Naba Rizvi is one of 20 students who received the Google Women Techmakers Scholarship this year. The $10,000 award includes a scholar retreat and connects the winners with Google scholars around the world.
At the retreat in August, the UT sophomore majoring in information technology in the College of Engineering and other scholarship recipients visited the Google campuses, including the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif.“It was an incredibly motivating and empowering experience to be surrounded by people who shared my interest in technology and passion for breaking barriers in computer science,” Rizvi said. “I met some very incredible people who I am sure I will be friends with for years to come.”
“We are proud of Naba Rizvi, who is a very deserving recipient of the Google Women Techmakers Scholarship,” Dr. Michael Toole, dean of the UT College of Engineering, said. “It is an honor to have one of our students selected as one of 20 women in the country to receive this award, and it shows the strength of our Engineering Technology Department in the College of Engineering.”
“Naba has made a tremendous impact on the community of women in tech at The University of Toledo. In addition to her role as the founder of the UT Association of Computing Machinery Women’s Chapter, she has been at the forefront of several initiatives related to tech on campus,” Dr. Lesley Berhan, associate dean for diversity, inclusion and community engagement in the UT College of Engineering, said. “We are incredibly proud of her as UT’s first recipient of this prestigious scholarship.”
The criteria for the scholarship include having a strong academic record, technical experience, financial need, and passion for increasing diversity in computer science.“At the retreat, we networked with fellow scholars, students in Google’s CodeU program and Google engineers,” she said. “The retreat had a strong emphasis on professional development, and we had the opportunity to attend breakout sessions, such as ‘The Art of Networking,’ a resumé workshop and a careers panel.”
Information technology wasn’t always the desired career path for Rizvi. She first majored in political science.
“Prior to attending UT, I was at a community college in Michigan and really confused about what direction I wanted to take with my career,” she said.
Rizvi completed a research fellowship at the University of Michigan, but technology challenged her creative mind. “Technology allows me to combine my creative problem-solving skills with my interest in helping humanity,” she said.
The University of Toledo was a place where Rizvi could follow her dreams. She was impressed with the scholarships and opportunities that UT offers.
“For me, enrolling at UT was the fastest path to becoming financially independent since I knew I could support myself with scholarships, internships and on-campus employment.”
Rizvi is a Pakistani citizen who has moved around a lot.
“I was born in Pakistan and lived there until I was around 3 and moved to Saudi Arabia. I spent my teenage years in Canada and moved to Michigan when I was 19,” she said.
Toledo feels like home these days. At the University, she is chief operations officer for CodeWeGo, a startup she launched with UT students Carla Marzari and Yizhen Shi. The education-technology company seeks to increase diversity in computer science by breaking language barriers.
“I am going to devote the next few years of my life completely to my startup and am so excited to see where this journey takes me,” Rizvi, a student in the Jesup Scott Honors College, said.
In addition, Rizvi is founder and chair of the Association of Computing Machinery Women’s Chapter, a web developer for the College of Engineering College Computing, and a resident adviser for MacKinnon, Scott and Tucker halls.