We are so excited to introduce our first #GlobalWildcat blogger, Hadiqa Maqsood. Hadiqa is a graduate student from Pakistan studying Biosystems Engineering. We first got to know Hadiqa when she took over our Instagram account for a week last fall. We interviewed Hadiqa to learn more about her background and her inspiration for creating her new blog series, Internationals of Arizona.
First of all, tell us a little about yourself and your experiences before you came to the University of Arizona.
Hi guys, this is Hadiqa Maqsood, an explorer from a country of diversity, Pakistan. I am a PhD student in the Biosystems Engineering Department at the University of Arizona.
Since my childhood I have had the passion to experience the broad horizon of knowledge and art, and the urge to contribute to society, one way or another. I have my bachelor’s degree in Urban and Infrastructure Engineering from NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, in Pakistan. Along with my studies, I took part in extra-curricular activities including organizing and hosting seminars, presenting in conferences, and managing multiple university events such as Water Day, Urban Day, and Green Day.
After graduation, I, along with my professor and four team members, started a Water Modeling Center at the university. I worked at the center for a year on various projects and publications. Following that, I received a master’s degree in Water and Environment from England, where my enthusiasm for multi-tasking and contribution never faded. On my return, I started working as an Assistant Professor on a USAID funded project at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro, in Pakistan, where I taught water-related subjects and was actively involved as a Gender Equity Committee member. I also was in charge of a lab and coordinator of a student-led society.
Thereafter, I won Fulbright Scholarship for my PhD here. Currently I am learning a lot from the courses and research, managing becoming the representative of College of Engineering in Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC), and starting this blog! My experience so far has been rich, and I see myself destined to keep working like this in my research area and society.
What made you decide to come to the UA?
My vision for coming to the USA is to acquire advanced techniques and methods in my field. Not many people know that Pakistan has the world’s largest irrigation system. However, the negligence of maintenance and upgrading water management strategies is making the system deteriorate. My decision to come to UA is for irrigation water expertise, to utilize the learning for improvement back home. Studying from the polished and renowned faculty at this university has been such an amazing opportunity for me. Not only this, the climate of Arizona is similar to that of my country’s; therefore, my research here can be easily replicated. Also, the flavor of fate is having the supervisor at the UA whose book I studied in Pakistan.
What was your inspiration for Internationals of Arizona? What do you hope to communicate with this blog series?
I have been following the blog “Humans of New York” religiously for more than a year. I have seen the exceptional acceptance of that blog/vlog and growth of it within years. The reason being the theme and vision, which are very inspirational for me. It brings to the limelight the untold story of the common man. I have seen other communities starting similar blogs on social media. This gave me the inspiration to know more about the UA students, especially international students. The diversified, culture-mixed, challenging, and exciting untold stories should be showcased for others to seek influence or just have a good couch read on a lazy Sunday!
My vision is to go out of the box and illustrate the stories of students around us. Some would be influential, some motivational, and that all makes the UA as international as it is. Moreover, this blog would highlight the nationalities attending UA, and it could be a platform for culture exchange, difference in the opinions based on where you’re from, culture shock and US academic and non-academic experiences of others. This blog is an effort to be more global!
Is there any advice you would give to UA’s international students?
I’d advise them to take the leap and jump into the ocean of exploring the American culture and sharing your own. Make friends that are not your own skin color, race, and nationality, and see how small the world is and how similar we all are! That is the experience of a lifetime.