PWiC Islamabad Meetup — Event Highlights
A gathering of smart and driven women of PWiC Islamabad set the momentum for future community events!
A total number of 40 women and 10 children made to the Pakistani Women in Computing Islamabad’s first ever community meetup on December 29, 2018, at National Incubation Center Islamabad.
Considering it was a bright sunny weekend in Islamabad and the wedding season was also in its full swing, it was quite an achievement!
Thanks to all of those who made it to the event.
Here is a glance a the event.
PWiC invited speakers from the community to share their journeys with the audience to highlight the successes and the failures and their process of evolving through time given the circumstances and opportunities around them.
Fatima Ansar — The host
Fatima Ansar, who is a GHC scholar, a NUCES-FAST graduate and currently working in the industry hosted the event and shared her insight about the importance of a professional network and a local community that can help in learning and growth.
Asema Hassan — Game Developer, VR Programmer, and AI Enthusiast
Asema Hassan shared her journey of starting a career in the gaming industry in Pakistan and her passion for learning that led to her current role as a VR Programmer in DZNE-Magdeburg, Germany. Asema also expanded on her experience of working in the gaming industry in Pakistan and in Germany.
A few takeaways of her talk included writing one’s destiny, working hard with discipline and persistence, following dreams that might evolve with time and circumstances, and the importance of learning, volunteering and growing at ones own pace.
Eman Ali — System Support Analyst, STEM Mom, Entrepreneur in Making
Eman Ali shared her journey of evolving from a graduate from SEECS NUST to starting a career as a System Support Analyst with PTC Islamabad and then transitioning into a STEM* mother who is now passionate about learning and educating children about science through fun experiments. Eman started a STEM initiative with her friends at a local school in London that led to the formation of a STEM lab at the same school and soon-to-be a startup.
Eman’s message for the audience was to never let any failure or change of circumstance discourage them from pursuing their dreams. If working in the industry is not something that might work given the family situation and circumstances, being an educated mother can also help in many other ways and that knowledge can be used to educate the next generation of technology makers. She also highlighted the importance of volunteering and how her volunteer experience helped her learn and grow.
Saba Rasheed Malik — PWiC Islamabad Lead and Assistant Professor NUCES-FAST Islamabad
Saba Rasheed Malik who is also the Chapter Lead for PWiC Islamabad highlighted the chapter’s focus on celebrating women in computing and creating opportunities for each other as a community. She shared her experience of attending PWiC’s global meetup at GHC in Houston, TX that led to the formation of PWiC Islamabad. Saba encouraged the local community to come forward and share ideas, work together and identify areas where the community can work together and fill the gaps between the academia and the industry. She also shared the roadmap for 2019 that focused on the mentoring, building skills for success and making the community more accessible for working females especially mothers.
Saba’s talk brought a lot of energy to the audience!
Huma Hamid — Co-Founder PWiC
Huma Hamid shared her journey of studying computing and working in the tech industry in Pakistan and in the US and how her personal experiences and pain points led to the formation of Pakistani Women in Computing page on Facebook that built the foundation of today’s PWiC global initiative. Huma also highlighted the importance of building and creating the technology of the future and how critical it is for women to be part of that process. She shared her experience of attending and volunteering at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women Computing that helped her grow as an individual and become part of a global community that shares a similar set of challenges and opportunities.
Huma shared the roadmap for the global community initiatives and the way different chapters and partners can collaborate with each other to grow the community and achieve the community’s vision to Connect, Learn and Grow Together.
STEM Activity and Robotics Lab
One of the highlights of the event was the onsite STEM activity and robotics lab to keep the children occupied while their mothers were learning and networking with other women from the industry. PWiC made sure that all the mothers feel welcomed to the event alongside their children, who get a safe and fun environment for learning and exploring different activities. These children were of different age groups who decorated robot shaped cookies, built legos and robots and imagined their own robots.
This lab was sponsored by a number of partners that require a shout-out.
401 Bakers provided the robot cookies and icing for decoration.
WeePro STEAM Training provided robot kits and their volunteers managed and facilitated all the activities.
PWiC sponsored all the STEM book and toys through a fundraiser. These items were then distributed among these children who attended the event. One of the sponsors also shared an inspirational message for these children, that was posted on all the items.
“It only takes one person that believes in you, to rise to great heights. My third-grade teacher believed in me and because of her, I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. You can do anything you put your mind to.”- Carlene Kyte
The second half of the event was focused on social networking, where all the attendees connected with each other on lunch and shared ideas over many cups of chai, cupcakes, and nerdy cookies.
The community shared some ideas on how and where PWiC can help fill the gaps. The need for career counseling, students’ coaching, mentoring, returnship and flexible job opportunities for women, family friendly and inclusive workplaces were some of the items highlighted by the members.
Event Sponsors and Partners
The event was made possible with the help from the following sponsors and partners.
National Incubation Center provided the venue and the facility.
herDomain promoted the event and also conducted onsite recruitment drive.
WeePro STEAM Training provided robot kits and their volunteers arranged the STEM lab.
WePrint provided all the design and printing services.
IGDA Pakistan supported and promoted the event.
401 Bakers provided the nerdy cookies, cupcake and robot cookies.
DIY Eatery promoted the event, offered free cupcakes and 20% discount to all the attendees.
Last but not least, our amazing community of women techmakers who made this event a possible and a success.
Please follow this space for our future events!
Pakistani Women in Computing