Advocate for Minorities in STEM Receives Robert Logan Nugent Award: Nizan Howard, '22

May 11, 2022

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Nizan Howard
Nizan Howard. Photo by Chris Richards/University of Arizona.

The Robert Logan Nugent Award goes to students who display a record of accomplishments that exemplifies the high ideals of Robert Logan Nugent, a former University of Arizona executive vice president.

Nizan Howard is graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in information science and technology and a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics. Nizan was born in New York City to parents who inspire their children to follow their hearts and fulfill their dreams. 

Nizan has worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the Computational Language Understanding Lab. Under Dr. Rebecca Sharp, who had been an assistant research professor in the Department of Linguistics, she assisted in natural language processing research by exploring how to develop graphical models to express regular expressions to measure the process of sentiment analysis.

In her senior year, Nizan joined the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium and became a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. With her mentor, Dr. Celina Irinea Valencia, she worked on data map visualizations from fall 2020 to summer 2021. They initiated analysis on the effects of social determinants of public health on breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, testing disparities in Arizona. Nizan developed the ability to interpret data analysis and provide a voice for breast cancer disparities at the University of California, Los Angeles 2021 McNair Conference. Additionally, she had her research abstract published in UROC's summer research journal. 

In 2019, Nizan studied abroad at the National University of Singapore to learn about the Malay community and the implementation of technological advancement across diverse communities. In 2020, Nizan became treasurer of the linguistics club, encouraging minority students in STEM disciplines to pursue their dreams and providing a gateway for connection and insights in the computational linguistics community.

Nizan has received several awards at the University of Arizona, including the Florence K. Norman Scholarship, U.S.-Singapore Summer NUS/GRO Exchange Scholarship, and University-affiliated excellence and achievement Awards. Nizan plans to continue her journey to become an advocate for minorities in science, technology, engineering and math fields by pursuing a Master of Science in data science at the University of Washington, with a focus on fixing algorithm bias and improving inclusivity in technological development.

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Content from the Dean of Students website.