International Girls in ICT Day (2016)

Organized by the International Telecommunications Union and CONATEL, HONDURAS.

Photo courtesy of the International Telecommunications Union.

The International Girls in ICT Day is an initiative by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that encourages young girls to pursue careers in technology and close the gender gap in the growing field of ICTs (Information and Communications Technology). This truly inspiring day is celebrated the 4th Thursday of April by thousands of girls in 160 countries.

In 2016, I was invited to make a presentation at one of these events by the “Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones” (CONATEL), the telecommunications regulatory body in Honduras. Among the special guests were the First Lady of Honduras, representatives from the National Congress, the Ministry of Education, CODERISE (a Colombian organization working on the empowerment of students into tech innovation), various universities, and of course, the guests of honor, 100 girls from different technical colleges.

It was a wonderful experience to be able to share my story, dreams, hopes, and struggles with young girls from my home country. I talked about my studies and work in robotics, my motivation, the social and personal outreach of technological innovation, and how women are perfectly capable of being key players in today’s technological revolution.

Here is a summary of the event by the ITU. Below, you will find some pictures (courtesy of CONATEL), and the videos I prepared for the event:

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Me, via video conference speaking to the person that woke up the geek in me, my Dad :)
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Audience and award session at the event.

A video I presented summarizing my work and motivation (Spanish):

A video I prepared featuring fantastic women I’ve met, whose experiences speak “inspiration” (Spanish and English):

Solo Guapas

Organized by the Universidad Tecnologica Centroamericana (UNITEC) and IEEE Women in Engineering.

Photo courtesy of IEEE Women in Engineering.

“Solo Guapas” (or “Only beautiful”) was an event organized by the faculty of engineering and architecture of the Universidad Tecnologica Centroamericana (UNITEC) and IEEE Women in Engineering, an international organization which promotes women engineers and scientists and motivates young girls to pursue careers in technology. The objective of this event was to inspire female engineering students to persevere in their studies through the example and experience of successful Honduran women.

Having studied mechatronics at UNITEC and having experienced the popular stereotypes of being a girl in a male-dominated field, I was thrilled to be an invited speaker. I talked about the road I traveled from when I first saw the ASIMO robot on T.V and thought, “OK, robots seem cool!”, to my high school research papers on robots and space stations, to my endless pursuit of a scholarship to study robotics, and finally, to the moment I became a robotics engineer.

During this journey, I didn’t have someone else’s experience to relate to. I didn’t know of anyone other women from my country with the same dreams or social and financial setbacks. I persevered, but I truly believe that knowledge that others have walked the same footsteps is a motivation catalyzer. Thus, the importance of showing girls that they have options, that they can also become engineers, scientists, and doctors. And that, like other women, they can thrive.