Written by volunteer Alison Perch
As a woman in tech, Nayonna Purnell recognizes the importance of mentors and role models in the industry. Nayonna is an educator, though she was inspired to change careers after attending a talk by tech entrepreneur Yasmine Mustafa. Yasmine’s story helped Nayonna see the benefits of a career in technology.
“I was drawn to the fact that I could be creative, build cool things, and have a more flexible schedule to be with my family,” Nayonna says.
Now, Nayonna is a full-stack developer and a computer science student at Montgomery County College. As an educator, she wanted to continue helping young people during her career transition. “I did a ton of research and found TechGirlz and immediately joined,” Nayonna says.
Nayonna has volunteered as a TechGirlz instructor and TA, and she is inspired by the girls’ energy and enthusiasm. “I am at times surprised at how fast the girls absorb and embrace the information. I love to see the end results of their projects,” Nayonna explains.
Nayonna enjoys interacting with middle school students, instructors, and TAs from various backgrounds. She recognizes that early exposure to technology can make a big difference. “TechGirlz provides opportunities and supports that I did not have growing up. No one took the time to introduce me to different technologies. Perhaps my career path may have been different. Therefore, I collaborate with TechGirlz to help other young women get the opportunity and exposure that I would have loved to have,” Nayonna says.
As a lifelong learner, Nayonna enjoys attending tech meetups and learning new programming languages in her spare time. She builds websites and apps, and she’s interested in exploring virtual reality development.
For anyone on the fence about volunteering, Nayonna offers the following words of encouragement: “I would highly recommend one to volunteer with TechGirlz. It is a great experience meeting other people from different walks of life. You get to help the girls reach a goal and you are all learning from one another.”
To become a TechGirlz volunteer like Nayonna, visit our Volunteer page and sign up today!