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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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Hedaya Rizeq (Photo: Lauren Radack) Hedaya Rizeq (Photo: Lauren Radack)

Set Up for Success: Hedaya Rizeq

Meet SDSU students and recent graduates whose impressive resumes forecast bright futures.
By Michael Price

“I love competing in research competitions; they hone my ideas and presentation skills.”

This article is one of five student profiles published in the summer 2017 issue of 360: The Magazine of San Diego State University.

“Driven” is an appropriate word to describe Hedaya Rizeq. First of all, the master’s student studying kinesiology at San Diego State University comes from a long line of racing enthusiasts. Although she herself has never raced in anything besides a go-kart, she dreams of one day seeing a Formula One race in Monaco.

Secondly, she’s using virtual reality to study how speed and distractions such as cell phones affect young people’s driving performance. Though her research is in its early stages, she is already working on a pair of academic papers with her mentor and advisor, neuromechanics researcher Harsimran “Sim” Baweja.

Summer 2017 issue of 360: The Magazine of San Diego State University
Summer 2017 Cover of 360: The Magazine of San Diego State University
Now she’s even more cautious around other drivers—especially her peers. “The younger generation, we’re so arrogant that we think we can cope with distractions like texting while we’re driving, but we can’t,” she explained.

Finally, Rizeq is driven to compete and succeed in academia. She chose to attend SDSU specifically to work with Baweja, believing his lab’s unique blend of physical therapy, neuromechanics and VR will provide rigorous, interdisciplinary research experiences. “Going into Sim’s lab was a bit intimidating at first because I’d never worked with VR,” she said, “but at the same time I found it fascinating.”

Her drive has already yielded results: She received a President’s Award at this year’s Student Research Symposium for her investigation into gender differences in distracted driving—she didn’t find any—and represented SDSU at the California State University system-wide student research competition.

Other profiles in this series

Chimezie Ebiriekwe

Courtney Dickson

Eric Gonzalez