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Vakhshoori Scholarship Recipients for school year 2014-2015


Arash GobalArash Gobal was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. He attended Sharif University of Technology for his undergraduate studies and in 2013, got his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from that institution. Followed by that, he moved to the United States and started his graduate studies towards a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Davis. His main subject of research at UC Davis is Additive Manufacturing Technologies (also known as 3D printing). This technology has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry and could improve the worldwide accessibility of manufactured products significantly. The idea of improving the quality of life in remote areas was a major motivation for Arash to choose this field of research.

Arash had been involved in the Zoroastrian community of Iran throughout his years as an undergraduate student. He was an active member of the Zoroastrian Students Association(Kanoon Daneshjooyan Zartoshti) for about five years where he took part in various social activities and managed to help with organizing and holding a number of events including the annual Zoroastrian music festival, annual religious congress and competitions(Manthra) and the annual Zoroastrian Olympics(Jaam-e Janbakhtegan). He was also the instructor of several workshops that intended to familiarize teenagers with basic engineering concepts. Being a member of ZSA helped him gain invaluable social and management skills which have been of utmost importance in facing life challenges.

Arash encourages his fellow Zoroastrian youngsters to always follow their passion, don't get discouraged by minor drawbacks and most important of all, enjoy every single bit of their endeavors. One of the most precious Zoroastrian teachings is to be in pursuit of happiness. Arash wishes everyone to apply these invaluable ideas in their lives to make the world a better place for themselves and people around them.

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Shiva GojginiShiva Gojgini , 5th year PhD student in Professor Segura’s lab in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has developed a three-dimensional presentation platform to introduce pro-vascular growth factors to their biological target thereby eliciting an increased therapeutic effect of those growth factors. The platform shows potential to improve current therapeutic applications of various pro-vascular growth factors. The platform involves the immobilization of the growth factor to nanoparticles made of heparin. Shiva discovered by exposing the growth factors, while bound to the heparin nanoparticle, to vascular cells in vitro enhanced the cells’ capacity to form a functional vascular network. This observation suggested that pro-vascular treatments for cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, diabetes and atherosclerosis, to name a few, could be significantly improved to restore vascular function in damaged organs. Before arriving in Los Angeles to join Dr. Tatiana Segura’s lab, focused on engineering cell instructive material, Shiva completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees, at two of the top ranking universities in Iran, in chemical engineering at Amir Kabir University and Biotechnology at Sharif University, respectively. She got involved in the Society of Petroleum Engineering (SPE) during undergrad and then became the vice president of the organization at Amir Kabir in 2005 where she worked to initiate collaborations between SPE student organizations across various universities to help connect young engineers while also connecting different national universities.

Being a Zoroastrian, Shiva has always been proud and eager to distribute her knowledge to Zoroastrian students. She became an active member of the Zoroastrian youth committee ( “Kanoon”) during her undergraduate studies where she created the event “konkoor for Zoroastrian students” and was involved in designing questions and administering exams on a weekly basis at Kanoon for all the Zoroastrian students to prepare themselves for the final entrance exam for universities. She also was part of the organization and performance of the two major Zoroastrian sporting events “Jaame Jan bakhtegan” and the religious event “Mantra”. As a result those efforts, she was honored as one the best Zoroastrian students in the committee by her fellow members.

Shiva continues to grow as a student of science and continues to encourage and guide her peer Zoroastrian youngsters to learn and achieve their own goals in science, engineering and Zoroastrianism. Shiva believes strongly as a Zoroastrian that the main goal for members within the society should be to thrive and nourish the Zoroastrian community so as to become a more pronounced united community in all aspects including: art, religion and science.

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Shaheen_Contractor Shaheen Contractor  was born and raised in India and received a bachelor’s in Business Administration from the Symbiosis International University India. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Sustainability Management from Columbia University in the city of New York, with a focus on rural development and environmental sustainability.

At Symbiosis, where she completed her undergraduate studies, she has striven to balance academic excellence with extracurricular activities having scored a 3.45 GPA, in addition to winning numerous awards in athletics and playing a leading role in organizing their international college fest, Sympulse.

Her love for the environment goes back to the time she visited her grandparents farm as a child and was enchanted with my surroundings To this end, she worked as an environmental researcher at the LEAF Initiative for almost two years from 2012-2014, and published a number of articles on topics relating to agriculture and food security in various publications. In order to dwell deeper into this globally important topic she completed a post graduate diploma in environmental law from the National Law School of India University, a course that opened up her mind to the complexities of environmental sustainability and the legal parameters of the same.

