The United States Government has said it will supporting the next generation of women leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, STEM, by connecting them with networks and opportunities needed to advance their careers and dreams in tech fields.
It disclosed this recently at the just-concluded TechWomen Nigeria Mentorship Project for emerging female leaders in STEM fields organised by TechWomen Alumni Association of Nigeria in partnership with U.S. Consulate and supported by Intel.
For six weeks, 10 mentees aged 18-30 years were paired with 10 women leaders in STEM. The mentees shadowed their mentors at leading technology and STEM-related companies in Lagos, including Intel and Microsoft, and attended capacity-building workshops with their peers.
The closing event celebrated the graduation of the participants, who in turn shared their experiences and highlighted how partaking in the program helped them to refine their skills and boosted their confidence to advance in their various careers.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the project in Lagos, U.S Consul-General, Claire Pierangelo congratulated the young female STEM professionals on completing the mentorship program.
Pierangelo highlighted the importance of expanding young women’s networks in STEM fields, encouraging them to pursue tech careers and ensuring the sustainability of the mentor-mentee model in Nigeria.
“I am happy to see that our TechWomen Nigeria alumni have taken steps to replicate their exchange experience by providing mentoring opportunities for young women in STEM in their local communities,” Pierangelo said.
“The U.S Government is committed to advancing the rights and participation of women and girls in the STEM fields, by enabling them to reach their full potential in the tech industry. The TechWomen and TechGirls programs are perfect examples of this commitment.”
Meanwhile, the Country Account Executive for West Africa at Intel Corporation, Rita Amuchienwa, served as a mentor during the project. She described the benefits of the mentor-mentee model initiated by the TechWomen Nigeria Alumni Association
“Young women in tech can particularly benefit from mentoring as a means to build confidence, enhance skills, and set achievable career goals,” Amuchienwa said.
One of the mentees, Rofiat Korodo, explained that her participation in the mentorship program has strengthened her capacity, expanded her professional networks and exposed her to top female role models in her field.
“It has been an awesome experience. My mentor provided me insights into specific professional situations, negotiation tactics, opportunities and career path goals. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this mentorship program,” Korodo added.
TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It strengthens participants’ professional capacity, increases mutual understanding between key professionals, and expands young women’s interest in STEM careers by exposing them to female role models.
Since the program’s inception in 2013, 45 Nigerian women in STEM have participated in a unique five-week mentorship program to increase their specialized proficiencies, connect with valuable mentors and build a professional network of like-minded women.