Zainab is a first-year master’s student in the Emerging Media Design and Development program.  She is a graduate assistant for the Graduate School serving as the Digital Media Coordinator for the Graduate Student Wellness Initiative. The Graduate Student Wellness Initiative (GSWI)  is a program ran by the Graduate School in partnership with the Department of Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology, and Counseling.  The mission of GSWI is to create a culture of health and wellness for all Ball State graduate students.

Where is your hometown?

I am from Lahore, Pakistan.

What are a few of your favorite hobbies?

I like to write. I love reading fiction and I tend to cook elaborate meals when I’m happy. I also draw and paint sometimes.

How do you practice self-care?

I go for a walk, observe skies and sunsets, make chai for myself, catch up with friends and family and watch my favorite shows.

Why did you choose Ball State?

I chose Ball State because I did not find a degree that was tailored to my interests more than EMDD (Emerging Media Design and Development). I was very excited to apply, and I am so grateful that I am here. Getting a graduate assistantship opportunity as a Digital Media Coordinator for the Graduate Student Wellness Initiative served as a cherry on top because I have always been a strong proponent of mental wellness and equity and it provided me an opportunity to work for something I also felt so dearly about.

What first interested you about your graduate program?

I am really passionate about design thinking, human-computer interaction (HCI) and just thinking about ways to solve real-world problems. And EMDD is all about that! Another major reason why EMDD was so appealing to me was how it combined HCI and design thinking concepts with the power of storytelling and narrative. The EMDD program is so futuristic, and we are learning about innovations in digital media as they are taking place. As a person who is fascinated by tech, loves HCI and design, and likes to be immersed in stories in her free time, this graduate program was just the right place to be.

Where did you obtain your bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees, what were your major(s)?

I did my bachelors from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). I majored in Management Science with a minor in Computer Science.

 What is one lesson you have learned as a graduate student?

I think my graduate student experience has made me humble about things I already know because I learn something new every day and I’m constantly amazed by how much I don’t know and how much I don’t know that I don’t know. I’m a very curious person and I love learning about new things, so this mindset really drives me to keep going.

What has been the most valuable part of your graduate assistantship experience?

I love how I get to be the person who bears good news and communicates useful resources to graduate students. I love to be on the lookout for gathering important resources that would help graduate students and promoting amazing GSWI events knowing that I am working for an initiative that helps to promote a healthy and happy environment for graduate students and looks out for them so sincerely.

Is there anything else you would like to communicate about your experience as a GA?

I love all the people I work with, and my graduate assistantship supervisor, Dr. Simon-Dack is this amazing person to work and hang out with. I always look forward to conversations with her. I learn so much from my co-workers Mike and Kade (Coordinators for the Pathways Project Program) and love their company. My GAship is hands down a really valuable part of my graduate school journey and I’m so grateful for it.

What are your future plans and career goals?

I love research, tech and innovation. I look forward to having a career in HCI where I can apply my diverse skills to their full potential.