Meet Sumayah Adegbite, a 15-year-old seeking to empower girls between 13-18 with STEM skills

Omoleye Omoruyi
Sumayah Adegbite, 15, started her journey into tech at age 5, when she would do things like Powerpoint presentations, then 2D and 3D animations…
Sumayah Adegbite
Sumayah Adegbite

The girl-child is only beginning to find more space to become indispensable and have a strong voice in society, but the journey still has some distance. Sumayah Adegbite wants to help young girls like her become techies, too, which is the reason, she is a co-founder at @thegirlstechie.

Alongside her team, she “empowers and connects young girls to STEM skills,” knowing that women are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers.

Sumayah Adegbite, 15, started her journey into tech at age five, when she would do things like Powerpoint presentations, then 2D and 3D animations, before she began coding at nine. By age ten, she had learned Python, but because her instructor advised her to learn something new, she moved on to Scratch.

Indeed, the role model intervention in having more girls working in STEM, where popular faces go into schools to talk to them about their careers, increases their likelihood of choosing a STEM career, but Sumayah’s story is different.

She is not a popular face but is an inspiration to girls like her – especially those who use social media.

With @thegirlstechie, Sumayah Adegbite aims to bridge the gap of labour gender gap in highly technological and mathematical careers.

The beginning

Sumayah started on solid ground. “Her parents, relatives, and schoolmates” were her first role models.

“They made me understand what tech was. Without their help, I would not have known what tech was,” Sumayah says.

Notably, her dad was interested in exposing her to AI, and “that’s why he asked me to learn the Python language.” But, she dropped Python at some point.

Sumayah Adegbite
Sumayah Adegbite

From Python to Mobile/Web Development

Sumayah journeyed into mobile/web development when Python was not working. Now, she currently works as a Flutter developer, but her everyday coding activities make her sound like an adult.

“I am supposed to work from 9 am-1 pm. But, sometimes, if my code isn’t working, I have to work up until night, sometimes overnight, especially if I want to get the results as soon as possible.”

Read also: A chat with Ikram Babs-Lawal about being a machine learning engineer, and co-founder at 14

Sumayah Adegbite and the world

Sumayah just finished high school and wants to keep playing an active role in the tech space and is keen on solving problems for African society. The reason she is currently working on a full-stack project – a site similar to Pexels – but will only have pictures of black people.

“My sister wanted to make a video, and she checked online but could not find African photos, especially on Shutterstock.” This was Sumayah’s inspiration.

She is the only one working on it, and she says it has been challenging, knowing that she first has to search and use existing photos. Then, she has to get a license and has to find models to work with photographers effectively.

Amid that, she wants to continue her education and is taking A’level courses to prepare her for university.

Sumayah says to other young Nigerians…

Like the Nike tagline, Sumayah says, “just start.” She adds that people who don’t know where to start or are afraid to start should just pick up the bucket to fetch the water.

It is easier to focus on a field that interests you. If you love playing games, you should be learning game development.

Sumayah Adegbite.

She also says young people can start with Udemy, a platform that has pre-recorded videos of the courses offered, making it easier for people to learn.

About The Girls Techie

With The Girls Techie, Sumayah and her team want to empower girls between 13-18 with STEM skills. The ultimate aim is to build a community of young girls with the same interests.

“In our research, we found a low percentage of girls in STEM in Africa because these young girls usually do not have anyone who inspires them.”

The community uses the peer-to-peer model to inspire themselves to keep doing better. “If she could do that, that means I could,” Sumayah says that’s the main reason The Girls Techie was established.

Continuing on communities, Sumayah recommends AltSchool Africa and GenZTechies, where “you will be inspired by young people doing amazing things.”

Interestingly, Sumayah also likes to take photos with her camera, and that is how she unwinds.

Watch the full video here:

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