I was saw excited the first time when I came across the Atlas Corps Fellowship in 2019 through the international opportunities portal. It was exactly what I was looking for mixing my professional and personal passion together in one project.

I was inspired to become an Atlas Fellow after participating in several educational and environmental projects in Egypt as a volunteer, I wanted to apply my knowledge to support organizations that are working for a good social cause and to learn new skills in an international and diverse community.

Atlas fellowship provides this diverse and mixed experience while working with fellows from all over the world, learning about their cultures in a fun way during onboarding, and discovering all the similarities we have despite coming from the four corners of the world. Also, supporting NGOs and the private sector who work to make their citizens live better is the focus of this fellowship, while boosting the leadership and communication skills of all its participants.

The journey of the Atlas fellowship begins with filling your application consisting of 6 essential parts.  I started by watching demo videos over the internet on previous atlas fellows’ impressions and thoughts about the application experience. Additionally, I went through all videos and FAQ pages on the official atlas website which gave me a good starting point of what to expect during the application process, the criteria of an application evaluation, and the next steps. The application process is really a self-discovery journey about who you are, what are you aspiring to be and how will you get there. The focus is on making us as youth express our achievements and future projects related to important social issues and how we can play a vital role in developing our communities to be a better ones.

After passing the application stage, I got an email from the atlas corps to inform me about the interview to get to the semi-finalist stage. Of course, I was a little tense before going through the interview, yet I was very excited. My interviewer and I had very interesting discussions through the questions and we talked about the fellowship experience and how amazing it is to be within such a multi-cultural environment.  A couple of weeks later, I finally got the good news, I was selected as a semi-finalist, and the matching process was about to begin. Something all applicants need to know; patience and perseverance are important qualities to keep as the atlas process is a long one to give you the best possible match that meets both your aspirations and the organization’s needs.

My first match was with an NGO working on empowering entrepreneurs and the LGBT community. I had to go through 3 interviews to learn more about the organization, their projects, and at the same time so they can learn more about my personality and technical skills as a fellow.

Although I was accepted for the role, I preferred to wait for the next match that goes better with my profile. Luckily, I got to be matched next with IBM and Village Capital as an IBMZ marketing youth advocate, focusing on the advancement of the youth digital skills.

My virtual fellowship started with onboarding with Atlas Corps and meeting other fellows. And, I can happily say, Class 40 Rocks! The fellows have a supportive, fun, and humorous spirit and we discovered through cool ice-breaker games introduced by Lizzie and Zach, that we share a lot of hobbies and interests. And I discovered that I will be working with some of the fellows on the same project, which was a good start for the year.

Credit to Awais Farooq Roy

Afterward, we met with a very diverse team of IBM to start the organization on-boarding, and I got to say it’s an amazing team from different countries and backgrounds all working to empower youth, in particular, in developing countries, by focusing on developing students’ digital skills to meet the future job market.

Finally, I cannot wait to meet all of my teammates at IBM and my fellows in the USA to be able to build these close human connections and start networking with industry leaders through the fellowship.