Azerbaijani students participated in STEM AI Bootcamp for girls by Microsoft

A group of 3 female students from Azerbaijan led by their role model teacher participated at a four-day seminar that took place in Greece with the theme “Alice envisions the future – How Artificial Intelligence can impact the way we see the world” organized by Microsoft. The core purpose of the bootcamp was to inspire over 160 students aged 15-17 to pursue their interest in science and technology, dispelling the myths that surround careers in STEM and inspiring them to take control of their future careers and realize their dreams.

Alice is a girl who does not stop dreaming, is always seeking new experiences and is hungry for knowledge. She is curious, creative and has the stubbornness to think that things can always be better. We all know an Alice, and want her to achieve the dreams she has created for herself in Wonderland. And with her ideas and determination, this Wonderland could become a reality!

According to recent surveys conducted by Microsoft, despite the fact that technology is developing and creating exceptional opportunities for professional development, only 42% of girls said they would consider a STEM-related career in the future. There are numerous explanations for this reluctance, including the perception among 60% of respondents that men and women are treated unequally in STEM-related professions.

“Thanks to AI Bootcamp I’ve gained priceless experience and new international friends. It’s a great honor for me to be one of the ambassadors of Microsoft in Azerbaijan. I want to pursue my career as a doctor and apply my technical skills in building better solutions using the strength of Artificial Intelligence”, – told Laman Alipashayeva, the student of the Gymnasium of Natural Sciences.

Another crucial factor in whether girls show interest in STEM subjects both now and in later life is the presence of a role model. Microsoft research released in 2018 found that the number of girls interested in STEM almost doubles when they have a role model (26% of girls without a role model report an interest in STEM subjects, compared to 41% with role models). The impact of this extends beyond school, with the same research finding that 51% of girls who have a role model able to imagine a future career in STEM.

“AI Bootcamp has served as a great inspiration for me. Having access on new technology, working on Minecraft Games, making robots and taking part in different workshops helped me to fully understand innovative technologies like AI and to get direction for my future career. After this event I have realized that one of my dreams is to apply Artificial Intelligence in the oil sector and work for Microsoft”, – noted Firangiz Suleymanova, the student of the Gymnasium of Natural Sciences.

The inspiration behind this event has been to equip girls with an understanding of innovative technologies like Artificial Intelligence and ensure they have the skills they need to build their future.

This is only the first step that Microsoft is taking towards a bigger, long lasting initiative in the CEE region to address the impact of Artificial Intelligence in the present, and prepare the next generation for a better digital future. Microsoft is making investments to ensure young creators – from primary school children to post graduate students – have access to the latest technology and develop a vision for a better tomorrow. In this respect, Microsoft is looking to partner with Ministries of Education across CEE to ensure that students are empowered and build the right skills for their future.
“Highlights of the event were keynote presentations, current and perspective applications of artificial intelligence technologies, interactive hackathons, Microsoft’s educational applications, Azure cognitive, cloud services, engineering basics, Microbyte, Lego brainstorm and Minecraft. By working with this interactive technology our girls gained valuable experience and knowledge. They have learned the basics of creating Azure cognitive services, face recognition, chat bot services. In the future they are planning to apply these technologies to their projects, for example Pictofy team will use the Azure face recognition service.” – noted Leyla Taghizade, Co-founder, Growth Officer at Social Innovation Lab.

An inspirational conference addressed to the new generation

With the participation of exceptional international speakers, but also through a series of interactive events and workshops, Microsoft will enable participants to discover capabilities created by the world of Artificial Intelligence, providing them with an unprecedented experience and an opportunity to make their dream come true.