Letter to my Intern… Hey Girl…

Hey Cutiee Girl,

I am writing this to share my pleasure in working with you. This was really a very nice experience.  It was a great pleasure to answer all your queries whether related to research or career guidance. I always mentored you and tried to help you understand all the different perspectives of life. You are such an amazing, hard-working, self-motivated girl. I know I couldn’t give you much time as I was busy with other projects, still, I tried my best to help you learn a lot and gather the skills for building a nice project. Your internship is ending now but our relationship will not end here.

I know being an ambitious girl from a small place, you would have faced many problems in your life and I know you have handled them bravely. If I say: I wish you have a smooth life further and achieve your dreams, I know I will be lying to you and also to myself. Because I know being a girl you will have to struggle hard to take every single step towards your dream. But I can surely say, I will always be there for you whatever is the time or condition. I will help you to find a smooth solution for the zigzag-like hard problems coming your way. Someone once said to me: “I am a keyboard away, so always feel free to ping me” and that day I really felt the world is small, at least all the people I care and I need are close to me. Today I am saying to you that I will always be just a keyboard away. Feel free to share everything with me, your successes, your failures, your dreams, your goals, and even the small footsteps you take towards hitting the flags on your big dreams.

Never think that you cannot achieve something because as I know you, being such a hard-working, dedicated girl, you can achieve whatever you want to. I will still suggest you few things what I feel, always remember parents are not so proud of us when we earn big money but they are always proud of us if we are a good human being and they will always be happy to see us happy. And I also wish you always stay happy. I hope you never have a single tear in your eyes as you deserve to be a happy person, just go for it. I wish you get all the success and whatever that success means to you.  I am sure you will write down your goals and will make a path towards them.

You are a nice, soft-hearted, kind person and this one thing always made me have a strong personal bond with you. I hope in future you will also come forward to help and guide other girls struggling through their paths.

God bless you and always keep you happy. The memories with you will always be a part of my happy-days diary at IIT Ropar.

Why you should take an extra step to help others?: An Interview

In life, we see some people take an extra step to help others. I met many such amazing girls who are trying their best to spread awareness about the technologies.  People are always curious to know what motivates them to do the same, so, I collected interviews based on the following questions:

(1) What is your contribution to the community?

(2) What motivates you to do this?

(3) Why would you like to suggest that students should organize such events?

FotoJet

Maybe their views will motivate you to take an extra mile and help others. Read further to know that.


(1) A couple of things here. I have been an active part of the organizing circle in college. I was the head of the technical festival in our college. We tried new things to increase the participation from women in hackathons, and those actually worked. I also organized a summer school in 2016 for students from lower economic backgrounds. For one month, we called them to our college, taught them computers, math, science, communication skills etc. All of them went back with a lot of learning. I am also a co-founder of a startup, Leocart.com. It is an e-commerce website which is focused on providing a larger market for women entrepreneurs and artisans from all over the country, bringing the buyers unique handicraft and handloom products. As a part of this, we teach women in rural areas how to use the internet to upload their products and control their business. So there’s a lot of learning for everyone in different communities.

(2) In the summer school, we organized, one of the girls came up to me and said, “didi, mujhe aapke tarah mobile engineer ban na hai bade hokar”, and that was one of the most genuine things I had ever heard. Knowing that I am able to make even the tiniest difference in someone’s life is motivation enough. But in addition to this satisfaction, I have been lucky to have developed a vast network of people who are motivated to bring about a change in the society and enrich technical skills.

(3) Organising events helps you develop your personality, communication skills, network, and other soft skills. Honestly, It doesn’t matter however amazing you are in your academics unless you can talk to people and collaborate. You need to be a team player and a leader, and organizing these events helps you become one. These skills make you a very desirable candidate in interviews and give an upper edge. You learn how to handle different situations, and the experience from all this is irreplaceable.

-By Vahini Ummalaneni
Google WTM Scholar


(A) From imparting my knowledge on various fields, to helping others take their skills up a notch, I have been a part of a number of community-based initiatives. Being the Director of Women Who Code Delhi, I have organized a 24-hour hackathon, a number of informative sessions on varied topics in Computer Science, and a few mentoring sessions for young girls.

(B) In my opinion, life is not just about living for yourself but giving back as well. Apart from altruistic intentions, my motivation to join a community of women in tech was a sense of lack of cultural support in the field. I think it is our duty as women in technology, to help each other given the challenges we face.

From the career perspective, being involved in volunteer work enhances your whole personality. Having a support system of highly motivated people who are doing amazing work in their lives really pushes your horizons.  

(C) I would advise students to organize such events to improve their own abilities while maintaining a sense of doing purposeful work in life. Each of the events that I organized made me acquire a number of skills.

