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Rwandan Girls Get Connected to the “STEM” at U.S. Embassy Girls Tech Fair

Press Release

February 6, 2014
A/S Ryan at the U.S. Embassy Girls Tech Fair (U.S. Embassy Photo)

A/S Ryan at the U.S. Embassy Girls Tech Fair (U.S. Embassy Photo)

Rwandan girls at U.S. Embassy Girls Tech Fair (U.S. Embassy Photo)

Rwandan girls at U.S. Embassy Girls Tech Fair (U.S. Embassy Photo)

Rwandan Girls Get Connected to the “STEM” at U.S. Embassy Girls Tech Fair

Kigali – Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan joined more than 130 Rwandan girls at the U.S. Embassy’s inaugural Girls Tech Fair held at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali Feb. 5. Empowering women and girls, especially to enter the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields, is a top priority for both the U.S. and Rwandan governments.

“You represent some of the brightest minds that are aiming at the brightest stars in the sky. Success in the current world economy will depend on ingenuity, creativity and hard work. I know you’re all capable of all of those things,” Assistant Secretary Ryan said.

And those priorities can often be better addressed when government officials tap the vast resources of the private sector through public/private partnerships. Assistant Secretary Ryan joined a delegation of 40 women technology mentors from the U.S. Department of State’s TechWomen exchange program, which brings women in the technology and STEM fields from Africa and the Middle East to the United States and pairs them with mentors from some of Silicon Valley’s top technology firms.

The Girls’ Tech Fair saw girls from 30 Rwandan secondary schools receive valuable, inspirational one-on-one time with some of Silicon Valley’s top women business people. Women representatives from companies like Twitter, Juniper Networks, Ericsson, Symantec Corporation and others – most of whom paid their own way to Kigali – shared their experiences, advice and motivations for becoming some of the top movers in the STEM and Information and Communications Technology, or ICT, fields. The Public Affairs Section at Embassy Kigali set up technology and experiment stations for the Rwandan girls to test their theories and see that STEM is more than a buzzword. Girls used Stomp Rockets with improvised range finders to experiment with angles and trigonometry. Snap Circuits educational toys showed the girls how trial and error can make electrons flow, and U.S. Embassy iPads loaded with the latest apps let girls use their imaginations to determine which new programs they could write in the coming years.

Girls in attendance will know how important it is as well. Rwandan TechWomen Emerging Leader alumna Emma Marie Ndoringoma with the Promolec company noted the girls in attendance received effective advice and perspective that can help young people in an emerging economy take the steps needed to become successful. 

“These Rwandan girls got to learn the lessons and inspiration these successful American TechWomen wish they had learned early in their careers,” she said.

Girls who are interested in STEM studies can visit the U.S. Embassy Information Resource Center and learn more about technology.