Alumni

Alumni profile - Zahra Arjomand Nia

On my Instagram (@zniazniaznia) and my TikTok (ZahraScience), I’m passionate about producing “Clever Content” - content that will basically leave you a little smarter and more knowledgeable about our world... I make content on the science behind relatable topics in life such as dating, beauty and lots more. I really want others to see science as fun and relatable and not just a subject at school that you need to pass.

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Why did you study Chemistry at Queen Mary? What sparked your interest in this specific degree? I was always fascinated by how things worked and what the science behind every little thing was. I was also super interested in understanding why humans behave a certain way due to the natural chemicals released in their brain. Chemistry was something I always enjoyed in school and I knew I wanted to know more.

What aspects of your degree did you find most enjoyable? I enjoyed the mathematical side of my degree – especially the quantum mechanics and physical chemistry as it was very abstract. I was surprised by how chemistry is involved in almost anything – from a simple chemical reaction when you’re making your morning coffee, to huge scientific phenomena like black holes and time travel.

Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary in particular? I love London and how vibrant and diverse it is. Queen Mary was a true reflection of this, and I loved how there was always so much going on – and I’m happy to say that I got involved in a lot!

Can you describe your career path up to date and touch on your current role as a Technology Consultant? Between my second and third year at Queen Mary I managed to get a yearlong placement at a major pharmaceutical company. I loved this experience and everyone I worked with and I learned so much. I was then offered a role after graduation, but I always had an interest in Technology and was fascinated by how it is always evolving (I still am!). So, I then interviewed at a Tech Consultancy and managed to get an offer too. Although it was an incredibly difficult choice to make, I decided to pursue Tech and take a chance and I’m currently loving it and learning so much!

I also understand that you create fun, interactive Scientific content on Tik-Tok and Instagram. What do you aim to do through this content and who is your target audience for this content? Yes! On my Instagram (@zniazniaznia) and my TikTok (ZahraScience), I’m passionate about producing “Clever Content” - content that will basically leave you a little smarter and more knowledgeable about our world. Every day we’re bombarded with useless information about celebrities or with fake news and I want my content to stand out in social media feeds and educate people of all ages – you’re never too old to learn!

I make content on the science behind relatable topics in life such as dating, beauty and lots more. I’m super excited to be further growing my platform and creating more engaging content. I really want others to see science as fun and relatable and not just a subject at school that you need to pass.

Why did you choose Tik-Tok and Instagram as a platform to launch your Scientific content? What are some of the benefits of using social media to educate others and to promote your own personal brand? I want to portray how even an academic subject like chemistry can be fun and engaging and I feel like Tik-Tok and Instagram are currently trending in terms of being the most interactive channels. I’m passionate about showing that learning can be just as fun as liking and sharing posts and memes on social media. Using social media means I can share my content with a large majority of people around the world – and the content I produce are short videos and Infographics which go through the science behind a topic but in a short, bitesize way. I keep everything simple and understandable as that’s the best way to learn.

How did your time and study at Queen Mary help your career and development? I took part in Queen Mary’s East London Social Hack, a two-day business accelerator where in teams we worked on a pitch for a potential business idea. I lead the presentation for a business idea to get females interested in STEM and we ended up winning the best pitch. I was also chosen to travel to Malaysia as part of a program to build on my cultural intelligence – this was in partnership with the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur where we interacted and worked on a project on cultural intelligence with students from the university.

Post-graduation, I was kindly asked by the BioMedical society to come back and give a talk about my time working in Pharmaceuticals and now in Tech. I was then asked to record a podcast about my experiences by the Chemistry Society. Returning to Queen Mary post-graduation to share my knowledge and give advice/ tips was such a rewarding experience as I knew what those students were feeling as I had been in their exact position a few years prior.

These experiences, alongside my studies, added to my self-confidence and have contributed to the personal brand I have been building for myself since Queen Mary. I know everything I learned at Queen Mary will stick with me for the rest of my professional and personal life.

Is there any advice you would give to current students or recent graduates considering their career options? I would say work hard in your studies but also get involved with as much as you can – join societies, create societies and apply for any opportunity that is presented to you (even if you’re new to it – you can always learn how to do something later).

What was so special about your time at Queen Mary? Can you give one or two examples of your most memorable moments? There’s so many! One of my favourites would be travelling to the other side of the world to Kuala Lumpur to represent Queen Mary and learn about cultural intelligence as mentioned above. I also loved being in the promotional videos for the Chemistry department to promote this exchange – I loved being in front of the camera and I still do!

Do you have a favourite spot on campus? If so, where is it and why? I love the stylish Graduate building but also Ground Café as it never failed to deliver me my coffee boost. The ground floor of the library was also the social hub where everyone gathered so I have a lot of fond memories there. And towards the end of term, you’d find me on the higher floors where revision actually took place!

This profile was conducted by Alumni Engagement Officer, Nicole Brownfield. If you would like to get in touch with Zahra or engage her in your work, please contact Nicole at n.brownfield@qmul.ac.uk