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Celebrating San Francisco’s 2,000th Interview with TechWomen!

Posted on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012.

San Francisco StoryCorps celebrates the 2,000th interview recorded at our StoryBooth!

The participants in this milestone recording, Yara Ahmed (L) and Ayori Selassie (R), each received a copy of a StoryCorps bestselling book to honor the occasion. Here’s Yara and Ayori posing in front of the booth, with their interview facilitator Frank Kingman, and the happy participants after the recording session:

Facilitator Frank Kingman (L), Yara Ahmed (C) and Ayori Selassie (R)

Facilitator Frank Kingman (L), Yara Ahmed (C) and Ayori Selassie (R)

Yara and Ayori were one of several interview pairs that recorded through the State Department’s TechWomen 2012 Program, a unique mentorship program. With an intensive and hands-on mentorship model, TechWomen pairs women working in technology-centered jobs and programs in the Middle East and North Africa with their U.S. counterparts in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each program participant from the Middle East and North Africa is matched with a professional mentor in a related job or field that they shadow and work alongside for the full three weeks. Participants are also matched with a social mentor who acts as a cultural liaison and introduces them to the Bay Area’s many activities and destinations. The program “connects and supports the next generation of women in technology sectors by providing them the access and opportunity needed to pursue careers in technology.” As the five-week program drew to a close, mentor/mentee pairs came to the StoryCorps booth to reflect on what they’d learned through their experiences in the program and the many lasting friendships they’d formed with each other.

Suna Taymaz (L) and Baya Chekired (R)

Suna Taymaz (L) and Baya Chekired (R)

For many of the mentees, it was their first time in the United States, and also the longest time spent far away from their home countries. On a professional level, as many of the participants noted in their recording sessions, it was an incredible introduction to some of the most cutting-edge jobs in the technology sector. For some of the U.S. mentors, it was their first time getting to know women from the Middle East and North Africa. It was also a unique opportunity for both the women from the U.S. and their MENA counterparts to draw connections in their shared experience as women working in a male-dominated field. On top of the valuable professional development the women undoubtedly gained, the program fostered close friendships and important cultural exchange that will continue long past the program.

TechWomen is just one of many organizations, projects, and schools we’ve partner with here in San Francisco to record the stories of their community members. For a full list of our community recording partners click here.

Contact us to record interviews with your organization, program, or community group by emailing us at

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