Silicon Valley Tech Leaders mentor Nigerian women working in STEM

The mentoring sessions will help young women working in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Nigeria

The event which held on Tuesday, March 21, 2018 at the Cedar STEM & Entrepreneurship Hub, Lonadek Nigeria Limited, Yaba, Lagos, was part of the TechWomen program which runs through Sunday, March 18 to Friday, March 23, 2018 in Lagos and Abuja, supported by United States Consulate General, Lagos.

They represent organisations as diverse as Twitter, LinkedIn, Netflix, Mozilla, Autodesk, WomenCollegeTech, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Juniper Networks, as well as Fairrer Samani Group, Northgate Environmental Management, Jessica Dickinson Goodman Consulting, and the Institute of International Education.

Members of the delegation include Ms. Larissa Shapiro, Head of Mozilla’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Division, and Twitter’s Senior Software Engineer, Ms. Elizabeth Deng. Ms. Deng, a computer science graduate of the University of Southern California co-organised “Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program” for the micro-blogging website in 2017.

Dr. Leedjia Svec, Director WomenCollegeTech and former Director of Programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, alongside Ms. Maile Smith, Principal Geologist/ Chief Operating Officer at Northgate Environmental Management, are also part of the delegation. During the week-long program, the delegation is expected to visit non-governmental organisations, private and public enterprises, universities, schools, tech incubators and innovation hubs to expand networks of women in STEM teaching and learning in Nigeria.

In his opening remarks, F. John Bray Remarks, U.S. Consul General, said: "The American consulate is pleased to sponsor this series of seminars and training by leading women technology leaders from Nigeria and the United States who are actively advocating for women in science, engineering, and technology."

'Here’s the blunt truth: without women’s inclusive participation, any gains in economic growth and development, as well as advances in science and technology would be lopsided and unsustainable. Therefore, it is critical that women’s voices, at all levels, find representation in collaborative solutions that will have an impact on them.'

'The U.S. government is convinced that when barriers to women’s full participation in STEM fields are removed, women do better, families do better, countries do better, and the world does better. Whether at home or abroad, promoting women in STEM fields is a top priority of the U.S. Government,' he concluded.

Julian Ifeanyi Etuokwu Oludumila, one of the participants, said the program opened her eyes to see beyond volunteering and how networking can impact her teachings on technology.

"Leveraging on technology will give me over 100 percent increase to my customers and give them the feasibility they also want," Oludumila, a small business marketing coach said.

Ibilola Amao, the Principal Consultant, Lonadek Oil and Gas, said women in tech is an integral and important aspect of women's lives.

She encouraged women to be deliberate, supportive and see each other as collaborators and not competitors in STEM-oriented approach.

In 2017,  W. Stuart Symington, US Ambassador to Nigeria, had pledged the U.S. government’s support for additional projects that might expand the use of technology in Nigeria when he opened the American Space in Yaba, co-hosted by Co-Creation Hub (CCHUB).

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