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Ahura Scholarship Recipients for school year 2010-2011

Ahura Scholars: $3000

* Note: Mr. Vakhshouri has no family ties with any of the Ahura Scholarship board members.

  • Mr. Neekaan Sean Oshidary
    • Field: M.S. Symbolic Systems, Stanford University, California, USA
  • Ms. Ria Shroff
    • Field: M.A. in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management, SIT Graduate Institute, Vermont, USA

Ahura Strivers: $1000

Dinyar PatelDinyar Patel is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at Harvard University.  His dissertation is on Dadabhai Naoroji, the Indian Parsi leader better known as the "Grand Old Man of India," who helped found the Indian National Congress and served as the first Indian MP in the British Parliament.  One of Dinyar's primary interests is Parsi history and he has written on Mahatma Gandhi's relations with the community as well as Parsi-Iranian Zoroastrian relations in the early 20th century. He has also presented talks and conference papers at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, Cambridge University, the K.R. Cama Institute, the Nehru Centre in Mumbai, Mani Bhavan in Mumbai, and Gujarat Vidyapeeth in Ahmedabad. He is active in the Zoroastrian community:  he serves as an assistant to the editor of FEZANA Journal and has given talks to the community in the US, UK, and India.  He was born in Houston and grew up in Bakersfield, CA before attending Stanford University for college.  His family came from Darjeeling and Calcutta and, before that, Udvada.

Watch Dinynar's video by clicking here

Kiarash VakhshouriKiarash Vakhshouri was born in Iran and grown up in an educated Zoroastrian family. In this family, he had been always exposed to many scientific, engineering and social issues, which developed within him the ideas of truth, justice, moral and aesthetical values. These in turn, made him deeply interested in research, science and technology for the development, well being and happiness of mankind. In September 2002, he was accepted in Sharif University, known as the best engineering school in Iran. In 2006, he got his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and he was ranked second among all undergraduate students in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department. So, by “Exceptional Talents Organization” at Sharif University he was awarded an "Outstanding Students" admission to Master’s program in Chemical Engineering in September 2006. At that time, he decided to move to Canada since he was already accepted at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He finished his Master’s degree at UBC in one year and during that time; he was also the vice-president of Sustainability Club at UBC. After his Master’s degree, he has decided to continue his studies towards Ph.D. in the United States. Now, he is a Ph.D. student at the Pennsylvania State University, working in the area of organic electronics. His goal as a career is working as a professor or research professional in an academic organization and serves younger students and hopefully has a great contribution in science and technology.

Watch Kiarash's video by clicking here

 Neekaan OshidariNeekaan Oshidary was born and raised in Silicon Valley in California, to a Zoroastrian family including his mom, dad, and brother.  Last year, he completed his undergraduate degree in psychology at Stanford.  He spent part of that year working on an honors thesis on meditation and negative emotion.  Now, he is starting a Master’s program at Stanford in Symbolic Systems (cognitive science), which includes psychology, computer science, philosophy, and linguistics.  He is most excited about the philosophy of mind to learn more about consciousness, and computer science to learn about how we can make human-centered technology for positive ends.  When he thinks academically, he sees himself as being some kind of professor studying mental health and well-being, the psychology and science of religious experience and religion, and how technology influences our behaviors and social relations.  (This indecision is partly why he is drawn so much to Symbolic Systems.)  When he does not think so academically, he dreams about taking a break from school and work and just traveling and doing something involving photography and storytelling.

At Stanford, he was very lucky to be able to study the Zoroastrian religion with Professor Jenny Rose.  He hopes to build on the work he’s done with her and continue his interest in religious studies, if at least on the side.  He also likes to run, observe things, take pictures, and spend time outdoors.  His biggest influence in his life is his brother, Neema, who has been a source of inspiration in harder times and in good times.