  1. Organizing informative/hands-on workshops make you better at teaching while helping you impart skills to others simultaneously; I believe you learn better when you teach.
  2.  Leading the organizing team for a Hackathon (Code-Off) has improved my leadership and other skills tremendously – from managing a team, cultivating connections, to managing finances.
  3.  Mentoring sessions are like the cherry on the cake, if you are able to inspire others by giving your own life as an example, there is no greater satisfaction than that.

I believe in the quote by John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

-By Priyal Aggarwal
Google WTM Scholar


(A) As a student, I have led various groups and organized many events which brought together students to apply knowledge practically which they learned in classrooms.

(B) The sheer chance of learning during these sessions from various students helps me grow inter-personally and professionally. It helps me learn from different perspectives.

(C) Organizing these kinds of events will help students in organizing skills, it will grow their network and thus improve the understanding of their field better. It will help them grow as a professional thus having experience in hand even before they step out of college.

-By Noor Afshan Fathima
Google WTM Scholar


I am very passionate about open source and when I was in my first, second years of college didn’t receive much guidance or mentorship from my seniors. Consequently, when I got to a position where I could provide advice and mentorship to juniors, I chose to give back to the community whether it is through workshops for high school students or talking about my journey in tech talks at my college. The main motivation for me is that if I can prevent someone from having the experience I did, I should do that.

-By Prachi Manchanda
Google WTM Scholar


I am a computer science enthusiast currently majoring at IIIT Delhi, India. Being the editor-in-chief of the official college magazine, an active member on the Women Techmakers community, an Amazon project mentee and a consistent blogger, I make sure my experiences reach out to and impact the maximum audience of women to increase awareness of opportunities that directly benefit them or support them at different stages of their tech journeys.

My primary motivation for organizing events is the community itself, a beautiful blend of women from all spheres of technology coming together to allow for an immense influx of thought processes and ideas. I recommend each one of you young women out there to organize events for women in tech because the situation is gravely disappointing. I would suggest that your events offer women a platform to not just leverage their skills and connect with speakers from industry and academia- but also pitch their own ideas on a scalable level.

-By Anannya Uberoi
Google WTM Scholar


(A) My most recent contribution to the community is setting up of a Women in Technology club in my institute IIIT Delhi along with Vahini, another 2017 APAC WTM Scholar. Through this club, we wish to build a close-knit community at IIITD and create a platform for sharing of resources, opportunities, and experiences. We would also provide mentorship through this initiative. We also want to leverage this club to involve school kids in CS and related technical fields through outreach programs like CS Unplugged. We want students to make an informed decision of taking up CS or a technical field for higher education in college rather than merely taking it just because their parents want it or just because someone they know is doing it. I want genuinely interested people to get into the technical field who will be able to create an impact with the amazing work that they do. Apart from this, I’ve been actively involved in some initiatives to conduct summer camps for children of domestic help in my residential colony and few initiatives for the environmental cause as well.

(B) I think my love for technology and things that go behind this technology make me want others to experience the joy that I derive out of it. I just love to help people out in whatever way I can. Nothing compares to the joy I feel when I’m genuinely able to help or guide someone and it actually makes a difference in their life. I think it’s this that keeps me motivated to keep doing more and more for people within and even outside the community.

(C) I think a lot of us have a vision and some idea of what and how we want to achieve it. It’s all about the extra push that we need that gets us going. We should never hesitate about starting.  For people starting any such initiatives here are few tips from my side:

  1. Keep the target audience in mind
  2. Have content keeping the audience in mind
  3. It’s easy to start such initiatives, but it’s a challenge to keep them going. So, keep your audience engaged and remind them again and again as to why they’re a part of this initiative. Keep them engaged through different activities and events
  4. Have an idea of what mode of communication do you want to use. Websites, Facebook Groups, Mailing Lists, Slack Channels etc
  5. Timely feedback is also very important to ensure your that initiatives are achieving the vision that you started them with. Quality is super important and supersedes quantity any day.

-By Simran Saxena
Google WTM Scholar


(A) I believe that giving back to people is the best way to worship God. I would like to the uplift the society as a whole and make them aware. But before helping the society, we have to improve our own home. My college was like my home to me. I took an initiative to open a community, to help freshers. Sahyog The mentorship club. Where we helped students to cope with college culture, help them in there education problems (by giving them one to one classes), financial problems (making them aware of sources through which they can earn, get scholarship etc) social problems ( ragging, harassment etc) and many more.
Other than that I even go to colleges in small towns and update and encourage them about opportunities in technology which they might not know. Something’s which has benefited me might also benefit others.

