Fulbright Scholar Helps Afghan Women Start Businesses and Work in Technology
From her humanitarian work in Afghanistan to earning a Fulbright scholarship, Seddiqa Mohammad Hussein '23 knows how to make an impact.
Born and raised in Bamyan, Afghanistan, Seddiqa is a humanitarian currently pursuing a master’s degree in information systems at Stevens. In May 2018, Seddiqa earned her bachelor’s degree in software engineering at American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. After she earned her bachelor’s degree, Seddiqa worked as a web and app developer, and then she returned to Afghanistan to engage in humanitarian work.
In her home country, Seddiqa discovered her passion for assisting people impacted by inequality. “Decades of war in Afghanistan has dramatically impacted all people, leaving Afghan women among the most vulnerable,” Seddiqa said. “There were few women in the tech industry, and that urged me to be more passionate about helping Afghan women choose their path in tech. The tech industry has long been a male-dominated area, and that’s why I want to help Afghan women find their paths into it.”
In September 2020, Seddiqa joined the Norwegian Refugee Council in Afghanistan to help provide relief for women and children dealing with the effects of civil war, pandemics, and natural disasters.
At the Norwegian Refugee Council, Seddiqa worked in the area of livelihood and food security, and she provided life skills training for displaced people. She also promoted livelihood strategies that protect, recover and strengthen individuals' and households' abilities to earn a living.
“We helped women and youth start their small businesses by equipping them with necessary business skills through mentoring programs and start-up cash grants to help women and youth generate their own income,” Seddiqa said.
Seddiqa was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to recognize her accomplishments and continue her education in the United States. The Fulbright scholarship is a globally-recognized, prestigious scholarship program that allows students to study in the US and other countries each year.
“I was among many Afghans who applied for the award but among few who were granted,” Seddiqa said. “Earning my master’s through Fulbright and building a professional network here in the United States will equip me with the necessary expertise and knowledge to serve my people upon return to my home country.”
Seddiqa said she chose Stevens for the world-class curriculum, the faculty, and the 15-minute bus ride to New York. “The curriculum and the courses in this degree will address the necessary skills and expertise that I need for my career upon my return to Afghanistan,” she said. “These courses are tied with my future plans and work area in business and entrepreneurship. I also found faculty here at Stevens professional with many years of experience.”
Once Seddiqa graduates, she anticipates moving back to Afghanistan to continue humanitarian work and encouraging women to join the technology industry.
“Afghanistan is in dire needs of expertise in different sectors, especially in technology,” Seddiqa said. “I intend to work with organizations doing humanitarian work for sustainable development of the country. My expertise in business analytics combined with my leadership knowledge, will put me in a position to lead projects in non-profit organizations.”