Mirza Rayana Sanzana is a Researcher for climate action and freelance Software Developer who is also a mother of two daughters (2 under 2). She is very vocal about trying to make the world a better place for all women. Working really hard to be heard about better gender, race, and faith-inclusive communities. Mirza has been awarded a full-merit scholarship after completing her MSc to pursue a Ph.D. using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for climate action.
Especially for the WomenTech Network, Mirza agreed to give an interview and share her story.
Congratulations on winning a WomenTech Network IT Graduate Award! How did it feel to be recognized for your hard work?
It felt phenomenal because now there is something to say, something to show for my efforts. I felt “seen” and it felt good that my climate-conscious research, improving education methods, voicing out my concerns, and sharing my experience were appreciated. Being recognized makes me just contribute so much more, and work harder toward what I want.
Also, please share with us about your background, journey into technology and what inspired you along the way.
I come from a family where my mother is a doctor, and my father is an engineer, and when I expressed my interest in graphics design and software, it was a bit different than what you would expect from a girl with my upbringing. I found it fascinating how you can create useful and entertaining applications with various software and coding. Artificial Intelligence especially interests me with its prediction and the very useful applications of it in our daily lives, and I feel researchers should focus on integrating Artificial Intelligence with humans rather than trying to reduce jobs for humans. Human intelligence cannot be replaced with Artificial Intelligence and there are various sound decisions that only humans with their emotions can do it. However, I did not get my parents much while growing up, and I felt like I wanted to be more present with my family. While choosing my area of expertise, one of the significant deciding factors was that working in tech gives you the possibility of remote working.
Lastly, do you have any advice for other women in tech who may like to pursue a career in this field that could help them on their own journey?
Pursuing a career in tech may not be a common choice for many. However, it is exciting if you like it and there are many applications of tech where you can be an expert. As much as what you want to do may not be very common in places where you live, just follow what you want. Your career should be what you actually want to do as you would be doing it for a significant part of your life. Your career should not be something that others decide for you. Essentially, be the change, and be the voice to raise awareness of anything that is not right. Remember just because many people do something wrong does not make it right.