Kazi Sarjana Safain
Doctoral Graduate Research Assistant
North Dakota State University
Briefly describe your daily job duties.
I am an international student from Bangladesh studying for my PhD at North Dakota State University. I am currently working on maternal nutrition and epigenetic regulation of developmental programming in beef cattle. My main responsibilities include carrying out experiments, evaluating data, attending seminars, presenting, sharing my research with the scientific community, and publishing scholarly papers.
As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
I have been stuttering since my early childhood. It has always been challenging for me to clearly explain my ideas since I stutter. I’ve noticed that introducing myself is the most challenging task that I have to deal with in my daily life. Additionally, I stutter most when I am stressed or anxious. I’m still working on making myself relaxed in these circumstances.
What are your long-term career aspirations?
Making the apparently insurmountable happen is something I enjoy doing. So, after successfully completing my Ph.D., I wish to pursue a job in academia where I can teach and serve as the principal investigator of my own lab. Additionally, I’ve always wanted to work with folks who have any form of disability.
Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process?
Honestly, I have never self-disclosed my stuttering in any job hiring process. Now when I look back into the past, I feel that disclosing my stuttering would have made my life way easier. Now after enrolling in my Ph.D. program, I have started to slowly self-disclosing about my stuttering at the beginning of a meeting or in a presentation. I’ve noticed that everyone seems to be extremely understanding and supportive when I reveal it. Additionally, it relaxes and calms me down.
What is your proudest moment at your current company?
I consider myself to be a diligent, sincere, and goal-driven researcher.
Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
I have been subjected to a great deal of stigma, rejection, and humiliation since I was a little child, making me feel worthless for stuttering. For the last one year, I am changing my mindset with the help of my therapist. Now, I can truly relate my life with stuttering and how stuttering has shaped my life and helped me to be a great researcher and most importantly a better person. Stuttering has made me compassionate, patient, diligent, and a person with positive vibes. In order to excel in research work and graduate studies, patience and hard work are imperative which I think I would not get this much if I were not a stutterer. Also, stuttering made me a great writer and a great listener. Till now, I have written a number of scientific papers and published them. All these aspects make me proud of myself. I used to believe that stuttering is my greatest weakness, but now I feel it’s my strength.
What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
Stuttering does not, first and foremost, define who you are. A broken speech might be pleasant if it is full of positivity, but I’ve met people with fluent speaking whose speech is full of negativity, arrogance, conceit, and other negative traits. I would advise everyone to believe in themselves and concentrate on their careers since stuttering is not and will never be a hindrance. Anything in the world is possible with effort, tenacity, and passion. Instead, stuttering would make you stronger because there are no obstacles when the aim is adequately clear. Each of us goes through obstacles and stutters in life that we feel keep us from achieving greater success. Overall, remembering that beauty and power come from conquering challenges and sharing your struggles with others is the main goal.