Kizghin builds connections, grows research skills as a Husker

· 4 min read

Kizghin builds connections, grows research skills as a Husker

Dilziba Kizghin smiles for a photo outside Architecture Hall in her Innocents Society sash.
Dilziba Kizghin smiles for a photo outside Architecture Hall in her Innocents Society sash.

Editor’s Note — This is part of a weekly student conversation series highlighted for Women’s History Month on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Medium page. The series features students who are making impacts on campus and hope to maintain that momentum in future careers.

Dilziba Kizghin is a biological systems engineering major from Lincoln, Nebraska, and born in Kashgar, East Turkistan. Through her involvements, she’s building connections that extend far beyond campus and growing as a researcher.

What originally drew you to engineering?

Growing up, I always loved mathematics and equations. I was also constantly making things or fixing things. As I progressed in school, I was also becoming increasingly drawn to topics like chemistry and biology. When I found out about biomedical engineering, it just clicked something in me. It was the perfect combination of everything that I enjoy. This major has challenged me to be a well-rounded engineer, as well as a more capable person.

Can you speak to the undergraduate research you conduct  —  and what it’s like to be able to get that research experience while you’re still an undergrad?

I was lucky enough to be admitted into the BioFlow lab in MME as a freshman, working on an individual project. Working on a solo project allowed me to grow as a researcher in unexpected ways. I’ve also conducted team research at the Nebraska Center for Virology. Being part of a team of researchers is a different pace that nurtures interpersonal relationships. Being part of research as an undergraduate student allows you to apply what you learn in classes to something that’s right in front of you. It’s a very unique and rewarding experience that I would recommend to everyone.

Talk about being awarded a NASA Nebraska Space Grant.

Having been awarded the NASA Nebraska Space Grant was surreal. It just showed that NASA encompasses a lot of disciplines and supports all sorts of research to propel the mission to serve humanity.

You’re really involved on campus, from Engineering Ambassadors to Innocents Society to the Afghan Student Association. What have you learned from your involvements or how have they shaped your college experience?

Being a part of Innocents Society and Afghan Student Association, as well as other clubs on campus, made me realize the goal of RSOs is simply to bring people together. I have made lifelong friends from these clubs. I am very glad that I pushed myself to apply and be a part of it even though I am very much an introvert. Furthermore, starting an organization that teaches English free of charge to Uyghur refugees across the world also taught me a lot. I learned more about my own culture, my own people, and how relationships are built on care and love and can be built virtually. No physical barrier or border can stop us!

What or who inspires you?

The biggest thing that inspires me is my family and being Uyghur-American. Being in the diaspora is such a unique experience  —  remembering the people and places I grew up with but being unable to visit, even to see family, is difficult to cope with sometimes. But I am incredibly grateful and lucky to be where I am. Not many have the ability to get an education, much less come to America. So I try my best to recognize that and take advantage of opportunities to the fullest.

What is your advice to other students looking to get involved or make an impact on campus?

It is very tempting to join every club you see or think of it in terms of building your resume. I realized that it will not amount to anything substantial if you do not enjoy it. Try as many things as you want and choose whatever piques your genuine interest. And if you can’t find anything that strikes you, you can always start it yourself.

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