The importance of STEM outreach programmes
Guest post by Hamda Safia Miyir
👋🏾 Salaam, we are Somalis in Tech and welcome to our monthly newsletter. Each month we’ll bring you the latest from the community, tech news and a community Q&A.
🗓 Fintech for Good Grand Finale
Ku soo dhawaada (welcome). We’d like to welcome you to our Fintech for Good Hackathon Grand Finale.
Watch as participating teams come together to pitch us their final product.
🔗 Register here so you’ve got the event saved in your calendar 🐪
🗓 Sunday 6th November
⏰ 7pm GMT
📌 Introducing our job referral sheet
This all came about from Ahmed Mahdi so who better to explain what it is?
The recent meet-up (which was amazing btw! ) got me thinking about creating a referrals board. In the time I’ve been on here I’ve seen lots of people offering referrals but due to us only having access to 3 months as far as I know of message history it can be hard to find those offers, especially if you’re interested in applying for a particular company rather than generally.
A lot of people in here [Slack community] are early career and it is a million times easier to get a shot at an interview with a company if you’ve been referred. Actually the same goes for getting a shot at FAANG companies too for all levels. So overall, I think it’ll be useful for the community. I’ve started the “board” (it’s actually just an excel sheet 😭) and linked it below
The sheet is fully editable so feel free to add yourself. If you’re on the lookout for a new role and see a community member working there, do reach out because life is easier with a referral.
There’s also a lesson here somewhere, the community belongs to us all so if you’ve got an initiative that’ll benefit others or a suggestion post it in Slack and hopefully others will run with it.
The importance of STEM outreach programmes
Guest post by Hamda Safia. Hamda is a STEM ambassador and Lead services specialist in the energy sector.
STEM is an educational method for enhancing the learning of those that combine science, engineering, technology, and mathematics. With the use of STEM learning, students have the opportunity to develop their creativity, problem solving skills, critical thinking and many other valuable skills. Despite the amazing outcome of being exposed to STEM, the percentage of black people in these fields is still quite low. This could be due to lack of representation, lack of resources in schools, digital poverty to name a few.
My STEM story
Having a role model or someone to look up to for guidance is a value that many people cherish. As children enter the last quarter of their formative years, they become curious and have sponge-like mentalities which helps them explore any subjects in a practical manner.
Of course, it’s needless to say, coming from a Somali household, our parents’ dream is for us to become successful professionals that can have an impact on the world.
However, growing up, I’ve never had the opportunity to marry those two points in school; having a role model and being eager and excited to learn. At home, my dad would push me and my sisters to be the best version of ourselves. Him being an engineer by trade, his love for Maths (like most ethnic dads) was unmatched. In school, we all had our favourite teacher - mine had the ability to teach this especially disliked subject with such passion that it had such an influence on my view of it. Failing and trying again whilst being encouraged to not give up had me secretly loving the subject. I would find myself walking towards the class with my friends faking a hatred towards it but deep down sighing with relief to have a subject and teacher I understand. This was only one of a few (yes, a few!) teachers that I encountered who’s passion for a subject would ooze through their teaching.
Surround yourself with likeminded people
As I then transitioned to higher education to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering, I would slowly see the importance of having mentors and role models in these subjects. There would be times I would try to talk myself out of possible job prospectuses because it’s “too hard” or “not a place for women” but overtime my passion would overrule those thoughts. I surrounded myself with likeminded people to stay focused and continued loving Maths and Engineering. Having said that, only at this stage of my life did I marry those points up - having a role model and being eager and excited to learn.
Why I wanted to get involved
Lack of representation and passionate professionals in my field was the reason I would doubt myself in many stages of my career. Imposter Syndrome was something I experienced a lot and still do now to some extent. However, having the opportunity to host STEM events to empower children, talk about my career openly, run engineering events with Arduinos and RaspberryPis, and mentor girls who are curious about these subjects - these aspects empower me in a way I could never imagine. Witnessing the drive and excitement in their eyes when they practise the art of problem solving, even when producing the simplest of codes, is such a priceless experience.
Being able to be myself, authentically and unapologetically, shows young women that Engineering and Maths is not a man’s world, but anyone’s world. Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are such practical subjects, everywhere and in our everyday lives. What do people say.. fear the unknown? - let’s try to display our professions to remove the fear. Volunteer for a careers event at your local secondary school, contribute to your nearest youth club and run a coding class, offer to mentor students applying for university. Every little exposure can go a very long way.
How to get involved
There are existing initiatives that you can volunteer for. Here are a few useful links that can help with your engagement:
Alternatively, you can also reach out to your HR department and see if your workplace is already running STEM outreach initiatives. If they don’t, why not start one yourself?
For Somalis in Tech, we hope to create our own community outreach in the near future. If this is something you might be interested in, please let me know!
For more, connect with Hamda Safia on Linkedin
Geed walbo xaabo gubtaa way hoostaal
— There’s enough firewood under every tree to burn it down
via Mohamed Noor
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