Nawaz graduated in 2001 with a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania where she was captain of the varsity field hockey team, and went on to earn an MSc in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics in 2003. 
In the year between her graduation from Penn and matriculation at LSE, Nawaz worked as a Nightline Fellow at ABC News Nightline , where her team won a Peabody Award for its coverage of the September 11th, 2001 attacks. After graduating from LSE, Nawaz joined the staff of NBC News where she would spend the next twelve years, the first eight of them as a producer for all NBC News programs and platforms including Dateline NBC , and in 2010 her team won an Emmy Award for writing the TV movie Inside The Obama White House . Nawaz relocated to Islamabad in 2011 to serve as Pakistan Bureau chief for three years, and in 2014 returned to New York where she spent her last year at NBC News as the founder and managing editor of its Asian America vertical. Nawaz joined ABC News in 2015, where she covered the 2016 US Presidential election and hosted the Uncomfortable podcast. Nawaz joined PBS NewsHour as National Correspondent in 2018.