And we check in with Afghanistan’s first all-girls robotics team.
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15 August 2019 | Volume 2, Issue 4
  A note from our editor:
Do you like the limelight or prefer to work behind the scenes? Are your decisions guided by data and research, or do you follow your heart?

Take our new quiz to find out your leadership style — and which young female activist matches your personality. Don’t forget to share your results on social media and tag @MalalaFund. l already posted mine!

Also in this issue, 18-year-old Burmese refugee Bawi takes us along for a week in her life, which includes preparing to give the valedictorian speech at her high school graduation. We check in with Afghanistan’s first all-girls robotics team, who made headlines two years ago when they were initially denied a visa for a competition in the U.S. And 18-year-old Karina Popovich writes about the transformative potential of 3D printers and how she helps more students make use of this game-changing technology.

Happy quiz taking!

Leadership quiz
Answer a few questions and we’ll tell you which young female leader matches your personality.
Roll Call
A week in the life of a Burmese refugee
Bawi Burmese refugee

Meet Bawi.

Country: U.S., born in Myanmar
I’m currently listening to: "Goodbye Road" by iKON
My favourite item of clothing is: Bucket hats
My worst habit is: Procrastination
The last book I read: “Making Accountable Decisions: A Journey to an Accountable Life” by Sam Silverstein
I feel confident when: I know what I’m doing
I’m inspired by: People and art
I love to eat: Rice, fried eggs and ramen

This morning, I woke up at 9:30 a.m. One of the perks of finishing school is being able to wake up as late as I want. I got ready for the day by washing my face, brushing my teeth and putting in my contacts. I was planning to get to my friend’s house by 11 a.m. so that I could buy my dress and shoes for graduation. However, that didn’t work out so I cancelled and changed back to my comfortable clothes. Then I spent an hour and a half watching “Sherlock Holmes” with my brother before working on my graduation speech.

I felt immense pressure as I wrote my speech. I wanted my words to be impactful and memorable. Before today, I had already changed my speech twice. I wanted this to be my last time changing it. After finishing the draft, I contacted my writing coach. I was fearful that she would decline to help because she was only obligated to help me on a research paper assigned by a scholarship program that I was accepted into. Fortunately, she agreed to help and I felt so relieved and happy.

To de-stress, I took a walk on a trail near my house with my brother. We talked about how to effectively think and improve oneself and how everything links back to God. After our talk, I realized that the only reason I am the valedictorian of my school is due to God. Had God not blessed my efforts, I would not be able to achieve all that I have thus far.

Today, I woke up at 7:55 a.m. As soon as I woke up, I had to watch the soup that my sister started to cook. I also watered our garden while listening to a sermon called, “The Paradox of Progress.” In the sermon, Pastor Furtick explained that, as a society, we don’t celebrate those that do the right thing consistently, but those that do the right thing occasionally. The lines resonated with me.

In the afternoon, my brother and I took a walk on the trail and I practiced riding a skateboard. Then, I called the housing service of my college to ask about the rates and the payment methods for dorms. What I learned scared me because it made me realize I will have to take loans. Loads of questions came to mind. Will I be able to pay the loans back? Will it be worth it? These worries slowly drowned my consciousness and rational thinking.

Read more.
Girl profile
Two years since emerging on the international stage, Afghanistan’s first all-girls robotics team continues to spread hope in their country
Afghanistan's first all-girls robotic team
By Bhumika Regmi
A lot has changed for the first all-girls robotics team from Afghanistan since they were denied visas into the U.S. for a robotics tournament — a widely-publicised story that captured the world’s attention.

The team members, who call themselves the Afghan Dreamers, have travelled to Mexico, Estonia and Germany, won awards at Robotex International and FIRST Robotics World Championships, and rubbed shoulders with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands.

But these young women don’t rest on their laurels — they're already focused on their next challenge: giving other girls in Afghanistan the opportunity to study STEM.

“We didn’t want the story of robotics to finish with our team. We wanted other girls to be here, to work in this field,” explains 16-year-old Fatemah, the team’s captain. The Afghan Dreamers formed through a nationwide search run by Digital Citizen Fund (DCF), a nonprofit that helps girls and women around the world access technology and learn the skills they need to work in today’s labour market. The lucky winners of DCF’s contest — Fatemah, 17-year-olds Kawsar, Lida and Saghar, and 16-year-old Somaya — went on to compete at the FIRST Robotics World Championships.

With DCF, the Afghan Dreamers hold weekly workshops in Kabul and Herat to teach girls the basics of robotics. Almost 600 girls attend their trainings each year. The team wants to go beyond the workshops to create even more of an impact in Afghanistan, where 3.5 million children are out of school, 85% of which are girls. “Tech is the future and girls in tech means a better economy,” says Saghar. That’s why the Afghan Dreamers now advocate for STEAM-based formal education in Afghanistan. They want students to be able to compete in a workforce that is becoming increasingly more reliant on technology.
Student essay
3D printing is revolutionizing our world, but not enough students have access to this game-changing technology
3D printing
By Karina Popovich
When I first used a 3D printer as a freshman in high school, I was mesmerized by its power to create something out of nothing. It is an intuitive yet complex idea to stack thin layers of plastic on top of each other to build an object with volume. And I’m not the only one captivated by the potential of this technology. From making medical equipment to car parts and dresses, 3D printers are transforming the fields of health care, defense, manufacturing, construction and fashion. Research predicts that the 3D printing market will grow to $34.8 billion by 2024.

The future of 3D printing is bright, but not enough students have access to this game-changing technology. From personal experience, I know that the costs of buying and maintaining 3D printers are too high for many schools. There are very few studies showing the positive impact of 3D printing on students’ education and not enough statistics measuring the number of students in the U.S. who don’t have access to 3D printers. Although understanding 3D printing is becoming one of the most valuable skills in the modern labor market, the U.S. government has not announced plans for a country-wide initiative to introduce students to 3D printing.

As a high school student, I saw the transformative power of 3D printing in the classroom when I volunteered as an after-school robotics teacher at a public elementary school in Brooklyn, New York. While teaching my students to build a bionic arm, I used my high school’s 3D printer to make the necessary parts. My students were amazed that a printer had created these unique pieces. They asked about the striations (ridges) that are a result of the layering and were delighted when they realized how simple the process is. They couldn’t stop asking me about it.
Get published in Assembly!
  Assembly publishes original work by girls, for girls. And we would love to include your voice! Send us your ideas and you could be featured in the next issue.
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