Secretary Clinton Honors "TechWomen," including Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley Participants-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Secretary Clinton Honors "TechWomen," including Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley Participants-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Secretary Clinton Honors "TechWomen," including Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley Participants

CMUSV-hosted reception for TechWomen mentees
CMUSV-hosted reception for TechWomen mentees

On July 6, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored 37 women from the Middle East and North Africa and their American mentors who participated in TechWomen, an initiative that harnesses the power of technology and international exchanges as a means to empower women and girls worldwide.

Lamia Ben Hiba, a Ph.D. student from Morocco, was a mentee of the program at Carnegie Mellon University's Silicon Valley campus.

"I was extremely excited to be selected to visit the U.S. and Carnegie Mellon University's Silicon Valley Campus," said Ben Hiba. "The CMU professors are so helpful as I begin the long road of publishing my own research results," she said.

TechWomen, which Secretary Clinton first announced during the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in the spring of 2010, brought women from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and the Palestinian Territories to the United States for a five-week mentorship with their American counterparts at 24 U.S.-based technology companies. Later this year, U.S. mentors will travel to the Middle East and North Africa region to conduct workshops for women in the technology sector and young girls who have expressed an interest in pursuing a tech-based career.

During the TechWomen Mentorship program, Ben Hiba and her peers met business and technical leaders in Silicon Valley and worked on projects ranging from the use of social media in national disasters to entrepreneurial-based themes.

Carnegie Mellon's Silicon Valley campus was the only U.S. academic institution to participate as technical mentors in the 2011 mentorship program.

"This is a wonderful program because it gives a chance for technical women in the United States to build relationships and advance and empower rising technical women leaders in Muslim countries," said Jeannie A. Stamberger, associate director of the Disaster Management Initiative (DMI) at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley.

Ben Hiba, 25, said her trip to the United States will help her promote a "Girls In Technology'' program that she supports in Morocco. "I was amazed at both the diversity and friendliness of the people in Silicon Valley," she said.

The Silicon Valley campus hosted a reception for the mentees to meet faculty and other students, and discuss their research interests, and explore possible future collaborations.

Ultimately, Ben Hiba said she wants to be a researcher and a problem solver. "I received a lot of great encouragement from Carnegie Mellon professors," she added.

The mentees completed their U.S. tour with a trip to Washington, DC and a front row seat to the city's traditional July 4 holiday celebration, a White House tour and a full day of meetings at the U.S. State Department.

Twenty-four technology companies in Silicon Valley and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area are serving as mentors. They include: Adobe Systems, Inc., AT&T, Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, Intel Corporation, Internet Systems Consortium, Juniper Networks, LikeList, mPay Connect, NetApp, Newcomb Anderson McCormic, Northgate Environment Management, Inc., Parallel Earth, SAP Labs, Symantec, ThoughtWorks, Yahoo!, and ZaReason.

Pictured above: Jeannie Stamberger, Lamia Ben Hiba and Patricia Collins