The Future of Tech
Samiha Gaffar was always interested in math and science. She chose computer science because it brings her two interests together. “There are also many great opportunities in this field,” says Gaffar. “Tech is the future. Every industry needs technology.” She also credits the program to helping her come out of her comfort zone and try new things. “When I first started, the only background I had in computer science was what I got from a very basic intro class I took in high school. For me, everything that I have done so far is out of my comfort zone; the classes I take, the projects I have built for my classes, it is all new for me,” she says. “I hope to continue to push myself throughout my college experience and when I enter the workforce. Something also out of my comfort zone, and something I am still adjusting to, is being in a male-dominated field. Constantly being surrounded by men, having to work with men on projects, and breaking gender norms. Everything about this field is out of my comfort zone, but it has helped me grow.” Gaffar sat down with The Box to talk about her plans for the future and why more women should pursue careers in computer science.
What kind of career path do you plan to follow?
Once I graduate, I hope to get my master’s at New York Institute of Technology. I am enrolled in the five-year accelerate M.S. program. After that, I would like to get a job in the field, but I am not certain in which area as there are so many options to explore. I currently see myself leaning toward data analytics or network security, but I am open to exploring other options.
In October we celebrated International Day of the Girl. What does that day mean to you?
International Day of the Girl means a lot to me because it highlights the struggles that girls need to go through to make it in today’s society. It helps empower women by showing them that they are not the only ones going through this struggle and showing them that with hard work and dedication, they can achieve whatever they want. It gives girls role models and people to look up to, to help them be the best version of themselves.
Why should more women pursue computer science?
When I sit in class, the majority of my classmates are male. There may be one or two other females, but there have been many occasions where I am the only female. There is a lot of under-representation of women in this field, and there needs to be more women to get the proper representation we deserve.
Are there any female professors at New York Tech who inspire you?
A professor who inspires me is Professor Maherukh Akhtar. She has been my professor for multiple courses over the past two years. When she teaches, you can see her love for the field as well as her love of teaching. Many of my peers enjoy having her as a professor because she wants to see her students succeed.
In addition to your coursework, do you belong to any clubs or organizations?
I am the vice president of the Muslim Student Association, and I am a member of multiple honor societies. I am a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success; Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society; Upsilon Pi Epsilon, an international honor society for computing and information science; and the Golden Key International Honour Society.
New York Tech embraces its diversity. There are so many different clubs and organizations at this school that encourage diversity, which creates an environment for people to be themselves.