Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan
Current City: Herndon, VA
Why did you choose McCourt? McCourt's unique DSPP program stands at the confluence of data science and public policy; one of the few programs that does so, successfully and in line with the latest technologies and techniques. I have always been fascinated with numbers and how eloquently they are able to tell a story and as I've grown, my interest has drilled into public policy. Data needs context to make sense, just as public policy needs data to back it up. The Data Science and Public Policy program at McCourt is the perfect place for me to develop skills in both. Seeing pictures of the campus nestled in the beautiful and scenic streets of DC, with an extremely prolific faculty at its helm, I knew this would be a challenging and enriching experience!
What professional/ work experience did you have prior to coming to McCourt? Previously, I've worked as a Data Analyst for Afiniti for 1.5 years, developing and maintaining data pipelines for different AI models. While this professional setting was very conducive to developing my data analytical skills, I still felt unfulfilled. For this reason, I joined the Centre for Economic Research in Pakistan, in their Targeted Instruction Program. In my capacity, I helped develop teaching materials (e.g. lesson plans, teaching videos and teaching applications) that were going to be used in public schools of rural Pakistan (specifically in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region) to help students overcome learning losses occurred during the COVID19 school lockdowns. While the job description is a mouthful, it was an incredible experience where I had the chance to meet amazing and tenacious people, dedicated to improving the lives of their students.
What has been the best part of your experience so far? As cliche as it sounds, the best part of McCourt has been the community here. DSPP cohorts generally take the same classes throughout the year and we have grown into a close-knit friend group. Apart from my peers, the fantastic support system we have at McCourt is incredibly expansive; from the faculty to the administrators (special shoutout to Leslie Evertz!) , everyone is an integral part of the experience. Because of this, I have found my own views being challenged, I have found interesting avenues to further my explorations and learning and I have found an incredible group of people to relax with!
What internships have you had so far during your time at McCourt? I started the semester as a McCourt Research Assistant for the Pennywise Foundation. In the first semester, I helped update their website with interactive visualizations and connecting them with potential partners in Pakistan, in wake of the devastating floods of 2022. In the Spring semester, I am conducting research to find new, domestic partners. In the Spring, I have also had the honor of joining the MDI Scholar cohort, working with Professor Nalette Brodnax in her studies of carceral ideology in schools.
Student organization involvement while at McCourt:
- DSPP Representative in the McCourt Student Organization
- Georgetown Public Policy Review
Undergraduate University, degree, and major: Lahore University of Management Sciences, Economics and Mathematics
Hobbies/ Interests: My primary interest is text analysis and currently, that is set in the context of school administrative routines. Apart from this, I am also interested in primary education policy implementation, both in the US and in Pakistan.
Reach out to me about: Moving to DC, homesickness, mental health issues