D3's Christensen mentors girls in IT field

The name of the event really says it all – Girl Power Tech.

Allyson Christensen of the Information Technology (IT) team in District 3 was recently asked to attend a mentoring opportunity at her former school, Stevens-Henager College, by the Dean of Computer Science at that college. Put on by Cisco Networking, the event allows girls of grade school and college age the opportunity to listen to women currently working in the IT field, some of whom have had to work their way through trials and tribulations to get to where they are.

The special guest speaker on the international live broadcast May 2 was Alphonsine Anderson (Imaniraguha), originally from Rwanda and now a network engineer for Cisco.

When she was 13, a mass genocide in her home country claimed the life of both of her parents and two of her siblings. This left her, just a kid herself, to raise the rest of her three siblings. She was able to take care of them and also get a full-ride scholarship to a school in Rwanda. She moved to the United States in 2006 to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York for her Master's Degree.

Following her schooling, she created a nonprofit for orphans in underdeveloped countries called Rising Above the Storm. The nonprofit provides kids with clothing, school, water, and other supplies that help them accomplish their dreams.

"She discussed how important schooling is for everyone, not just engineers or technicians," Christensen explained. "Schooling is how she got where she is now, and what she wants every kid, no matter where they live, to experience."

Christensen was able to network with several other influential women in the IT community around the Boise area, including women from CodeWorks, STEM, and high-school counselors.

"This was a great opportunity to help plan what needs to be done to get girls a look inside at how the industry works around our area," she explained.

Here's a link to the Girls Power Tech site.

Published 05-17-19