Guest post by Aziza Haidarova, 2022 Emerging Leader of Tajikistan
Editor’s note: Aziza Haidarova’s guest post is part of our series, Emerging Leader Voices, which invites TechWomen Emerging Leaders to share their voice, perspective and experiences with the TechWomen community.
My STEM journey
The first letter, “S,” of STEM is my favorite: Science. As a young scientist at the Institute of Philosophy, Political Science and Law of the National Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, I am studying criminal law and criminology.
For almost six years, I have also been working at the Tajik Branch Office of the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), which is located in the building of the National Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan. Before joining the ISTC, I worked in the court of Avicenna district of Dushanbe. When I started working at TBO ISTC, I wanted to connect my prior work experience with the activities of the organization. The ISTC’s mission is non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction through scientific collaboration, and scientists who have knowledge in the field of WMD can submit specific projects. I thought about the legislation of Tajikistan in the field of WMD, in particular the Criminal Code of the Republic of Tajikistan. The Criminal Code contains several articles on this issue: illegal handling of radioactive materials, theft of radioactive materials, illegal use of radioactive materials, etc. In my dissertation, I analyze these problems. With the support of my supervisor and scientific advisor, I successfully completed the writing of the work, and on October 8, 2021, I pre-defended my thesis. Now, the process of preparing the day of defense is underway.
While writing my dissertation, I encountered a problem when collecting materials and having to rummage in libraries and archives, where I lost a lot of time. Many other countries have special software that contains archived legal documents that can be accessed free of charge. We must move away from the old system of obtaining information, since the world is now “computerized.” There should be a good electronic library, an electronic database, where you can find all the necessary regulatory documents for research. And this electronic archive should be publicly available for young scientists. I would like to propose such a project. And this is only part of what I want to learn from my TechWomen mentor and from the host companies, since I am interested in the field of personal data protection and information security.
The Road to TechWomen
The TechWomen program has been supporting the participation of women in science, and STEM overall, in Tajikistan since 2015. According to my friend, who was also lucky enough to participate in TechWomen, the program is not only focused on gaining experience and career development, but also on developing leadership qualities. I always follow the official website of the US Embassy in Dushanbe, and it was on the site that I learned about this program. With excitement, I began to wait for the announcement of the TechWomen 2022 program. But for a long time I hesitated whether to apply or not. And in the end, I realized that I need to improve myself. I said to myself, “Aziza, go ahead!” After I filled out the application, I began to think: what do I want from this program? From my future mentors? I understood that the qualifying round would be very difficult and demanding, but I always set myself up for the positive!
Participation in this program will be a great experience for me, both in my career and in my personal capacity. I will discover a new world for myself. Having gained experience and lessons, I will return a new, renewed person. I have already started sharing my experience among my friends, helping them apply to TechWomen. I hope to be so self-confident that after returning home, I will want to take on everything at once.