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Vakhshoori Scholarship Recipients for school year 2016-2017

  • Mr. Kerman Daruwall : $5,000
    • Doctor in Religions, specializing in Zoroastrianism, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, England
  • Mr. Goodarz Mehr: $5,000
    • PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Virginia, USA
  • Mr. Arman Izadi: $3,000
    • PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech University, Virginia, USA
  • Ms. Ayesha Rabadi: $2,000
    • PhD in Education, Columbia University, New York, USA
  • Mr. Arash Yazdani: $1000
    • PhD in  Materials Science & Engineering, UC San Diego, CA, USA
  • Ms. Delshad Shroff: $1000
    • M.S. in Education, Columbia University, New York, USA

Kerman Daruwalla

Kerman Dadi Daruwalla  has started his PhD studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London on the Zoroastrian Priestly Tradition.

 He holds an Electronics and Telecommunications engineering degree from the University of Mumbai, India and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University in New York, where he was the Phi Beta Delta International Scholar. After working at AT&T as a Design Engineer in the USA, he returned to India to pursue the MBA in Strategy and Leadership at the Indian School of Business. Post the MBA, he worked for one of the largest telecommunications companies in India, Reliance Communications in the role of a Deputy General Manager working closely with the Chairman of the Group.

Simultaneously, he has pursued studies in Avesta and Pahlavi up to the Masters level at the University of Mumbai. To further pursue his passion in the Zoroastrian religion, he took a one year sabbatical to undertake the MA in Iranian Studies at SOAS, where he attained a distinction in all the courses. As part of his PhD research, he will be working on the Zoroastrian Yasna ceremony and on the documentation of the millennia old oral tradition of the Zoroastrian priesthood wherein all the Avestan prayers are memorized to be recited in the higher liturgical ceremonies.

Kerman is married to Zenobia and has a two year old daughter, Kainaaz.

Pledge:

I pledge to further the cause of Zoroastrian studies, especially the Avesta and Pahlavi languages. Also as part of my PhD and beyond, I intend to document our priestly education and training methods for posterity and preservation of our heritage, and hope to play a part in the rejuvenation of the Zoroastrian priestly tradition.

Watch Kerman's video by clicking here


Goodarz Mehr

Goodarz Mehr was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. He was drawn to mathematics olympiad during high school because it was something beyond the routine mathematics problems that are solved in a glance. After several months of hard work and multiple rounds of exams, he was able to win the silver (in 2010) and gold (in 2011) medals of the Iranian National Mathematical Olympiad among thousands of participating elite students, and for the first time among the Zoroastrians of Iran, he became one of the six members of the Iranian National Team that participated in the 53 International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) 2012 in Argentina. He was awarded a bronze medal at the IMO and the Iranian team was ranked 8 among teams from 101 participating countries. Aside from these honors, Goodarz believes that his most valuable experience from that period was developing a problem-solving attitude and learning to think both critically and creatively when facing a problem.

 Being a national gold medalist, Goodarz was exempted from taking the national university entrance exam (Konkoor), and for his love of cars he entered the Mechanical Engineering program at Sharif University of Technology. He excelled in his undergraduate studies as well, and was graduated as the top student of his class in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In his undergraduate thesis under the supervision of Professor M. Durali, Goodarz developed a novel methodology for designing a hydraulic Cross-Flow turbine, and successfully applied it to design a high-efficiency Cross-Flow turbine that could be used for remote electricity generation. After graduation, Goodarz started NETTRO Technologies Ltd. with a few of his friends. NETTRO is a startup company that aims at creating a web-based platform for intelligent and efficient transportation to alleviate the multifaceted environmental and urban problems faced by Goodarz’s home city, Tehran. In his undergraduate studies, Goodarz was active in community service as well. As a member of the Zoroastrian Students Association (Kanoon), he assisted the conduction of Jam-e Janbakhtegan (the annual Zoroastrian sports competition) and Manthra (the annual Zoroastrian religious competition).

Goodarz was directly admitted to the Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering program at Vir- ginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and will start his graduate studies in January 2017. He will conduct research at the Advanced Systems and Intelligent Machines Laboratory under the supervision of Professor A. Eskandarian, where he will de- velop Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), to be eventually employed in the real world for improving transportation safety and reducing fuel consumption.

