Summary: The Youth Programs Division, Office of Citizen Exchanges, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), is pleased to announce the 2020 TechGirls program for high school-aged girls from the Middle East and North Africa, and Central Asia who have a demonstrated interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
Program Description: TechGirls is an intensive, four-week exchange program designed to empower young women (ages 15-17) from the Middle East and North Africa, and Central Asia to pursue higher education and careers in science and technology through hands-on skill development. The program directly supports the U.S. foreign policy goal of advancing the status of women and girls around the world; promotes STEM education; and fosters connections and deepens understanding among the youth of the United States and the countries and territories of the Middle East and North Africa, and Central Asia.
Regionally-focused exchange for approximately 24 TechGirls from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan will be held between July 6 – August 1, 2020.
The exchange’s centerpiece will be a two-week program at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA that will include coding instruction in Java, cyber security classes, and interactive labs. Ten competitively selected American students (five per exchange) will join the TechGirls participants in the Virginia Tech programming. Additional activities will include site visits to Washington D.C.-based technology companies, leadership clinics, action planning workshops, community service opportunities, job shadowing, intercultural collaboration, and weekend homestays with American families in Southwest Virginia.
During the U.S.-based exchange, participants will create action plans for community-based projects that they will be required to implement upon their return to their home communities. Projects will be designed to reinforce and support the skills and linkages acquired during the U.S. program.
Participant Numbers: Six (6) principal candidates.
Students eligible to apply are those who:
- Are from Tajikistan
- Are between the ages of 15 and 17 at the start of the exchange;
- Have demonstrated advanced skills and a serious interest in technology, engineering, and/or math in their academic studies;
- Intend to pursue higher education and/or careers in technology;
- Have strong English language skills;
- Exhibit maturity, flexibility, and open-mindedness;
- Will attend at least one additional semester of secondary school upon their return to their home country; and
- Are committed to completing a community-based project upon their return home.
- Preference will be given to those who have limited or no prior experience in the United States
- TechGirls encourages people with diverse backgrounds and skills to apply, including individuals with disabilities.
Please note candidates who have traveled to the United States in the last three years as part of any other ECA exchange program are not eligible.
- November 22, 2019 –January 15, 2020: Recruitment period.
- February 15, 2020: Semi-finalist lists sent to the US Embassy Kazakhstan
- Late February – Early March 2020: Skype interviews with semi-finalists will be conducted by the US Embassy Kazakhstan.
- April 1, 2020: Submitting finalists list for approval.
- Late May 2020: Visa Interviews completed and Pre-Departure Orientation Session.
- July 6 – August 1, 2020 program dates
- The online application will be available through the link here, from November 22, 2019.