Her work and research has sensitized her to the urgent need for reforms required to address the problems faced by the underprivileged in the fields of agriculture, food security, poverty and education. She has been active in this regard ever since her college years, having interned at a number of NGOs and orphanages, including the reputed Teach for India Program and the BSSK Orphanage. These experiences have not only helped her understand the local and regional issues that stem from social inequalities that exist in society today, but have also deepened her understanding of the interface between the environment and development, an understanding she have further developed through her Masters studies at Columbia University. She hopes to use this course as a stepping stone so as to contribute towards an environmentally sustainable future and look forward to raising awareness on environmental sustainability amongst the Zoroastrian community.

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Jazeel Limzerwala Jazeel Limzerwala  is currently a 1st year PhD student at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School; a world leader in medicine and biomedical research, at Rochester, Minnesota, USA. He has completed his bachelor’s and master’s degree in science in biotechnology from the university of Mumbai. Since his school days he has always been a bright student, enjoyed learning and simultaneously excelled at extra curricular activities. Never being satisfied with the ordinary in life, he has always enjoyed pushing himself extra in order to achieve everything he desired. Being among the best in academics and sports in his school (I have been a national level soccer player since the age of 13 and played professional soccer from 16) he has always been looked up to and that has inculcated a sense of responsibility in him to always the set right example for my colleagues and peers since a young age. He has always been proactive and enjoys taking the initiative in doing things or starting something new, be it in class or on his team. Being the captain of his state soccer team, he has shouldered the responsibility of guiding and inspiring people from a young age. Within the parsi community too in Mumbai, he is a dynamic figure and always encourages the younger generation to actively participate in community events and obtaining a good all round education so as to become leaders themselves some day.

During his undergrad years, Jazeel have been actively involved in various activities of his department and college including organizing various inter-college festivals and doing social work. He was among the few select students to perform a research project during his 2nd year, and my project went on to get some wide appreciation in the city and at a national conference. His colleagues have always had very high regard for him because of his personality, humble attitude and passionate work ethic, and he believe that is 1 of the key aspects to becoming a leader. He has always enjoyed guiding and helping people who look up to him and giving them advice whenever needed.

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Delna WeilDelna Weil  was born and raised in Oak Park, a suburb just west of downtown Chicago. With a deep interest in different cultures and languages, she went on to study comparative literature and psychology at Barnard College in New York City. While in New York, she continued her classical piano studies at the Manhattan School of Music, led a Saturday morning music program for children from disadvantaged communities, and served as a conversation partner for foreign exchange students at the New York International Center. Inspired by her experience studying abroad in Argentina, she wrote her thesis on issues of national identity in works by Jorge Luis Borges and Ulysses by James Joyce. After graduation, she continued her pursuit of cultural knowledge and exchange as an English teacher in a small rural community in France.

Upon returning to the U.S., Delna channeled her interest in education at the University of Chicago Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education. While working as an editor on the newest edition of Elementary Mathematics, she reflected often on the importance of quality materials and curriculum for young learners, and the lack of access to such tools for the vast majority of the world's youth. Along with her continued efforts to foster cultural exchange and improve learning for marginalized youth at Chicago nonprofits such as Hostel International, Open Books, Chicago Cultural Association, and Allowance for Good, this work experience helped her decide to pursue graduate studies in International Education Policy Analysis at Stanford University.

As a graduate student at Stanford, Delna is evaluating the successes and shortcomings of the newly implemented National Skills Development Plan in India, particularly on low-income people attempting to find work in the informal economy. While technical and vocational training has been heralded as a means to lift people out of poverty and provide them with a means to sustain a decent livelihood, much work remains to be done in improving lines of communication between education and industry, designing more effective ways to teach and assess critical vocational skills, and increasing access for traditionally marginalized individuals. Delna hopes to contribute to the growing body of research in this field. After graduation, she plans to work towards bridging the gap between education and work by providing her expertise through grant work or government research.

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Nicole ShroffNicole Shroff  was born and raised in London, United Kingdom. She is currently in the process of completing an undergraduate law degree from The London School of Economics and Political Science and is looking forward to commencing a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice next Autumn.

Having recently obtained a Training Contract at an international law firm, she looks forward to practicing commercial law in the world’s major financial, business and regulatory centres. With current trends indicating a rebalancing of work to Asia, Africa and other developing countries, Nicole wants to contribute to large deals and experience different jurisdictions, businesses and cultures. She is an avid writer, having recently written an article regarding gender diversity at the bar and hopes to represent female progression in the legal profession. Her aim is to inspire young women and the Zoroastrian youth to pursue a career in commercial law.

