Alumni of the Month  |  2016-01
January 8, 2016

TechWoman Inspires Young Girls in Tunisia

Amel Ghouila used what she learned during her experience in the 2014 TechWomen program to help other Tunisians address local challenges in their communities. Upon her return home, Amel helped to enroll 15 teams with 54 young girls from Tunisia into the Technovation competition, an international competition for girls interested in developing mobile applications to solve community issues. Of the 15 teams, three were selected as semi-finalists in the international competition. Through her leadership and mentorship Amel was nominated as the Regional Ambassador of Technovation in Tunisia. 
 
To further her studies in STEM education, Amel launched a Mozilla study group in the research institute where she works. This group aims to enhance collaboration between scientists in Tunisia and others around the world. With a group of other TechWomen alumnae, Amel is also working to create a curriculum and a competition tailored to the needs of youth in the MENA region.
 
Amel is working with other exchange alumni to promote cultural and educational exchange programs and to develop tools and resources that will keep the Tunisian alumni network connected with its American counterparts. She is a co-founder and a board member of the Tunisian American Alumni Network (TAAN) which launched in September 2015. There she works on developing and maintaining the alumni database. Amel has also collaborated with TechGirls alumnae to create a preliminary version of the association’s website.
 
“My TechWomen experience was a turning point in my life; it pushed me to leave my comfort zone and to start something not directly related to my work that really matters and that could be beneficial for the community. I also feel more confident and more supported to accomplish my goals. I feel like I belong to a big family. If I need some help, I know there will always be a TechWomen friend or mentor who will be there for me,” Amel said.
 
Each month, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Alumni Affairs Division, which supports alumni as they build on their exchange experiences, recognizes one outstanding alumnus or alumna. Amel Ghouila is this month’s outstanding alumna, and her work will be recognized throughout January on the International Exchange Alumni website, ECA’s official website which serves more than one million State Department-sponsored exchange alumni worldwide.