Meet the two young ambitious JordanianTechGirl alumni Maram Haider Abu Hussein and Rasha Motasim Khateeb, whom applied for a small grant from the US embassy to host a Space App competition in Jordan and Won! For the first time in Jordan, TechGirls with the support of TechWomen launched the Space App. Competition.
Arab Woman Platform had the pleasure to speak to the young girls and find out more about the competition,
Growing up were you always tech savvy?
Maram: Absolutely! That’s the main reason why I want to host the first International Space Apps Challenge in Jordan. I participated in many programming classes & camps, 3D printing classes, formula1 cars designing competitions and scientific-tech competitions and that helped in my selection to be a part of TechGirls program; which is a summer exchange program in the USA that focuses on having more girls in the field of technology.
Rasha: I’ve been passionate about technology since the 4th grade. It’s when I started to take courses in programming languages I like. Then I started to develop short videos, apps and games. I participated in Technovation then in TechGirls, those two once in a lifetime opportunities made me love technology even more and inspired me into majoring in computer science as a bachelor’s degree.
Sometimes some people might find it unconventional for girls to choose Tech. as a career choice, did you face such opposition?
Actually yes that’s true, so many people consider technology and programming as if it is only meant for guys especially in college majors. It’s because in Jordan, most of the families want their kids to grow up to be a doctor or an engineer and unfortunately a few want an entrepreneur. We have so many doctors and engineers that a great amount can’t find jobs nowadays. Therefore, we want to study something we’re passionate about and in the same time we can help others and lead them into the right path using modern technology. Our parents have been supportive and are giving us the free choice to study whatever we want, but unfortunately other parents don’t really do the same.
Tell us about the competition?
The first local Jordan Space apps challenge is a technology development marathon that draws on the talents and initiative of bright minded volunteers – developers, engineers, technologists, designers, and anyone with a passion and desire to have an immediate impact on the world. It’s open to anyone who has a passion for making a difference and is focused on developing real solutions to global challenges by the end of the event. This event is part of a larger process of defining challenges relevant to earth and space, intensively working to prototype solutions over the course of those 3 days, and subsequently refining and implementing the most promising prototypes.
What motivated you to seek a grant to host the Space app competition?
We heard about the Space Apps event from a NASA digital strategist in a meeting in the TechGirls program. And when we went back home, me and Rasha were keen to bring this amazing event for the first time to Jordan. We started by filling forms to get accepted as local leads and we got accepted, then we asked the US embassy for help. We applied for the small grants program in order to make this event happen and we got it. Then one thing lead to another and finally excited to see it all come to life!
What kind of impact you hope to achieve from it?
We are hoping to inspire others into being entrepreneurs and help their community in the best way possible. This event will broaden the participant’s minds and change their way of thinking. It will make them come up with new ideas that will help make the world a better place to live in. Because we don’t need doctors and engineers anymore, we need innovators.
What are your future dreams and goals?
Maram: I’m trying to finish my senior year with a high grade report . Then I’m thinking about having a gap semester to have the international tests universities in USA, UK and Canada require hoping I can get a scholarship either in Jordan or in any of the countries mentioned.
After graduating I’m thinking about working in a public company so I can get enough experience to establish my own one.—I already do know a lot of things about entrepreneurship and I’m really interested in knowing more.
Rasha: As a short term goal, I’m trying to get a scholarship into Hartford and finish my bachelor’s degree in the United States. As for a long term goal, I want to start an NGO where we teach orphans and unfortunate kids technology in an enjoyable way for free. It’s because those kids go to school, memorize books and get back. And that will not prepare them for the future. But inspiring them using modern technology will help them so much for the future.
In your opinion how can young girls use technology to better themselves and those around them?
They can create apps to solve problems that we face every day (Which is the purpose of the Space Apps Event). They can learn new programming languages to develop software and make them able to innovate things that will make life easier.
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