Pledge:

I feel blessed because of the great friends and mentors that I have had over the years, people that have motivated and inspired me and those whom I have helped; and this mutual friendship and collaboration has allowed us to pursue and achieve our goals. Therefore, I believe that the Zoroastrian community flourishes when its members, first, stand united and help each other and second, have knowledge of and ponder on their values to get an appreciation of them. To that end, I would love to assist and guide young Zoroastrians in the areas that I can, especially their education, and to give them inspiration and encourage them towards their goals. Moreover, I would like to keep in touch with Kanoon and to help them with new programs and projects (possibly through NETTRO), because I find it an essential organization that serves to strengthen our community.

Watch Goodarz's video by clicking here


Arman Izadi

Arman Izadi, was born and raised in Yazd, Iran. He got his B.Sc. degree in Industrial Engineering from Yazd university in 2009. Then, he continued his education in M.Sc. program in Tehran Polytechnic by attaining the fifth rank in the nationwide entrance exam among all students in his field. He conducted his M.Sc. thesis in one of the greatest pharmaceutical companies in Iran by re-designing their whole distribution network in order to optimize their operational and transportation costs. After working two years in this organization, he moved to the United States to follow his Ph.D. at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

He changed his field to Transportation Infrastructure and Systems Engineering in his Ph.D. program and currently he is a researcher in Air Transportation Systems Laboratory. His research area is related to simulating the flights over the Atlantic Oceanic region and optimizing the aircrafts’ trajectories to reduce the air traffic congestion and delays in oceanic airspaces. Now, Arman is engaging in his research with high motivation since he believes that the advantages of this project is going to provide welfare and convenience for tons of people by saving their time and also reduce the amount of fuel and emission to our environment.

Besides, Arman was an active member of “Yazd Zoroastrian Youth Organization (YZYO)” engaging in different aspects. From sport perspective, he was a basketball player achieved numerous medals in different tournaments including local and national competitions. Moreover, he was one of the editorial board members of a cultural and religious journal ”Parsian” published under the supervision of YZYO. Also, he was the inspector of Iran Zoroastrian Chamber of Commerce (IZCC) and he cooperated with the IZCC student director to be the intermediate link between Zoroastrian students and Zoroastrian business holders. Also, he participated in Congress of Zoroastrian Outstanding Youth in 2011 and 2012, and he was in the organizing team of this congress for the next two years. Religiously, he presented articles in the national religious congress “Manthra” investigating significant concepts in Gatha, which were selected as the best articles for two years in 2013 and 2014.

Pledge:

Personally, I have always been thinking about the effective approaches serving our community. In future, one of my main plans is continuing my collaboration with World Zoroastrian Chamber of commerce (WZCC) and connect Zoroastrian students with Zoroastrian business holders worldwide through developing a comprehensive database. I believe that Industry and Integrity are so significant for the future of our community and the keys are facilitating communication and exchange of knowledge and trade between Zoroastrians all around the world. Furthermore, for having active members in our society, I encourage students to familiarize themselves with strategic planning, define their mission in their lives, set their goals and initiatives for long-term horizon and find their own approaches for serving the Zoroastrian society. Moreover, I have mentored some Zoroastrian students in my field and I eagerly declare my readiness to help other students and also Vakhshoori Foundation to propagate its ideas.

Watch Arman's video by clicking here


Ayesha Rabadi

Ayesha Rabadi is an international student from Mumbai, India. She has recently completed a Master of Arts Degree - Dual Certification, at Teachers College, Columbia University (May 2016), with an increased knowledge of early childhood education and a renewed enthusiasm; introspecting and evaluating her teaching practice towards a more child-centered and multicultural approach. Before she came to TC, she worked at a child development center for fourteen years with children from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. She continue to be involved in social causes in India for the education of children in rural areas as well as special needs children in her city, Mumbai.

In her short time at TC, she has collaborated on a book with Dr. Souto-Manning on Reading, Writing and Talk, conducted a cultural exchange with disadvantaged children in Costa Rica and she has been selected as an ambassador for the Arts for the Very Young International network. More recently, she has begun research with Teachers College and the Department of Education in New York City to study the teaching practices in Universal Pre-Kindergarten classrooms across the city.

She is a strong proponent of culturally relevant practices and believe in play with a purpose, including all children and their unique ways of learning. She is also a newly admitted doctoral student and have begun my Ed.D program at Teachers College in September 2016. With a concentration on teacher education and multicultural practices, she would like to focus on the role that culture plays on identity and education.

