30 Under 30: Naziyah Mahmood

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So be honest: if we say the words ‘Aerospace Mission Analyst’, what do you see? Maybe a middle aged white guy wearing some serious glasses circa 1969, hunched over computers the size of an SUV.

Naziyah Mahmood by J. JamiesonYou probably didn’t picture Naziyah Mahmood, posing like a boss with some massive swords, but we are so, SO happy to change that for you.

With a background in Aerospace Engineering and Astrophysics, Naziyah’s CV reads like that of a science fiction heroine: she’s worked as a mission analyst on European Space Agency missions, including ESMO and Moonbase-X, contributed to the Particle Physics Experimental Project on ATLAS Detector data at CERN (tbh we have no idea what that means, but CERN!), and she’s a martial artist who specialises in weapons arts and Korean sword arts, because of course she does.

13147748_1157987400931110_7573401723818657045_oOh yeah, she’s also a model, actress, poet and short story writer. No big deal.

If your initial response is ‘HOW!?’ you’re not alone. But chatting with Naziyah, it starts to make sense. She is overflowing with energy! Not going to lie, we may have been having cake, but STILL.

She’s currently working at City of Glasgow College as the STEM Development manager, promoting careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, but that’s not to say that she’s left her scientific career behind: she’s still a researcher, and when asked where she’d like to be in five years, her answer is out before the question is even finished:

‘In space! Astronaut! That would be fantastic! Unfortunately one of the requirements you need to be an astronaut is that you need 20/20 vision, but I’m sure I could find ways around that somehow.’

Where she’ll fit astronaut training in is beyond us, but Naziyah has a knack for finding time for her passions. One of those, her martial arts, she compares to writing or painting for others:

‘It’s very expressive – some people express themselves through their pen, or their paintbrush, but for me I express myself through my swords. Martial arts also helped me find my eyes – I’m partially sighted and I’ve been so since I can remember. But with martial arts I gained a keen sense of awareness.’

A self-confessed jack of all trades, Naziyah feels that her unique range of skills and experience is one of her strengths. ‘Showing diversity is okay, even if you have one passion or one goal in life’, she says. ‘It’s great to have hobbies because you can take skills from that and transfer them to other things!’

We are so on board with that philosophy Naz, especially if it means more amazing women like you!

Find out more about Naziyah (and check out her writing and her modelling portfolios!) on her website! You can also like her Facebook page.

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