inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Shahnaz Kamberi

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” – Lucille Ball

Happy Tuesday Reigners! Meet Dr. Shahnaz Kamberi: read on to see what her research interests are, try out a game that she’s developed, and why you should be the nerd.

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Shahnaz Kamberi, I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics, Master of Science degree in Computer Animation and recently earned my Doctor of Science degree in Computer Science with a concentration in Emerging Media. I am currently working as a professor, teaching computer programming classes in C++, C#, Java and Python. My main research interests are in virtual worlds, educational games, serious games, educational technology and of course ways to get more girls interested in STEM, specifically Computer Programming. As a professor for over 7 years now and having taught multiple programming courses, I am often disappointed to see that my students are almost 90% male. So as part of my doctorate study, I developed a gender-specific educational game called Array[7] to teach Java programming and targeted adolescent girls between the ages of 13-17. You can download the prototype of the game from my website, I hope to complete the development of this game in the future and have it available for free for everyone as a web-based game. A fun fact about me is that I am an Uyghur American (I came to the United States when I was 8 years old). Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group living in Central Asia and often times when I answer the question “Where are you from?” It is never a short conversation. Since a lot of people do not know about Uyghurs, I usually always end up having to explain where I am from in a much longer fashion than most people would.

What # would define your life journey?

I was that girl in high school who would rather be the nerd and the next Mark Zuckerberg than to date/marry one. My entire life model was based off this idea of not depending on anyone. I never wanted to depend on anyone else but myself. So #bethenerd would probably be the best hashtag to define my life journey.

Favorite website / app:
YouTube (site and app): I am often on this site because I can get everything in one place! My entertainment, my tutorials and anything viral! I also upload my lecture videos for my students to YouTube, so they can have a copy of the in-class lecture.

Netflix app: So….I have to admit I am part of the binge watching culture. Because I rarely have downtime, when I do, it is all about catching up on my favorite shows/movies on my cellphone!

I of course have many favorite websites when it comes to teaching programming. But I often direct anyone who is curious about learning to code to I think this site has great information and fun games to introduce people, who have never coded, to programming in an exciting way.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
Of course, my grandmothers and my mother are who inspire me.

The one advice that inspired me and have stuck with me is “never compare yourself to anyone else, the only person you should compare yourself to is the previous you.” I love this advice. Once I have changed my mindset into doing that, I have become a much happier and productive person.

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Some challenges I have faced has been with being the only female professor in my college; teaching, most of the time, a classroom of men. How I overcome this is just by being a good instructor (regardless of gender). The students always respect a good instructor.

Ideal Job:
Professor : ) I would also love to work for an organization to help promote computer science to girls.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Don’t compare yourself to others, make mistakes, don’t be afraid and be confident!


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