Using Comics to Encourage Girls’ Involvement in STEM

Rayane Hazimeh at her host company

Rayane Hazimeh with fellow TechWomen mentees and colleagues at her host company, Symantec

If someone had asked Rayane Hazimeh a few years ago why she had become an engineer, she probably would have said that it was by mistake. “I was always the black sheep,” Rayane explains, “and often that meant walking away from the norm.” Rayane has always had a taste for adventure and challenges, and the fact that no other girls around her were choosing to pursue engineering degrees because “it was not for girls and was too hard” was enough of an incentive. “I didn’t need more than that to make it my goal” she says. “I wanted to prove to the world that women are as competent as men in this field.”

What was initially a field chosen to prove a point has become a passion. “With time, I’ve become aware of how rewarding and enriching engineering is,” Rayane says. Today, Rayane’s ambition is to use her passion, creativity, technical skills and drive to expand the hopes and dreams of young girls to take part in the tremendous opportunities the STEM fields offer.

Rayane has always been active in initiatives to empower women and help them achieve their full potential. “But,” she explains, “I was limited to my society and my country.”  The TechWomen experience “helped me to think big and work for a greater goal.”  She was inspired to do more. “I always believed in myself and my ability to influence others,” Rayane says, “but before embarking on the TechWomen experience, I never really used this talent and put it at the service of a greater goal.” Rayane credits her TechWomen experience with helping her to re-prioritize her life goals. “It is now my personal mission to live a life that positively and valuably impacts other young girls.”

Rayane is now working toward her goal of launching Noura Techadventures, an online animation series to inspire young girls’ involvement in STEM fields. The series stars Noura, a teenage tech savvy girl who explores the wonders of STEM through dynamic interactive adventures. Noura, which means “light” in Arabic, will meet different characters representing positive female role models in STEM fields. Together, the dynamic characters will use their unique STEM skills to face different challenges and discover the wonders of technology. The series will be designed to be challenging, enriching and most importantly, fun!

While busy with her full-time work as a Systems Engineer at Symantec in Dubai, Rayane is also working on the design and story lines for Noura Techadventures, as well as the recruitment of supporters. Luckily, her TechWomen network has generously offered to help. Rayane has already begun collaborating with several TechWomen Mentees, including Rasha Salaheddine from Palestine, to make this project a reality. Her aim is to launch Noura Techadventures by 2013, and eventually expand the series to include comic books, school workshops, summer camps and other fun activities.

“We all dream of a world where anything is possible,” Rayane says. Through Noura Techadventures, Rayane is using the power of comics to create a space where young girls can imagine they can be anything they want to be. Congratulations, Rayane, on this exciting and creative initiative. We can’t wait to see the first Noura Techadventure story!

Mentees watching 4th of July fireworks

Rayane, pictured second from the left, and all of the TechWomen Mentees were able to enjoy the 4th of July fireworks in Washington, DC as special guests of the State Department


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