On June 4, 2022, SWE Nairobi put together a Speed Mentoring event at Nova Pioneer Girls High School. The school hosts the Nova Pioneer Tatu Girls’ SWENext Club (the first to be registered in the region). We have a soft spot for the girls and their club.
The event hosted 122 girls, which was a larger number than anticipated (we had planned for half that number). There were 18 mentors, both professionals and students, from various industries (academia, telecommunications engineering, agricultural engineering, aeronautical engineering, biotechnology and computer science) present. This event was held in collaboration with Safaricom 47/47 whom we have collaborated with on numerous occasions.
Speed Mentoring entails having a series of short conversations about specific questions. These conversations involve one-on-one interaction between a mentor and a mentee. The girls were split into groups, owing to the large number that turned up. Each group spent 15 minutes with a mentor before the rotation. Mentor profiles had been shared before the event enabling the girls to prepare most of their questions in advance. The girls were exposed to several mentors within a short period. It was an excellent knowledge-sharing experience and an awesome opportunity for them to start building their networks.
The event served as an opportunity to introduce the girls to a diverse pool of professions in the STEM field. The different career paths taken by the mentors were highlighted. A lot of emphasis was put on the transition process from high school to university and tips on the actualization of goals. The study-life balance and challenges affecting the modern-day teenager were areas of interest that were addressed by the mentors.
All this happened in two and a half hours. It was a fun and highly interactive session and both mentors and mentees made the most out of it. The mentors not only got an opportunity to nurture the next generation of STEM professionals but also had an opportunity to network with one another (as most of them were meeting each other for the first time) and learn more about SWE from the SWE Nairobi team.