Above (L-R): Sherry McMillan, Executive officer Corporate Communications at TATT, is joined by the Deputy Chairman of the organisation, Dr. Kim Mallalieu, Teresa Wankin – Secretary General at CANTO, Marsha Caballero – Senior Manager Corporate Communications at TSTT, Jayme Hoyte – Executive Director, SmartTerm Ltd and Yolande Agard-Simmons – Communications Manager Trinidad and Tobago & Curacao, C&W at the Girls in ICT event which took place on April 25 at TATT’s Headquarters. Photo courtesy TSTT.
Sixty female students from San Fernando East, San Fernando Central and the Pleasantville Secondary School were specially selected to be a part of this year’s Girls in ICT (Information Communication Technology) Day which got underway at the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) headquarters in Barataria on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 April.
Celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in April, the 2019 edition carried the theme ‘Tech Savvy Girls – Expanding Horizons, Changing Attitudes’. Girls in ICT Day is primarily driven to reduce the persistent gender gap and increase the representation of women in the tech industry.
According to TATT’s Deputy Chairman, Dr. Kim Mallalieu, a tech-savvy girl is not just one who is interested in tech and who possesses skills and qualifications for a job in the tech-driven world of work. She is also one who can use technical knowledge innovatively and can use existing technologies more productively.
Leading communication solutions provider, TSTT was one of the supporting organisations that played an integral role in celebrating this auspicious day. In delivering her address to the attentive bunch, TSTT’s Senior Manager Corporate Communications, Marsha Caballero, reiterated the importance of women in the tech field stating that “a career in ICT is another opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the world. I want to encourage you to dream big and consider any of the myriad of available professions in the ICT field which can support a variety of industries such as healthcare, education, engineering- even fashion.”
Caballero highlighted the success of locals Ria Karim, founder of D’Junction App, and Kelly Ann Bethel, founder of SKED- an online appointment scheduling app; both of whom are making waves in the technology arena.
“Women, who were once girls just like you, have defied odds and triumphed. I see here today, brave young ladies who will grow up to be bold women who will make a positive difference in the world. Expand your horizons and challenge attitudes not only for your generation but to pave the way and support the success of the young girls in generations to come,” Caballero continued.
Following her address, the enthusiastic group of girls received an interactive and in-depth presentation from GSMA Head of Technology (North America), Carlos Bosch, and Project Manager of Engineering, Judith Azcunes. They were introduced to computing via Raspberry Pi (small multi-purpose computer), Unix Commands and even began construction of a voice project test device similar to Amazon’s ‘Alexa’.
Fourteen year-old, Princess Foster of San Fernando East Secondary, was deeply engrossed in the presentations and the hands-on activities that would further expand her knowledge of ICT.
“I’m fascinated with computing, decoding and decrypting because I’d like to further my studies in this field,” said Foster. “Technology is a part of our everyday lives, so the more I can learn about it now, I would become more capable of handling the tasks presented to me. Even though the tech industry is male-dominated, Girls in ICT Day helps us understand that we can help make that shift and change. Programmes such as these give girls a chance to express themselves in different ways and prove that we can do the same things that men can do.”