Stand on the shoulders of Giants to become one!

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

Kaoutar Zaia

(Computer scientist)

In life, we often stumble upon hurdles, obstacles and challenges. During such times, what matters most is our perseverance, reaction, and motivation to overcome such problems. My career journey entails graduating from one of the top universities of my country - Morocco. However, after completing my engineering degree, I experienced multiple forms of rejection. There were many reasons given: unskilled, not a good fit, sometimes over qualification or just being a woman in the male dominated field of engineering.

I felt depressed, paralyzed and horrified. I swiftly realized that higher education is not just about getting a job. Then, I had only two choices, using this rejection as a catapult or simply giving up. It is true that sometimes out of our greatest rejection, our clearest direction emerges. In my case, my career direction was redefined when I met my mentor. I benefited from one-on-one discussions and mentoring sessions with him. It was a golden opportunity to refine my career objectives, creating a path for the successful attainment of my professional goals.

That experience is one of my most cherished memories and a defining moment in my academic journey. It has shaped my personality and helped me to look through a wider lens, not just at my career, but at the problems of life.

As Isaac Newton said: “If you’ve seen further, it is because you’ve been standing on the shoulders of giants.” Standing on the shoulders of giants allowed me to have a successful career and this is why I always wanted to be a giant as well, so that others can stand on my shoulders. I am dedicated to help people struggling for success, especially women in the engineering field. I am constantly learning how to gain and spread knowledge in order to establish a productive feedback loop. Mentoring is a cycle that never stops, once you embrace it, you are always going to stick with it. This is my story about the relevance of having mentors, and eventually, becoming one.

About the editor:

Dr. Nida Rehmani is the Junior Academy, Global STEM Alliance, NewYork Academy of Sciences. She is the scientific editor for and content editor for Lotus Stories blogs.

Dr. Rehmani completed her B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Biochemistry from Aligarh Muslim University. Her zeal for higher education led her to pursue Ph.D. in molecular biology. Under the auspices of the Obama Singh exchange fellowship, she continued her research in the Department of Radiology, The Ohio State University, USA. During the program, she earned a M.Ed., specialized in STEM higher education. 

She is a science communication enthusiast and volunteers for advocating STEM education, especially under-represented communities and minorities. She has a flair for writing & maintains her own personal blog She loves cooking and started her own youtube channel: Millenial Recipes. Last but not the least, she is a dedicated mother to an active toddler!

Linkedin: Nida Rehmani

Twitter: @DrNidaRehmani

Instagram: Dr.Nida.R


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