We got to know Miss Kokab Khalid at the Rajeev Circle Fellowship, where she visited Silicon Valley (USA) as part of the first MJTechWomen cohort from Pakistan. Kokab identifies as a "Maker"; someone passionate about the DIY (do-it-yourself) culture, and and as someone actively championing it across Pakistan. She is both educator and student, with science and IT as her passionate hobby and profession. One of her major interests is additive manufacturing, better known as 3D modeling. Passion for coding intrigued her to design her own CNC machine (Computer Numerical Control machines form part of the manufacturing sector that uses computers to control mechanical tools). She also fabricated her first CNC router using completely local resources, and have utilized both the machine and router to apply intricate design to wood carvings, producing particularly elaborate home furniture. You can check out her work here, here, and here too.
We asked Kokab to share some of her life story with Women Engineers Pakistan, and following is what Kokab had to say for upcoming youngsters within STEM fields in Pakistan:
I am Kokab Khalid, CEO of MakerSTEM.
I belong to Peshawar, where at that time women mostly didn’t prefer to come to IT fields and choose IT as a profession.
Still, I chose IT as my field of education and work. I challenged the norms, but my love for IT pushed me forward. At that time it was a difficult decision, but I took it anyway.
My struggle began right there, because at that time I was the only female student in my class; my class fellows made fun of me; my society did not support me.
They always questioned my decision, asking questions like "What can she do in this field?" and, "Why did she choose such a male-dominant profession?"
Now however, the resistance of this society has ignited passion within me to encourage, engage and empower more women in technology.
From the beginning, I had interest in subjects like computer science, math and statistics. I did well in these subjects, and so these subjects helped me a lot in building my career as a tech-educator and later, as an entrepreneur.
Life was not easy, I faced lot of hurdles in it. I struggled all the time, but never did I think about the naysayers, or paid heed to what they thought of me. I just worked hard consistently, and never thought about quitting.
For me to find the ascension of efforts would be to see new comers in the field come together, share each others' knowledge and network together for sustainable development in technology.
Who inspired you to STEM forward?
Do you know any extraordinary Woman in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine? Help us Nominate Role Models for the coming generation!