Watch Neekaan's video by clicking here

Watch a recent talk by Neekaan at TEDx conference here

Ria ShroffRia Shroff is in the first year of a masters program in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management at the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. She was born and raised in Mumbai, India, where she completed her secondary education. She attended The Mahindra United World College of India, an IB school, for the last two years of high school and led the Community Development organization comprising of twenty students. This organization was involved in local health work and fundraising to construct two hospitals in the nearby villages. During the summer before her last year, she was selected to be one of ten facilitators for a summer youth leadership camp in Canada and worked with other students to train Canadian and Japanese youth in leadership development programs.
Ria completed her undergraduate degree at Middlebury College where she majored in Spanish and Political Science and received honors for her senior thesis written in Spanish. She won a travel and research grant to go to Argentina to research for her thesis. At Middlebury, she served as the President of the International Students Organization. She also helped coordinate the International Student Orientation program during her senior year. She received two awards for her involvement in community service and in the area of youth literacy from the state and from her college. Ria also designed and implemented a youth reading and literacy program that connected college students to the local community. She was a College Scholar throughout her time and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
After graduating from college, she worked as the community education and health volunteer at Finca Alta Gracia, an organic coffee farm in the Dominican Republic. She was responsible for teaching English and literacy to the young children of the community. Aside from this, she worked with the young adults of the community and encouraged them to complete their education and also designed a mini micro-finance project to provide employment and training to community members.
Ria's experiences have led her to pursue a career focusing on developing leadership and community development opportunities for youth from lesser privileged communities. She hopes to work particularly with young girls on leadership issues in the future.

Watch Ria's video by clicking here

Abadian BaharehThe road to Bahareh Abadian accomplishments has not been easy. Bahareh’s life has been filled with unfortunate situations but she has learned to be resilient and determined. When she walked into her class on the first day of high school, everything seemed foreign to her; everything felt like a brick wall she had to overcome. The teachers, the students, the cultures, and the language were all different. It must be very hard for others to imagine how a 14 year-old immigrant teenager struggles to cope with her environment. However, she knew that she was here for a reason. The main reason for this immigration was for the improvement of her education. She lost her father after her parents got divorced and she lost her brother to a car accident.  She has been successful in not letting the complexities negatively impact her learning. She been raised by a single mom and thus she has been responsible to accomplish numerous tasks throughout her life. Her mom showed her how to push over the brick walls and she taught her how to turn great challenges into opportunities. Bahareh’s favorite aunt was a medical doctor, whose passion was to help and support her patients. From counseling pregnant teens to couples who were having difficulty conceiving; from bringing new children into the world to comforting patients leaving it; from treating a scraped knee to referring a patient to a surgeon, she touched the lives of the young and old, the healthy and sick. The tragic loss of her 34-year old aunt to cancer was a shock that changed her life. It is hard for her to accept that we are still unable to find a cure for cancer. Her aunt taught Bahareh that each of us makes a difference in countless others' lives. With her limited knowledge of English she tried to do her best in school. Unlike many students with English being their second language, she has been challenging herself by taking rigorous honors courses, which she passed with high grades. Bahareh has learned from many tragic, unpleasant circumstances throughout her life, and she is able to move past the negative emotions on to experience the positive ones. These all contributed to making her the proud person that she is now. She decided to transfer to a four-year institution to apply the skills that she been acquiring to make a difference in the campus and the community. As a current Psychobiology major at UCLA, she has been able to approach her goals with her own personal vision and the help of others like the Ahura scholarship.

Bahareh has provided an article instead of a video which can be found here.

Rambod HakhamaneshiRambod Hakhamaneshi was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. In 1998, he ranked 72 among almost 300,000 other students, in Iranian National undergraduate entrance exam (Konkoor) and he was admitted in Civil Department of Sharif University of Technology (SUT), the most competitive Engineering school in Iran. In 2003, Rambod graduated from Sharif University of Technology. Not long after graduation, he started his M.S. Transportation Engineering program at SUT, graduated in 2005. Rambod presented the result of his researches at The 8th World Congress on Railway Research, in Seoul, Korea, in May 2008. One year later in February of 2009 he published a paper about “Maintenance Management Models” in Scientia Iranica, Journal of Civil Engineering. At the same time Rambod worked at Atiesaz consulting company where he began as an entry-level transportation engineer and was promoted to Project Manager after three months. In his last job in Iran Rambod was working in the civil department of Rah Shahr International Group. There, his colleagues and Rambod realized the need for an independent department for transportation, and therefore, established “the transportation department” within the company. This was a great success, and increased his company's profit dramatically. In 1998, as an active member of the Zoroastrian community, Rambod attended Kanoon-e-Daneshjooyan Zartoshti. After 2 years of active participation in different committees, he was elected as a board member. There, they arranged a camp for Zoroastrian teenagers once a year, in summer. Rambod was the president of this Camp in 2002. More than seventy young Zoroastrian students from all around Iran came to Tehran to take part in educational, cultural and sporting activities during the 7-day camp. Rambod immigrated to the United States in 2009. Currently he is a first year MBA student at San Jose State University, in San Jose, CA. At the same time he is working as a civil engineer at the town of Hillsborough.

Watch Rambod's video by clicking here