Home country's lack of technology inspires Informatics student

By Shanzay Shabi Tuesday, April 2, 2024

During a trip to Eritrea, Nobel Menghis noticed the lack of access to technology in his home country. Fueled by a desire to make technology more accessible, Menghis has dedicated his education and career to achieving this goal.  

Menghis, a third-year Informatics student at the University of Washington, recently received the Larsen Family Endowed Scholarship and a second award from the Information School Scholarship Fund, supported by alumni and donors. 

“I am so grateful and amazed to have been selected for these scholarships,” said Menghis. “It has lessened the financial burden of higher education and allowed me to focus more on my education and career.” 

His passion for technology stems from the disparities he noticed between the experiences of his family in Eritrea and what he sees in the U.S.

“While visiting my family and playing with my younger cousins in Eritrea, I noticed a significant lack of technology,” said Menghis. “It made me understand how we often take for granted the technology and technical education available to us in the United States. It was this realization that made me want to transition my career into making technology accessible.” 

After starting as an undergraduate at UW Bothell, Menghis transferred to the iSchool last fall to pursue his newfound passion.

“After reading about the iSchool, I immediately felt like the program’s values and commitment to inclusivity and community service aligned perfectly with my vision of making software accessible for students and underrepresented communities,” said Menghis. 

At the iSchool, Menghis has gotten involved with all kinds of projects to help him further his understanding of software development and technology education. Among these extracurriculars is his involvement with the intergenerational design team KidsTeam UW. Menghis volunteered with KidsTeam UW over the summer, working with children ages 7-11 and helping co-design new technologies and learning activities. 

Jason Yip, associate professor at the iSchool and director of KidsTeam UW, admires Menghis’ work ethic and drive. 

“Nobel was very good at engaging with the kids and making the learning process enjoyable for them. He also took the initiative to tackle and develop ideas for the curriculum topics we were teaching students like misinformation,” said Yip. “He’s very ambitious and I’m sure he will accomplish amazing things.”  

Menghis is also an IT intern with the city of Lynnwood, working with different departments to troubleshoot technical issues and gaining valuable industry experience. He hopes to continue developing his technical understanding of software post-graduation. 

In the long run, Menghis aspires to leverage the skills and knowledge he has gained during his time at the iSchool to give back to the community. 

“I hope to start a non-profit that provides technologies to underrepresented communities, whether that be within Seattle or back in Eritrea,” said Menghis. “I hope to not only supply technology but also to empower technology use within those communities by expanding access to technical education and training.”