Olivia Papp ’23
Nur Khan ’23 has thrived throughout her four years at Trinity. A computer science and mathematics double major, Khan is a role model to women at Trinity aspiring to have a career in S.T.E.M.
“I always knew I wanted to major in computer science because I was very passionate about the subject in high school. My favorite part about the computer science major at Trinity is the community. There is a great sense of comradery between my peers within the major and myself; for example, you will always find people working together on group projects in the computer labs,” said Khan.
Khan was not planning on majoring in math, but as she took more classes, she decided she should continue in the math major. “I have always loved problem solving, and having mathematics was a way for me to fulfill that passion. I enjoy the analysis aspect of both of my majors,” she said.
An aspect of the Computer Science department that Khan would like to see change is the lack of female representation within the department. “I have been in multiple classes where I am the only girl. The representation of women in the Computer Science department is not where it needs to be. In terms of professors, there are only a couple of female professors in the Computer Science department. Every female professor I have had is passionate about encouraging women in S.T.E.M. and ensure that their female students are given opportunities. For example, one of my computer science professors, Professor Syta, was adamant that I apply to a Women and Technology internship my sophomore year. I ended up securing the internship and was able to work under the chief information security officer. During this internship my sophomore year, I was able to apply my computer science knowledge in the real world, as I developed a program that automatically alerts relevant people to when network certificates are going to expire. I would not have known about this opportunity without the help of Professor Syta in the Computer Science department. She is always ensuring that female students within the major are heard, seen, and reaching their full potential,” said Khan.
In addition to being highly involved within the academic community at Trinity, Khan is also Co-President of the Muslim Student Association. The Muslim Student Association has a space for Muslim students at Trinity in 76H Crescent House. “In this space, we ensure that Muslim students have a place of their own.” She first became involved with the organization through word-of-mouth; however, it was not until her sophomore year that Khan became more consumed with the association. “The month of Ramadan during my sophomore year helped me connect with other students who were in the Muslim Student Association at the time. It was during that time that I knew I wanted to be in that organization. When the opportunities for leadership positions presented itself, I knew I wanted to run for it. It was the start of my senior year when I was elected as Co-President to represent the females in MSA. As president, I organize Jumaah, which is a Friday lunchtime prayer. This is the most sacred prayer of the week,” she said.
About fifty people participate in the organization. Even so, the Association is continuing to grow. With that, more responsibility has been given to Khan to ensure that the needs of the Muslim students at Trinity are fully seen and heard by the Trinity administration. “We got the Halal station in Mather Dining Hall and now we are working toward the Trinity administration and Chartwells being more understanding when it comes to the nutrition needs of Ramadan,” she said.
Coming to a predominantly white college as an international student, Khan feels accepted and comfortable because of the people she has surrounded herself with. “My mom and my sister taught me that I need to always be in spaces where I feel encouraged and accepted. The girlfriends that I have made at Trinity have made me feel like a smart, caring, empowered woman who is loved. These strong women I surround myself with have drive and goals and will do anything they can do to get where they want to go,” she said.