As part of our mission, the TECgirls team wanted to find out what would inspire more young girls in Cornwall to take part in TEC activities.
To do that, we've enlisted help from ace student researcher Amran Abdiqadir Mohamed, who's working with us on our first annual TECgirls Insights Report.
We talked to Amran about her background, her advocacy work, and why she’s excited to be doing research with TECgirls.
Amran, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 17 and about to start my last year of A-levels at school in Bristol, where I’m studying Psychology, Biology and Religious Studies (Philosophy and Ethics).
I’m Head Student for Culture and Diversity Awareness, which promotes inclusion across all minority groups. We’ve led assemblies, organised events, and set up different societies. Most recently, I’ve been helping to decorate the school library with quotes from BAME authors.
I’m also really interested in sustainability. During lockdown I attended a few climate change summits and green masterclasses held by Catalyse Change, an organisation that aims to empower young women to be part of a sustainable future.
What does your research placement with TECgirls involve?
So far, it’s involved creating a survey, organising interviews, starting to write up the first TECgirls Insights Report, and setting up lots of meetings to ensure that everything is going to plan.
I’ve only been on the placement for a week, but I’ve loved every moment! I’ve learned so much and improved lots of skills, such as IT skills and being able to navigate new platforms.
The TECgirls and Nuffield teams have also been helping me to develop my writing and user research skills, which is great.
How did you become aware of the research opportunity?
It came through an organisation called Nuffield Future Researchers, which finds research placements for eligible A-level students.
I received a few emails advertising the scheme, and it seemed very scientific and a bit different to placements I would usually apply for. That got me interested, and as I looked further into it, I loved the idea of being able to learn about something very new and develop transferable skills.
What attracted you to the TECgirls Insights Report project?
I was drawn to it because it’s focused on the local community in Cornwall, rather than girls in tech everywhere. I really enjoy working within communities, which is why I’ve volunteered weekly at my local primary school and charity shop.
I’ve also always been very passionate about inclusion and equality. I’ve tried very hard to be active about it, including starting a Female Lead Society at school. Our aim is to ensure girls are fully aware of the opportunities available to them and feel confident enough to seize them.
Do you find that girls aren’t always aware of career opportunities in TEC?
Definitely. In October last year, I attended an Ada Lovelace Day event for women in tech. I really enjoyed learning about the speakers’ work, and I remember being really shocked at the variety of careers on show.
Before the event I had a very narrow knowledge of what tech means. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could access a career in technology, engineering or the creative digital sector without having a related A-level.
"It hadn’t occurred to me that I could access a career in technology, engineering or the creative digital sector without having a related A-level."
I now know there are amazing opportunities in technology and engineering that aren’t all about computing. I don’t think I was alone in my bubble of misunderstanding, which was another thing that drew me to this project.
I wanted to help more families and girls come on the same journey as me – from not knowing to knowing. I’m grateful I can complete this report with an understanding of both sides of the story.
Did you have access to TEC clubs and activities at primary school?
Not at all. I went to two primary schools, and neither offered any technology, engineering or creative digital-related activities.
There were no assemblies to increase awareness, either. The most my secondary school did was include Scratch in our year 7 IT lessons.
Do you think technology will impact your future career?
I think it will. Technology encompasses so many different aspects of job sectors today. Regardless of the career that I end up having, I think technology will be a big part of it.
Do you have any advice for girls interested in taking on a research project?
My main advice would be don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something a bit different. Oh, and be organised! :)
Find out more
The TECgirls Insights Survey aims to learn more about girls' and parents' attitudes to TEC. Find out more and take the survey at www.tecgirls.co.uk.
Nuffield Future Researchers finds STEM research placements for A-level students from low-income families or families where the student is the first to go to university.
Ada Lovelace Day happens each October. It aims to raise the profile of women in STEM by encouraging people around the world to talk about women whose work they admire.