(B) There was a time when even I was deprived of privileges, unaware of opportunities. I have a lot of potentials I believe. But all I desired was a helping hand.
When I see these differences in society, lack of awareness etc. I can exactly understand their situation. If I could help them in some way or the other, I will believe I have done service to God.

(C) Sometimes all people need is awareness, someone to show them that yes you can do this. Organising such events is the best way to connect with them. Also, I believe more and more you spread the information, even your network grows and you also come to learn a lot.

-By Shraddha Agrawal
Google WTM Scholar


I hope now you are motivated enough to come forward and take an extra step 🙂

Women in STEM: A Harsh Reality

For more than last two decades, people are trying to increase the role of women in STEM (STEM is a famous short form used for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), still, we are not close to 50/50 vision. Many industries, organizations, NGOs are making efforts to make it real.

women1.jpg

On this International Women’s day, I am posting the collection of amazing talks about the gender bias, stereotypes, and other related problems that women face in STEM.

  1. Engineering – Where are the girls and why aren’t they here? -By Dr. Jenna Carpenter
  2. For the Future of Women in Science, Look to the Past -By Nathalia Holt
  3. The Breakdown of Women in STEM -By Jess Ellis
  4. Women in tech – the missing force -By Karen Catlin
  5. How to avoid gender stereotypes -By Eleanor Tabi Haller-Jordan
  6. The Future of STEM Depends on Diversity -By Nicole Cabrera Salazar
  7. Women in Technology: through the eyes of my daughter -By Mark MacNaughton
  8. Inspiring the next generation of female engineers -By Debbie Sterling
  9. The Power of Women in STEM -By Jin Yan

Comment Box is always open for sharing your thoughts and other amazing talks or blogs.

You can further see the list of amazing blogs on women in STEM at Gender Bias in STEM: Top Favorite Blogs.

For the list of motivational talk for Girls in STEM see the post, Dear Girls, You are not alone…

Dear Girls, You are not alone…

Dear Girls,

I am writing this post to talk about the current scenario of gender ratio in STEM. When we join college the first thing we observe that there are very few girls. Sometimes, It is really hard to get someone to discuss your work, your personal and professional problems, even, It is very hard to get a partner for group projects.

Many girls feel that STEM is not a place for them and start quitting. Please don’t quit because you are not alone, there are many more who have been through the same situation. They also thought like you, but they opted not to quit and continued their journey to win.

useit

There are nice talks by the girls who have come forward to share their stories. I am sharing these with you all as they might motivate you to continue your journey in STEM.

  1. Growing up in STEM – as a girl -By Cassidy Williams
  2. How to get girls to like STEM -By Heidi Olinger
  3. Women in STEM -By Caroline Cline
  4. Sharks & Female Scientists: More Alike than You Think -By Melissa Marquez
  5. The key to more women in technology -By Marianna Budnikova
  6. Conquering the Gender Gap in S.T.E.M -By Rebecca Baron
  7. Women in STEM: Embrace Exploration, Innovation & Discovery -By Jennifer Lopez
  8. How I succeeded as a woman in engineering -By Cassandra Cole
  9. Encouraging Math-Hating Girls and Women to Become Tech Leaders -By Emily Avant
  10. The vanishing Indian tech woman -By Rashmi Mohan

You all are welcomed to share your story in the comment box. Maybe someone can find you who are fighting through the same as you are or you were and it might help her. 🙂

Thousands of Feelings…

 

Thousands of feelings were floating in my heart,
It was like a randomly moving cart.

I wanted to say everything one after another,
But my lips were getting only a plain blurb.

I wish you would have been here to make me calm,
I would have tightly held your palm.

Fears of being with you were nailing me down,
I wished I could run away from this town.

It was this even more than this,
Your sweet little Missy feels you are missed.

-By Akrati Saxena

index

 

I am a girl…

I wrote this poem in 2013, and it is very close to my heart. The first draft goes like this:

girl1.jpeg

I am a girl, No one will listen,
Whether for a moment or more, I will be alone.

I can cry with my pillow, even I can hide tears,
No one is here for me, to take away my fears.

I am scared to walk, even to climb on my bed,
That I am gonna miss someone, maybe you, mom or dad.

I love everyone, and try to take care of all,
But whenever I need, there is no one to call.

I have felt all this, even more than this,
Still I say; I am a girl, I can’t even list.

These fears these responsibilities, have loaded me down,
Still you know I am a girl, I can’t countdown.

My tears will dry, my worries will end,
One day you will miss me, when I will meet my end.

I will be lying down, with no tears at all,
All of you will miss me,
For this all… For this all…

-By Akrati Saxena