Razia Nayeem Oden graduated from Embry-Riddle in 2003 with an undergraduate degree in Human Factors. She then continued her education at the University of Central Florida, obtaining a MS in Modeling and Simulation and a Ph.D. in Human Factors Psychology. Razia has obtained vast experience over the years through internships, a fellowship, graduate research, and full-time positions working in a variety of disciplines such as systems engineering, human factors psychology, and research.
What have you been up to since your graduation from Embry-Riddle?
After graduating in the spring of 2003, I went straight to graduate school that fall. While in school at the University of Central Florida, I worked in two different research labs in the Psychology Department and completed an internship at NAWCTSD (Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division). The last two years of grad school, I worked for a DoD contractor and conducted my dissertation through a contract with the US Army RDECOM. I graduated in the spring of 2008 with a Ph.D. in Human Factors Psychology, and since then, I’ve completed a post-doctoral research fellowship with the Army Research Laboratory and worked at a couple of small DoD contractors.
You have experience in systems engineering, research, and human factors psychology. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The most rewarding thing I’ve done thus far is work on products that make it to the military. I love working with the military because I can’t think of a more worthy population to help with Human Factors design principles. In research-oriented careers, often R&D efforts never make it out to the field. The thing I have enjoyed the most so far is seeing products I designed actually get deployed to train and support Warfighters immediately.
What led you to decide to pursue your Ph.D. in Human Factors Psychology?
After somewhat stumbling into Human Factors at Embry-Riddle, I really came to enjoy it. I decided to pursue a Ph.D. because I saw the usefulness of human factors across a lot of different disciplines. I view human factors as a toolbox with a range of techniques that could be applied in a variety of settings. When you go through a Ph.D. program, particularly the dissertation phase, you really become an expert in the field, and I wanted to get as much education and experience as I could so I could make a difference in human systems design.
What advice do you have for Human Factors graduates getting ready to begin their respective careers in the field?
The best advice I can give someone starting out in the field is to try to gain as wide a range of experiences as possible. I would encourage new graduates to work on as many different projects as possible so they can find what they enjoy the most and which areas best match their skills. In addition to different projects, I think it’s very helpful to work in multiple industries to get different perspectives on how human factors is used in varied settings.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to do more design work across a range of products, as well as broaden my skills in areas like ergonomics. I obtained a Project Management Professional certification last year, so I plan on doing more project management while retaining my technical skills and being involved in day-to-day project activities.