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Student Fellow Spotlight: Sadia Rahman on finding her ‘thing’ and her voice as an XR Project Management Fellow

Sam Deleon-Castillo, Communications Fellow

Sadia Rahman takes the initiative. She believes that the best way to learn is to dive in, even if it means making some mistakes. 

“You need to make good decisions. In order to make good decisions, you need to have experience, and in order to have experience, you need to make mistakes,” she said. 

Through learning experiences – and some mistakes along the way – Sadia was able to develop her passion for project management and build confidence in leading projects. When Sadia landed her job as a Student Fellow at the Center for Academic Innovation, it was her first job that aligned with her chosen/intended career path. She was pleased to find the center is a space where experimentation and mistakes are encouraged because they lead to learning experiences. These defining moments allowed her to discover passions that led her to get further involved in similar pursuits outside the center. 

As a Student Fellow, Sadia works alongside the center’s Creative Studios team, focused on project management of XR initiatives. Outside the center, you will find her playing her favorite video game, “Valorant,” on the university’s Esports team. Experiences she took from the center encouraged her to go after a similar management position on that team, where she continues to sharpen her project management skills.

These are not the only places where she learns, however. Outside of the office, she is a senior at the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, majoring in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience and a minor in user experience design through the School of Information. 

Sadia is passionate about her work at the center and was more than happy to answer a few questions about all it entails. 

What does a typical day look like for you? What do you dedicate your time to outside of the Center for Academic Innovation (CAI)?

My days typically start at the office! I like how flexible the hours are here and how I can fit them into my busy school schedule. It’s nice to come in the mornings and have my classes in the afternoon. 

Most of what I am interested in revolves around technology. With my major, I am particularly interested in the intersection of technology and psychology/cognition. We recently worked on a very exciting project called “The Nurse’s Toolkit,” an open online course that features an augmented reality experience that allows medical training in a lower-risk setting.

Outside of my studies and work, I love video games! I play many PC games, my favorite being “Valorant,” which I also play competitively through the University Esports team.

What is your role at CAI, and what kind of projects have you worked on?

At the center, within the XR team, I work as a Project Management Fellow. Mainly what I do is help oversee and coordinate various projects, events, and classes. As a BCN major, I found it particularly interesting to work on “The Nurse’s Toolkit” project, which uses XR to create an augmented reality for nurses to practice in. 

A lot of what I do takes place in the early stages of production, such as creating vision boards and communicating with various people to coordinate projects. My organizational skills have definitely improved while being here!

How do you feel being at CAI has prepared you for future positions?

When I began my education, I was very indecisive. I knew I was interested in science and technology, but I was never quite able to find my “thing.” Being at CAI, I was reintroduced to the world of project management, which is a big part of my role here, and I immediately fell in love with it. If it wasn’t for the professional experience I got here at the center, I don’t know if I ever would have discovered that on my own. 

I now feel comfortable working with large teams and coordinating with everyone using things like Google Calendar, Excel, and even just knowing how to send a proper email. 

What goals did you have for yourself when you started this position, and did you achieve them?

I was just excited to get work experience in a professional office setting. However, the experience is exceeding my expectations. Mainly, I wanted to further my project management skills, and that is definitely something I feel I have achieved. The methods of management I have learned here are definitely valuable, and I am glad I was able to reach that goal. I came in with some skills from previous projects, but through the fellowship, I feel more confident than ever before. 

What will be your biggest takeaway from the Student Fellows Program?

Leadership. I feel so much more confident about communicating with people and facilitating events and meetings. I never would have thought that I could do things like that, but every day here, I have learned something new about this field and even about myself. 

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