Univ Dates: 2010-2013
Degree: BA PPE
Degree Level: Undergraduate
Occupation: Co-Founder/Director at Ignition Works
Biography: Nadia is the Co-Founder/Director of Ignition Works, a software product company. She was previously a Software Engineer at Pivotal Labs (2014-2015), working as an agile consultant on apps and websites for startups and worked on Pivotal’s Platform-as-a-Service platform, Cloud Foundry. Prior to that, she secured a scholarship on a 12 week intensive coding course at Makers Academy (2013-2014), where she was also temporarily a teaching assistant. At Univ Nadia was a Student Ambassador (2011-2013) and Returning Officer (2011-2012), administering all of the College elections. In 2012, whilst at Univ, she co-founded – with Andrea Jansson (2010, History and Politics) – The StoryGraph, a creative writing e-publication written and illustrated by talented young writers and artists around the world. In 2013 she was selected as the number one Future Leader, an award given to the most outstanding African or African Caribbean student or new graduate. She received a Univ Scholarship in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. She was a founding member of the Young Univ committee, which organises events to help young Old Members stay connected with each other and the College.
Do you have a favourite memory of your time at Univ?
One of my favourite memories is that before I left I decided I wanted to do something a bit different, so I took part in the Univ Review – I took part in a play. There was a scene where I was by myself on the stage and some of my good College friends were in the front row – so just me coming on stage and they burst out laughing and I had to try and keep a straight face. That was fun; not something I ever really expected to be doing at university. It was quite a serious production too…
Who was your biggest influence at Univ?
Academically, it was Professor Mark Stears. I did Political Philosophy with him and he did this great thing of not tying you to a syllabus, but just encouraging you to read things critically and come up with different ideas, exploring your own viewpoint. That was incredibly valuable.
On the non-academic side, I would have to say my friendship group in my year – loads of different backgrounds and doing loads of different things; all incredibly supportive of each other and that allowed me to become who I am now.
Tell me about your professional life now…
I’m a software engineer and I’m running a product company with another guy and we’re currently working on looking at how organisations and individuals can better coordinate processes amongst groups of people.
It’s a known problem that there are far more men than women in tech and there’s been some interesting research coming out about why that is. Often Computer Science tends to have a 50% balanced intake but boys are more likely to have had a computer when they were younger and to have tinkered with it, courses often seem to expect that prior knowledge. There’s currently an experiment in the States trying to recreate the former-knowledge that young boys pick up by having often played with computers.
How does it feel being back to Univ for this project?
I always love coming back to Univ – it feels like coming home in a way. One of the really cool things about Univ is that you feel like you are part of a family.
How important do you think a project like this is?
It’s super important with the focus on more recent alumni – often you graduate and go off to other places, this brings people back together, but also provides visibility in terms of what you can go on to do post-Univ.