#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Navie Narula

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan

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Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hello, world!

My name is Navie Narula and I am currently a graduate student at Columbia University participating in a dual-degree program studying computer science and journalism.

I am very much in love with the idea of computing for social good and have tried to focus both my personal and academic projects around that theme. Along with a classmate this semester, I am working to detect frequent words and common textual patterns in social media threads that may hint at signs of depression.

In general, I like working with data to inform awareness about often disregarded, but important topics. For one of my journalism classes, I worked on numeric research regarding access to healthcare and hygiene products for underserved women. Within the computer science field, I am most interested in further exploring natural language processing – a subset of artificial intelligence.

Fun Facts: As a result of being born and raised in Thailand, I can speak, read, and write Thai fluently. I also really love pugs!

What # would define your life journey?
#TakingItSlowIsOkay

Favorite website / app:
My absolute favorite website is WordPress. Even though I know how to code and have made my own website, I have always liked blogging (https://naviewritescode.wordpress.com/) on WordPress more as the platform really is more conducive to that particular pastime. I think the engineers and designers there do an 15777041_10154865792206098_2054879252946985805_oespecially good job of providing a diverse set of free themes that multiple audiences might like.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
I cannot think of any person who has inspired me more than my mother. She is kind, intelligent, giving, and has quite literally been my best friend from day one.

The best advice she has given me is to not compare myself to others, but rather to focus on myself and be the best version of myself I can possibly be. That version involves not only pushing for my own success, but also advocating for other people’s successes as well. The concept of “paying it forward” is so important and I am really glad to have a mother who is a living example of that for me.

Song that makes you want to dance:
She’s Out of Her Mind – Blink 182

IMG_2703 (1)Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
In order to be able to teach in a classroom in the United States, you must hold an educator’s license.

While I was an undergraduate student at Boston University, I simultaneously studied secondary education and computer science. Because I started my computer science major quite late, I was told that I would not be able to earn my degree in the subject if I chose to spend one semester student-teaching in a classroom in order to qualify for a license. I ultimately chose to spend the semester taking computer science classes instead.

At that time, this was not the easiest choice; but looking back on it, this was one of the best decisions I could have ever made for myself – to just not be afraid to learn something new and see where it could take me.

For now, I am very thankful to have the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant at Columbia University. I love working with undergraduate students, some of which have even taught me novel ways of thinking about problems!

Ideal Job:
I hope that my future job will involve work at the intersection of computing and text. I especially love using Python’s nltk library to analyze huge bodies of text for interesting word frequencies or sentence patterns. Doing so is not only fun, but can also reveal a lot about the work that you might be analyzing.

I am truly open to working at any company – big or small – that allows me to do challenging work. I hope to start as a general software engineer and move up to become a team manager someday.

400235_10150606146681098_1969811292_nWhat knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I would encourage other women to ask questions. This may seem like odd advice, but I myself used to very afraid to ask questions – whether this may be in class, during office hours, at a panel discussion, during a networking event…you name it! I would be the silent person in the crowd hoping that someone else would ask my question for me and it rarely happens because I am unique and the probability that someone else shares my specific thought is very low.
I still find it hard to put myself out there, but when I do, I truly gain so much from my bravery. Asking questions can be a great way to connect with strangers whose work you may interested in. Try it out – you may be surprised how much some people are willing to give back or help you out.

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