TechWomen, EDUTEK and CyArk: Inspiring Young Minds

by Mariam Haidar
September 30, 2016

The TechWomen program empowers the next generation of women leaders in the technology field by bringing women in Northern California with their counterparts in the MENA region for a professional mentorship and exchange program at leading technology companies in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area.

As a computer science graduate, and having worked in the education sector for almost 10 years across Lebanon and Syria approaching different curriculums, then working as an area manager and program manager for the Digital Opportunity Trust Lebanon; a nongovernmental organization headquartered in Canada, that eradicates poverty, vulnerability and gender inequality by giving all people the skills and knowledge to use technology to achieve educational, social and economic opportunities. All of this helped inspire my passion for STEAM education and hence join the Arab Women Entrepreneurship Program. After graduating in 2004, I started my own STEAM education center, EDUTEK.

Lebanon is a centralized country where everything is mostly approachable in the capital, Beirut. So EDUTEK was found in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, where opportunities are not so abundant, in order to provide all kids and youth in my area, the exposure to STEAM education. 

My goal is to build young, confident minds by using project-based learning and to strengthen participants’ 21st century skills including: digital literacy, problem solving, and of course, collaboration. I am passionate about STEAM education and digital inclusion as a solution for better learning experiences. I joined the TechWomen program to gain exposure to the latest technologies and methodologies of introducing and integrating STEAM into curriculum and how to scale up my business and transform it to an academy which can serve more students.

As one of the emerging leaders of the TechWomen 2016 program I was hosted at CyArk, a non-profit organization with the mission of using new technologies to create a free, 3D online library of the world's cultural heritage sites before they are lost to natural disasters, destroyed by human aggression or ravaged by the passage of time.

During my mentorship period, the focus has been on developing project based lessons and digital educational resources in order to make students more connected with their heritage in a more interactive way, have a deeper understanding of the different cultures and raise their awareness of the importance of preserving their heritage and the crisis ISIS is doing by also destroying our cultural heritage in the middle east.

The project focused on three main areas:

  1. Providing students with a virtual experience of visiting archeological sites while they are at their classrooms, by using the 3D archeological data created by CyArk.
  2. Providing teachers with the guidance and instructions on how to document objects and transform them into 3D prints using different Autodesk design programs.
  3. Giving teachers guidance on how to integrate the archeological sites in their lessons in order to make the learning experience more interactive and engaging, introduce students to STEAM education through different technologies and integrating these tools with different subjects such as mathematics, arts, and sciences.

The educational resources will be published on and other different platforms, so teachers back in Lebanon, or around the world, can integrate them in their classrooms. 

Tech Woman, and EDUTEK founder, Mariam Haidar