Tag Archives: Algeria

Introduction to Physical Computing

Wissa Wassef, weaving by Reda Ahmed, Egypt
Wissa Wassef weaving by Reda Ahmed, Egypt

TechWomen has started its first Virtual Delegation and I am one of the delegates from the Silicon Valley to Cameroon. On 14 June, I gave the online keynote speech on “Building a Global Network.” On 17 June, Maryann Hrichak and I (TechWomen Mentors) are leading a session on “Introduction to Physical Computing” with 100 students in Douala and Yaoundé, working with TechWomen Lead Fellows Janet Bih Shufor and Gisele Beatrice Sonfack.

Maryann and I will introduce the online discussion through the history of computing and weaving, specifically Jacquard looms, considered a precursor to modern computing technology. The idea for this approach came from my daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman who was one of the Mentors on the 2018 TechWomen Delegation to Nigeria during which she gave a workshop on “Teaching Binary and Encryption Through Weaving.” Our Physical Computing session this week will be relatively short but we plan to cover the relationship of physical objects (like looms and yarn) to computing devices. We will show parts of the hands-on video “Personal Jacquard Weaving” and will end with a more futuristic view in the video “Knightscope – Present and Future” from Knightscope, the robotics company where my long-term TechWomen Co-Mentor, Mercedes Soria is Executive Vice President of Software Engineering, and Chief Intelligence Officer.

Some key dates from my introduction: 1804 Jacquard loom, 1837 Babbage Analytical Engine (programming by Ada Lovelace), 1884 Hollerith punched card tabulating machine (used in 1890 U.S. Census). Punch cards and paper tape continued in use until the 1990s.

Gisele and Janet will lead the students through an exercise using the MIT Media Lab’s Scratch program. Gisele wrote this about the exercise: “To control a system, or automate its operation, we use the variables which can be random or fixed depending on the type of sensors, we apply the conditions. Loops are uses to do the same thing infinitely. These concepts are the basics of physical computing.” This is their handout.

Here is our 17 June 2021 session plan:

  • 10 minutes – Introduction to Physical Computing (Katy Dickinson & Maryann Hrichak) on Zoom, including Arduino weaving video segment
  • 25 minutesScratch activity in two Zoom breakout rooms with about 50 students each, one in Douala (lead by Gisele), and the other in Yaoundé (lead by Janet), with ten TechWomen mentors helping
  • 5 minutes – Reflection (Katy Dickinson & Maryann Hrichak) on Zoom, including Knightscope robots video

TechWomen is a mentoring program of the US State Department – Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

TechWomen Maryann Hrichak, Katy Dickinson, Janet Bih Fofang, Gisele Beatrice Sonfack, Zoom 2021-06-15
TechWomen Maryann Hrichak, Katy Dickinson, Janet Bih Fofang, Gisele Beatrice Sonfack, Session Planning Meeting 2021-06-15
Xaviera Nguefo Kowo and Janet Bih Shufor, TechWomen Cameroon Delegation Screen Shot 2021-06-17
Xaviera Nguefo Kowo and Janet Bih Shufor, TechWomen Cameroon Delegation 2021-06-17
Fellows Janet, Jessica, Gisele of TechWomen Cameroon Delegation Screen Shot 2021-06-17 Screen Shot 2021-06-17
Fellows Janet, Jessica, Gisele of TechWomen Cameroon Delegation 2021-06-17

Thanks to Jeannice Farrer Samani, Janet Bih Shufor, and others for their recommendations on materials below. During our TechWomen-Cameroon Physical Computing session, I knew many of the girls might have network connection problems or would not  fully understand the Zoom-based presentations because we spoke in English and many of them are French speakers. I want the “References and Resources” to present inspiring materials they could read later. I selected physical computing examples focused on weaving and robotics and included women and girl role models not only from Cameroon and Africa but also from the U.S. I hope that the girls will find these materials helpful!

References and Resources:

Additional Information from TechWomen Mentor Suzette Shipp:

1640 Weaving Room, Carlyle House, Alexandria, Virginia USA (postcard).

Updated 22 June 2021

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Reading _The Plague_

In 2012, we had a mouse infestation in our home, one of the potential downsides of pet birds. I was thinking of this when our book club read The Plague by Albert Camus  (in which the bubonic plague starts with rats). Plague and pestilence books have been popular during the Coronavirus pandemic, with book recommendations lists being widely published. We read sections of Camus’ 1947 book in last semester’s “God and Suffering” class at GTU‘s Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology (DSPT). Ironically, The Plague was part of the reading list for the class before Covid-19 came upon us. It seems to me that in the months since the pandemic started, we have slowly become like the people of Camus’ town of Oran in Algeria who, “in the very heart of the epidemic… maintained a saving indifference, which one was tempted to take for composure.”

