Arab American Business & Professional Association

Event Summary
On March 9th, 2020. Our Emerging Leader Esraa Aburass held an event at Aqsa School inviting girls and parents from all ages to participate and be a part of a great change. The event aimed to share the importance of STEM for girls and women in our Arab community and how to change the stereotype that links masculinity to Technology. The event was open to the public and approximately 32 people were in attendance. Three different women’s speakers from different background in the STEM fields have shared their unique stories and how they were able to reach where they are right now.

Esraa started her remarks by explaining the importance of changing the outdate cultural norms and traditions to drive excitement in the next generation rather than reinforcing old traditions that stops girls and women from seeking education. Esraa along her co-worker introduced one of the Sponsors for that event” Society of Women Engineer” who’s vision to create a world with Gender parity and equality in engineering and technology. They also introduced different programs girls can be apart within that organization.

Siham Hussein was one of the speakers at the event, a Software Engineer working with Google made her remarks on explaining the life of a Software Engineer and her path to Google. As an Arab women  Engineer, she explained the struggle she faced while pursuing the engineering field. Patricia Barker, a retired Civil Engineer also explained what is engineering and the risks she had taken to fit in with a male dominated field. Barker served 15 years as a village Engineer for the Village of Bridgview. The event ended with the last speaker of the night; Robin Pals Rylaaarsdam, the dean of the College of Arts and Science at Saint Xavier University who is also has gained her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics. She explained her path into the STEM field and how she ended at Saint Xavier University.

The last half an hour of the event was for networking among girls and the speakers and an activity with the girls to teach them the trick of Ring and Chain. People from all ages were very engaged throughout the event.