Equitech Futures alumna Seba Nazary was recently awarded the prestigious Geh Deinen Weg scholarship by the Deutschlandstiftung Integration Foundation.
Started 10 years ago, the scholarship offers students whose families migrated to Germany the opportunity to connect with mentors in various fields and become successful leaders. Seba, who is also a Fulbright Scholar, hopes to utilize the scholarship to pursue her interests in the field of data science and artificial intelligence.
With a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering and management, Seba’s journey with data and AI has not been an easy one. “Any degree was too expensive to afford, and people would question why a girl with a migration background wants to be in STEM,” she says about her initial venture into the field. This was when she heard about Equitech Futures’ Applied Data Institute earlier this year, a scholarship-supported initiative that perfectly matched her area of interest. Seba was thus introduced to AI and data science through the program and went on to pursue a career in the field of data intelligence. She now works at DB Systel, under the renowned German railway company Deutsche Bahn.
“Any degree was too expensive to afford, and people would question why a girl with a migration background wants to be in STEM”
In addition to her work in data intelligence, Seba holds a passion for social and developmental justice, especially through education. As the daughter of Afghan refugees in Germany, she saw her parents struggle to provide their children with the best education, despite not having the opportunity to receive one themselves. She felt education was her most prized possession, and while teaching young girls in Afghanistan, Seba knew she wanted to help girls around the world access it. “It was the moment that motivated me to get into AI and hopefully work towards ensuring girls everywhere can have access to education, something so many are deprived of,” she says. Seba’s stint with the Unleash Innovation Lab, an organization that works towards the Sustainable Development Goals, and her time working with refugee children in Germany helped ground her interest in developmental justice. She channeled this experience during the Applied Data Institute for her capstone thesis – a way to predict signs of anxiety during telemedicine counseling sessions with patients.
When asked about her journey with data science and AI, she says that it wasn’t easy being the daughter of immigrants and a woman interested in the field — she talks about the jibes she had to face because she didn’t speak German well initially, or did not come from a STEM background. This elevated the significance of the first steps she took with the Applied Data Institute. “Everything I am doing in the field right now is because of the introduction I got from Equitech Futures. I wasn’t sure if I could even get in, but they had confidence in me, and they were the first ones who gave me a chance to learn something in AI,” she admits.
“Everything I am doing in the field right now is because of the introduction I got from EquiTech Futures. I wasn’t sure if I could even get in, but they had confidence in me, and they were the first ones who gave me a chance to learn something in AI.”
Now, having completed internships with companies like Mercedes-Benz AG, and having learned 9 languages, her motto is that “anything is possible if you work hard enough.” Seba dedicates her success to her parents, knowing it would not have been possible without their determination to raise their children in a country like Germany, that affords her these opportunities. She is looking forward to finding a mentor with her Gen Deinen Weg scholarship and hopefully making strides in her professional career as well as her work in social justice. “Maybe I can one day find a way to use AI to foster access to education around the world,” she says with a grin. “Maybe I’ll rope Equitech Futures in, and they can help me then too.”