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Muslims and Tech with Naba Rizvi, PHD Student pursuing Computer Science

Naba Rizvi is a PHD Student pursuing Computer Science at UC San Diego.

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background (how you got to where you are) and current role?

I am currently obtaining my PhD in computer science at UC San Diego. As an undergrad, I participated in and won various hackathons, as well as awards from Google, NCWIT, & Adobe Research for my technical and leadership contributions in our field. I decided to go for a PhD as I've always been passionate about disability inclusion, racial equity, and intersectionality, and through my research, I get to explore all of these passions! I recently completed an internship with Google Health AI where my work focused on racial equity in health AI apps.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Lots of meetings with researchers from different backgrounds! Since my work is so interdisciplinary in nature, I meet with people who specialize in very diverse fields including healthcare, business, UX design, and even sociology. Getting all these different perspectives on board helps create more socially aware research ideas and methods. Depending on the study design, the planning phase can take days, weeks, or even months. We may even need to apply for grants to get funding. After that, we begin the data collection, analysis, and paper writing :D

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

For me, work-life balance is all about making time for the big moments of all the people in my life who are important to me. Since my family lives in Michigan while I live on the West Coast, I need to travel for those moments to be with my family. Having the flexibility to do so matters a lot to me as I didn't get to spend enough time with them as an undergrad due to my hectic schedule and even the first 2 years of grad school due to COVID.

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I used to overwork myself to the point of burning out. Now, I remember to take breaks and recharge as that makes me a better person.

5) What brings you peace during stressful times?

Talking to my family, being with my husband, and playing with my cute little niece.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you are consuming and like to recommend?

I'm currently reading Inglorious Empire by Sashi Tharoor. Haven't finished it yet, so can't review it just yet.

7) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Honestly? My mom. I don't know how she moved to a new country, taught herself a foreign language, learned new skills, and started her own business, all while raising the four of us.

8) What’s the one piece of advice you would give our readers for managing stress and creating a healthy mental state?

Spend more time with the people you love: fly home for Eid!

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