The Plague‘s narrator ends with qualified optimism,

He “…resolved to compile this chronicle, so that he should not be one of those who hold their peace but should bear witness in favor of those plague-stricken people; so that some memorial of the injustice and outrage done them might endure; and to state quite simply what we learn in a time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.

None the less, he knew that the tale he had to tell could not be one of a final victory. It could be only the record of what had had to be done, and what assuredly would have to be done again in the never ending fight against terror and its relentless onslaughts, despite their personal afflictions, by all who, while unable to be saints but refusing to bow down to pestilences, strive their utmost to be healers.”

While our community has become less focused on the pandemic and has turned to other matters, I pray that we continue to honor and support the heroic doctors and health workers who are still fighting Covid-19.

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Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson.

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Christmas 2019

Matthew Katy John Jessica Paul Christmas 2019

May this blessed Christmas season bring you and your family joy! It has been a busy Christmas, starting even before I turned in my last (16 and 18 page) term papers at the Graduate Theological Union. So far, our adventures have included:

Reading group for Dickens Christmas Carol Dec 2019
train, railroad ornaments Christmas 2019
Santa Clara First Baptist Church Bethlehem Christmas 2019
Santa Clara First Baptist Church Bethlehem Christmas 2019
Tenzin at Islamic Networks Group lunch Christmas 2019
Paul Katy Sally at Chinatown Christmas 2019
Katy Dickinson with TechWomen US State Department certificate Christmas 2019
Jessica Paul Katy at Dickens Fair Christmas 2019
Christmas candle 2019
Jessica Matthew Katy John Paul Star Wars movie Christmas 2019
Paul D. Goodman with reclaimed hardwood cutting board Dec 2019
John at St Andrew's Episcopal Church Christmas Eve 2019
St Andrew's Episcopal Church Christmas Eve 2019
Katy John at Elmwood jail Christmas 2019
Matthew Katy John Jessica Paul Christmas 2019

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Images Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson.

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TechWomen Team Algeria

Team Algeria TechWomen 30 Sep 2019

I am happy and honored to be a TechWomen Impact Coach for 2019 Team Algeria. TechWomen is a program of the US Department of State that brings emerging women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East together with their professional counterparts in the United States for a mentorship and exchange program. I was the 2010-2011 Process Architect for TechWomen and am so very proud of this program!

Four capable and inspiring TechWomen Emerging Leaders, Celia Ouabas, Imane Chekirine, Imene Henni Mansour, and Sara Dib of Algeria, are working with my Co-Mentors Mercedes Soria, Fatema Kothari, and me to develop an educational improvement program for them to take home next month. The seven of us are meeting several times a week in workshops and social events to develop the plans and the Pitch Night presentation for Team Algeria.

Team Algeria TechWomen 30 Sep 2019 by Saul Bromberger
TechWomen Team Algeria 8 Oct 2019
TechWomen Team Algeria with WP668 Caboose 8 Oct 2019
TechWomen Team Algeria in WP668 Caboose 8 Oct 2019
Team Algeria TechWomen 11 October 2019
Team Algeria TechWomen 11 October 2019

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Images Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson, and Saul Bromberger.

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TechWomen Team Algeria 2019

Proud to have been accepted as a TechWomen mentor for the 8th time, this year as Impact Coach for Algeria. I am honored be working for the 4th year with co-mentors Mercedes Soria and Fatema Kothari.

The 108 TechWomen emerging leaders from 22 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area in September. Larissa Brown Shapiro and I were co-mentors for TechWomen Fellow Imen Rahal of Algeria in 2013, giving me some background. So looking forward to this! TechWomen is a program of the US State Department for which I was Process Architect in 2010-2011.

My daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman was also accepted as a TechWomen mentor, for 2019 Team Palestine!

Katy Dickinson, Fatema Kothari, Mercedes Soria, TechWomen October 2018

Algeria camel plate 2013
Algeria camel scene 2013

Pictures Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson – of gifts from Imen Rahal, 2013. Photo of Katy, Mercedes, and Fatema taken by IIE TechWomen, October 2018. Quote posted by IIE to TechWomen Twitter site, 11 April 2018.