Pledge:

I am very passionate about the role that culture plays in the development of an individual. Being a Zoroastrian, our community values assimilation and living in peace and harmony. This has enabled us to co-exist in India and all over the world, while maintaining a strong cultural identity. I take great pride in my Zoroastrian roots and feel it is essential for individuals to be connected to their own culture and learn from each other.

Being in a new country, made me aware of the issues of prejudice and power apparent in the United States as well as in the world. I had the opportunity to critically reflect on my personal experiences, beliefs, and biases and to examine my privilege of being well-educated and from the Zoroastrian community that is looked upon with respect and admiration for its altruism and contributions to society. I hope to continue to be an ambassador for my community and uphold the righteous values it represents.

The Vakhshoori Foundation in its benevolence is providing the financial assistance which is greatly needed for young and enterprising Zoroastrian youth to fulfill their academic dreams. In my capacity, I would like to provide mentoring and assistance to Zoroastrian students. I believe that higher education is an investment in the future and we need to encourage our youth to achieve greater heights in pursuit of wisdom. Providing a support system where students can reach out for guidance is one of my main interests. As Zoroastrians, we share a common background and belief system, I hope to use these commonalities to blossom into a more supportive community. Please feel free to contact me for anything related to education.

Watch Ayesha's video by clicking here


Arash Yazdani

Arash Yazdani was born and raised in Yazd, Iran. Materials Science and Engineering was his first choice in the nation-wide university entrance examination for the bachelor program in 2003, where he succeeded to enroll in this program at Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST), the center of excellence for advanced materials and processing in the entire country. He made his decision to pursue his desired subject for the bachelor thesis, entitled “synthesis of wollastonite powder”. As a result of the in-depth investigation, the gathered findings ended up in six papers, and one patent./p>

Following his graduation in 2007, he entered the same school to continue towards the master degree. He decided to work on an important subject, “Deposition of nano sized hard titanium nitride coating on tool steel using active screen plasma nitriding (ASPN) method”. His research was positively reviewed and certified by the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST) and the National Foundation of Elites (NFE) and consequently, funded by the NFE and the INIC (Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council). Due to the applicable and attention-grabbing materials, it eventually brought him ten papers and one patent. More importantly, he signed several contracts with the producers of die casting molds for treating their final products.

As a PhD student of Materials Science and Engineering at University of California San Diego (UCSD) starting from fall 2016, Arash is working on the development as well as improvement the mechanical and structural properties of the advanced ceramics and amorphous composites.

Pledge:

Arash thinks that there are numerous potentials in fertile Zoroastrian community which need to be guided correctly. Immigration is a big transition in the life, but the bigger success is to keep the pace with the people in the new community which definitely could not achieved unless each move is precisely planned and given thought. Arash has had extensive teaching experience in US and Iran and believes this would come into handy helping Zoroastrian youth leaving their countries. More importantly, he pledges to help the Zoroastrian youth with their journey through academic career which in his opinion is the guarantee for their prosperity in the US. He would be very grateful to share his experience with anyone who is interested in pursuing higher education as he used to do while living in Iran. He is also proud to say that Arash and his friends have had significant success in helping out a number of talented Zoroastrian applicants with their application process.

Watch Arash's video by clicking here


Delshad Shroff

Delshad Shroff comes from a middle-class Parsi family in Chennai, India. She was the topper in high school and received the best outgoing student award for the class of 2011. Her achievements in high school earned her a full-tuition merit scholarship to study at New York University Abu Dhabi. During her undergraduate education, she volunteered for after-school and special needs programs, participated in the reality show and was selected as the student representative speaker for her commencement ceremony. After acquiring her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, she worked as an educational consultant for Hale Education group. She is currently enrolled in the Masters in Developmental Psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia university and aims to facilitate the creation and implementation of the most effective early childhood programs in India.

Pledge:

I want to make sure the Zoroastrian community is always the pioneer in the field of education. I will also always be willing to be a career mentor to other Zoroastrian students. I have worked as an educational consultant for Hale Education Group and helped many students, including a Parsi student. Alternatively, I will also provide my best assistance with job search and CV building. In this way, I want to ensure the success of all young people in our Zoroastrian community. Additionally, I hope that these people can also serve as mentors and pass down this assistance to all in need.

Watch Delshad's video by clicking here