#STEMWOW WEEK 65

Meet Ons Kharrat, Coach in First Skills Club

Ons Kharrat is a Pioneer High School student. She coaches mobile apps development and robotics in First Skills Club, a Tunisian educative association, since three years. Her mission is to help young Tunisian learners (aged between 10 and 17 years old) use modern technology tools in a positive way that will empower their abilities to have access to higher education and create remarkable change in their community. 

Ons’ bio

Ons Kharrat is a Pioneer High School student. She coaches mobile apps development and robotics in First Skills Club, a Tunisian educative association, since three years. Her mission is to help young Tunisian learners (aged between 10 and 17 years old) use modern technology tools in a positive way that will empower their abilities to have access to higher education and create remarkable change in their community. 

After inspiring teens in her community, she was selected to join the 2017 TechGirls exchange program. This life changing experience at the US empowered her personally and academically as it increased her access to resources and networks that helped her implement the lessons learned during the program back home. 

She was selected to be one of the 5 members representing Tunisia in the FIRST Global, a yearly international robotics challenge taking place in Mexico City. 
The mission of this challenge is to address the world’s most pressing issues by inspiring science and technology leadership in young people from all nations.
The Tunisian team had an outstanding performance by being the first and only robotics team to ever bring back home 4 awards. 

Ons holds the belief that we have to do our best to empower youth as they represent the future of every country. 

 

 

Why did you get into STEM?

My curiosity and desire of discovering modern technologies and positively improving them and taking part in their evolution guided me to STEM fields. Added to that, at an early age, I was fortunate to meet two creative STEM leaders who were on their path of founding the outstanding Tunisian educative association, First Skills Club. I immediately joined them in hopes of sensitizing Tunisian youth and helping them realize that STEM fields are an essential part of our competitive and fast growing globe.

Furthermore, being part of STEM did not only empower me on numerous levels but also helped me implement innovative and sustainable change in my community by benefiting from the cutting-edge technologies.      

 

What do you consider your greatest achievements?

Taking advantage of all the opportunities that have crossed my path to empower myself and those around me is an achievement that I highly value. I also feel privileged of succeeding in creating a coaching curriculum that reflects my First Skills Club mentors’ efforts in guiding and empowering me.

And from the beginning of my coaching efforts onwards, my biggest success is seeing in the eyes of my mentees the desire of becoming coaches to inspire other students and to lead the change in our community. Moreover, seeing the change in the kids’ personality and behavior satisfied their parents. And my mentees played an important role in changing their parents’ mentality. My story also inspired some of my high school teachers who decided to start transmitting their knowledge in a funny and educative way.

Finally, I feel thrilled of succeeding in being a qualified candidate, representing my country abroad and raising our flag higher and higher among other nations.   

 

What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?

I felt the pressure of being expected to prove my professional capacities repeatedly for both my community and family members. Moreover, back in the years, I used to be questioned about my ability of accomplishing my goals and couple of people has even assumed that I won’t be able to reach high-level positions.  

Added to that, it was highly challenging to balance between my projects and my studies as I was working hard to ensure an equal division of time and efforts between my responsibilities to finally enjoy the pleasure of success.

Furthermore, I struggled in convincing Tunisian teens that extracellular activities are not a waste of time and that they must be aware of the importance of civic engagement.

 

What is your advice to budding women in STEM?

Don’t feel discouraged and believe in your capacities and abilities of becoming transformative leaders and of overcoming the obstacles you face. I also advise you to network with other women around you and to work together for a mutual empowerment goal. Likewise, there are lots of opportunities out there, that’s why your hard work and commitment will surly payoff and you will succeed in finding an adequate life changing experience.  Finally, be the change you want to see in others and put your time and efforts in the younger generations because today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders.

About Ons

Ons Kharrat is a Pioneer High School student. She coaches mobile apps development and robotics in First Skills Club, a Tunisian educative association, since three years. Her mission is to help young Tunisian learners (aged between 10 and 17 years old) use modern technology tools in a positive way that will empower their abilities to have access to higher education and create remarkable change in their community. 

COUNTRY

Tunisia 🇹🇳

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