 

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Honoring STEM Mentoring

ECR Simple Servant Award to Katy Dickinson 3 Nov 2017

At the 37th Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real annual convention last weekend, I was honored by Bishop Mary Grey-Reeves with a second Simple Servant Award for my work since 2010 with the TechWomen mentoring program of the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The award certificate reads:

Simple Servant Award
Presented on November 3, 2017 to
Katy Dickinson
The Diocese of El Camino Real honors you. May God bless you for your
faithful ministry mentoring women in Africa and the Middle East in STEM
professions, and for your contribution to the creation of a “virtuous cycle” of
knowledge and wisdom sharing in the world of technology.

It has been an honor and pleasure to work with TechWomen and my mentees from Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Watching this program thrive and touch so many lives is a great delight. Since I worked in 2010-2011 as the TechWomen Process Architect, I have been a volunteer with this life-changing program as a mentor, working with groups of STEM leaders who travel to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley to be hosted by 122 science and technology companies and organizations for a month (and then continue a mentoring relationship once they have returned to their home country).

Beginning with the first cohort of 37 from 6 countries in 2011, there have been 518 TechWomen Fellows from 22 countries and 698 mentors. I have formally been assigned to mentor 14 women in Lebanon, Algeria, Gaza-Palestine, Jordan, and Tunisia – and have worked with many more who have asked me to be their mentor. I have also participated in nine formal TechWomen Delegations with the State Department, to: Jordan (twice), Kyrgyzstan, Morocco (twice), Rwanda, South Africa, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe, as well as making informal trips with TechWomen mentors to visit our mentees in Lebanon, Gaza-Palestine, and Sierra Leone.  Learning from my sister mentors as well as from my mentees is part of the joy and value of this excellent program for Citizen Diplomats.

Want to make a different in STEM? Please consider joining TechWomen as a mentor yourself!

ECR Convention Simple Servant award Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Katy Dickinson 3 Nov 2017 by Elrond Lawrence

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Photo Copyright 2017 by the Diocese of El Camino Real, Elrond Lawrence.

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69 Certified Mentors – a Different Normality

Eileen Brewer 2015 Eileen Brewer
Director, Security Appliance Team, Symantec
Mountain View, California USA

As of today, Mentoring Standard has certified 69 mentors from 16 countries in Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America. When I read down the Honor Roll, I am proud and honored to be working with such remarkable men and women.  I see in this developing community a shared commonality of excellence and generosity.  Since the first mentor was certified in August 2015,  69 have met the standard to be honored as Regular Mentors, and three have in addition been recognized as Advanced Mentors: Eileen Brewer (USA), Naira Ayrapetyan (Turkmenistan), and Dr. Kenza Khomsi (Morocco).   Mentoring Standard certifies mentors from around the world who can prove they hold within themselves the following 3 qualities:

  • Significant Mentoring History.
  • Good Reputation.
  • Respectable Professional Experience.
Naira Ayrapetyan 2015 Naira Ayrapetyan
Senior Maintenance Engineer, Petronas Carigali Turkmenistan, TechWomen 2015 Fellow
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Every day’s news is full of a fractured, fighting, frightening world.  Yet, in the Honor Roll is a different normality: successful professionals from a vast diversity of demographics, profession, and geography who are not only learning and growing themselves but have spent years helping other people to achieve their goals and grow their careers.  Many of the Certified Mentors have been participants in the US State Department’s TechWomen program, or in the Sun Microsystems Engineering mentoring program called SEED, or they are friends or relations of mentors who were.  Half of the Certified Mentors are also TechWomen Fellows: 2011-2015 mentees of STEM leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area.  That is, these are women who came to the USA to be mentees but had already been mentors themselves for many years.

This is validation of the research presented in the Lifetime Value of Mentoring 2013 project: “…patterns from key [mentoring] programs show that successful mentees will go on to become mentors and many mentors serve over and over – in a variety of programs. Mentors also become Mentees as needed. Thus, disconnected programs may be informally in the same network because of having participants in common.”  I am still working on the first Mentoring Standard data report on the 2015 cohort of Certified Mentors.

Mentor Certification documents and celebrates your past and ongoing mentoring accomplishments – it does not require you to join a new mentoring program or take additional training. Ever consider becoming a Certified Mentor yourself?

Kenza Khomsi 2015 Dr. Kenza Khomsi
Meteorologist Engineer, Direction de la Météorologie Nationale, TechWomen 2015 Fellow
Casablanca, Morocco

A page from the Honor Roll

Mentoring Standard Honor Roll 2015

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