“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.” — J.K. Rowling
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Lama Ahmad. I’m a second year Lebanese-American student at New York University’s global program based in Abu Dhabi. I was born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan my whole life before making the big move across the world to study in Abu Dhabi. I’m double majoring in Interactive Media & Technology, and Social Research & Public Policy with a minor in Computer Science. Back in high school, I was voted most likely to become President. Little did I know, I was going to become President (just not in the way you might expect!). I’m currently president of an amazing student community called weSTEM (women empowered in STEM) that would open the doors to so many opportunities and the chance to meet and be inspired by amazing women everyday. I’m so fortunate to be able to host workshops and events to promote women in STEM in my community.
What # would define your life journey?
My favorite hashtag is, #SheInspiresMe. I think it’s so important to have strong female role models to look up to along your journey, and I hope to be somebody’s role model someday.
Favorite website, app, or other tech tool:
Lately, I’m loving the iOS Podcast App! Being a student on the go with lots of work, I’m always looking ways to feed my need for new content, and podcasts have been a great way for me to do just that. One of my favorite’s is NPR’s Invisibilia http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510307/invisibilia, and (shameless plug!) I’ve started one of my own with weSTEM at NYUAD called The STEMinist https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-steminist/id1178439941?mt=2
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My mother is and always will be my biggest inspiration. In a world that is constantly emphasizing achievement, we forget to celebrate some of the biggest influencers behind these achievements – the mothers that have raised strong daughters who go after their dreams unrelentingly, like my mother, who always reminds me to stay humble, help others, and follow my dreams.
Song that makes you want to dance or makes you feel strong:
Whenever I need a pick me up, I listen to “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
When I entered University, I was confused about the direction I wanted to take my life and overwhelmed by the idea that the choice I was making was going to define the rest of my path.
When I started on the path to computer science, I struggled to consolidate my identity and passions with the classes I was taking – and something felt missing. I knew that I wanted to be involved with technology and understand it on a deeper level, but I also knew that there are extremely important social, political, and policy implications surrounding technology that I wanted to learn about. I finally realized that there was not a one way path to expressing my passion for technology, and followed my heart to finding the right majors that fit my academic and career path.
Technology is at the heart of all of our lives — and there is a growing divide between those who use, and those who create technology. The top tech companies are impacting billions of people everyday, yet the people behind these decisions represent a homogenous demographic.
I want to be a part of shaping and creating policies between governments, people, and technology companies that provide equitable and ethical uses of technology that is inclusive of women and minorities. Whether this takes shape as an educator, policy maker, or something else, is yet to be seen! I’m optimistic for my future and the future of women and minorities in tech.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Get out of your comfort zone — travel often, try something new, talk to the person next to you in the coffee shop, then educate others. As women, we need to create an expectation that women are as good as any other person in science, technology, or elsewhere. This is why we need to foster belief in young girls about their own ability to achieve. Build communities to inspire and educate the women and men around you with positive affirmations, open discussions, and shared knowledge.
Check out The STEMinist https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-steminist/id1178439941?mt=2