Nicole’s early childhood years in Mumbai, India inspired her contribution to causes effecting social change. This is reflected in her voluntary work at Oxfam and Envision that aimed to combat the effects of destitution in the UK. As the Regional Runner-Up prize-winner at the Jack Petchy Public Speaking Competition, she spoke about poverty and promoted Zoroastrianism’s ideals of a commitment to a life based on good deeds. With her role at the LSE ‘Agents of Change’ project, she continues to raise awareness of gender inequality and liaises with global non-profit organisations to secure volunteering opportunities for LSE students.

She has written an article on Zoroastrianism’s strongly dualistic theology, the Avesta and ideals of spiritual resplendence; she hopes this will encourage young Zoroastrian’s to take an interest in their rich heritage and culture.

Nicole is grateful to the Vakhshoori Foundation for making her a recipient of the Vakhshoori Scholarship and looks forward to using her skills to promote active social involvement, both within and outside the Zoroastrian community.

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Armin ZohoorArmin Zohoor was born in a Zoaratosrian family, in Tehran, Iran. Armin graduated from high school and moved to Canada to pursue education. Armin got accepted at Ryreson University for Civil engineering. During the first year, Armin worked hard to achieve a high GPA in order to earn the dean’s list statues and obtain University dean scholarship and Bursar Scholarship. In the second year, Armin started to work as a T.A for Electronic circuit course. In addition to the circuit course, Armin was offered to work on transportation Impact and parking Demand research with city of Toronto which lead to Armin being granted the YSGS award. In the third year, Armin had the honor to work with a professor to develop a software called Emme3 for traffic analysis and trip generation. Armin was awarded the Ryerson gold medal due to his contribution to the project. After graduating from Ryreson, Armin moved to the United States and decided to continue the Master’s program at the San Jose State University in the department of Civil Engineering. In the first year, Armin got the honor to work on a project that included: cost estimating of 3 story commercial buildings as well as, 3D, 4D and 5D modeling of the building. Similarly, Armin has done research on best BMP for the post development. Within this time, Armin learned how to design a new way to build more efficient building for saving energy and water uses. Currently, Armin is working as a teacher assistant while earning a Master’s degree at the San Jose state university.

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Farah VimadalalFarah Vimadalal was born in Hartford, Connecticut and lived in Glastonbury, Connecticut. She moved to Weston, Massachusetts when she was in sixth grade. Farah grew up in a Zoroastrian family; both her parents came to the United States from India. Her dad is a dastoor and has generations of dastoors in his family. Growing up in Connecticut, her parents drove her 3 hours each way to New York to attend the ZAGNY religious classes and when she moved to Boston, she attended the ZAGBA religious classes. While growing up, she was fortunate to be surrounded by two amazing Zarthusti communities both in Connecticut and Massachusetts. These communities have given her lifelong friends and are a second family.

Farah is currently a freshman at Sacred Heart University studying biology in hopes of joining the field of medicine and continuing her education. She is very passionate about learning about the human body and helping people. In the future, Farah hopes to use her education, profession and passion to help people and save lives.

During Farah’s junior year of high school, she had the opportunity to work in the Department of Public Health at Harvard University in Boston. As part of this experience, she worked with underprivileged communities conducting field surveys for a research project involving the warning labels on cigarette packets and how they affect people. After her summer as a research intern, she felt responsible and proud that she was part of a study that would, in turn, promote the creation of new labeling regulations for cigarette manufacturers, which would then impact the very people that she helped complete the surveys. She had felt so close to them when they shared their lives with her; they let her mature in a way that would just never have happened in the swimming pool or on the hockey field.

Farah has been a Girl Scout throughout her life and completed her Bronze and Silver Awards and continued to complete the Gold Award which is the highest honor a Girl Scout can get. She also had the honor of serving on the Girls Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts CEO Girls Advisory Committee. Farah is very close to her grandmother and was motivated to lead and create a Weather Hazard Awareness/Educational Program for Senior Citizens as part of her Gold Award project. She developed tools that Seniors in Weston can use for weather related emergencies. She got the support of ZAGBA and the Zarthusti children in Boston in the creation of the handouts for her project. Farah believes that young Zoroastrians have a lot of opportunity to create an impact in our community and hopes that she will be able to give back to the community in the future. Farah is a recipient of several commendations and awards from Weston High School for Applied Discrete Math, Science, Sportsmanship and Community Service.

Watch Farah's video by clicking here