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 the 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 still we were able to keep our sense of humor and positivity, and 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 .

Despite the winners or the success of the projects, 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  every details to make it such amazing experience . Everything was of high quality, the food, the venue, the welcoming in the airport, the accommodation, the meetings in the beginning of each day to ensure that all is going well. 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 , I just called Prof Sanaa Odeh  and she immediately worked with the travel agency on solving it.

Huge thanks to all organizers specially prof Dr. Sanaa Odeh who brought this kind of event to the arab world and who has 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.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.  ❤

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

????????????

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 .

20161005_094956

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 .

lunch

The great Mozilla :

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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 !

angle-island

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 😀

20160928_193955

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 !

yusimiti

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  .

20160926_223140

Cultural Activities :

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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  .

w3

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 .

asronut

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  .

c

 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 🙂

birthday5

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

paint

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 .

white-house

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.

w17

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 🙂

bye3

Washington Dc:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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