summer 2008

NSM Grad’s American Dream Wins National Scholarship
NSM Related
Arman Jahangiri
Arman Jahangiri
Photo: Pathik Shah
By Rolando Garcia
Natural Sciences and Mathematics Communications
At 22, Arman Jahangiri already has lived an American dream. Eleven years after fleeing Iran with his family in search of freedom and opportunity, Jahangiri graduated in May from the University of Houston and is headed to medical school.

However, Jahangiri is just getting started. His big dreams for the future – both his and America’s – have earned him national recognition. He is among 12 winners of the 2008 Merage Foundation American Dream Fellowship, a nationwide scholarship competition that recognizes the most exceptional immigrant students with the greatest potential to contribute to their new homeland.

The Merage Foundation announced the scholarship winners this past spring, and each will receive $20,000 to pursue their American dream.

Jahangiri, who majored in biology, will attend the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas this fall. His interest in medicine was sparked while growing up in Iran, where his mother practiced dentistry at a clinic for the poor. He spent time at the clinic everyday after school, befriending the physicians and accompanying them as they attended to their patients.

“I saw how priceless the doctor-patient relationship is,” Jahangiri said.

However, his dream goes beyond helping just the patients he will treat. Concerned about the lack of affordable health care for many Americans, Jahangiri sees his future role as that of physician, advocate, policy maker and educator all rolled into one.

In addition to his medical degree, Jahangiri will earn a master’s in business administration from Rice University through an M.D.-M.B.A. program. He hopes combining medical knowledge with administrative know-how will make him a more effective advocate for uninsured Americans.

Tackling such a staggeringly complex and intractable problem like health care might seem a bit ambitious for someone who has not yet started his first semester of medical school. But Jahangiri, who spent the first 11 years of his life in a place where the future is bleak, did not come to America to dream small.

“There’s no freedom, no hope” in Iran, Jahangiri said. “In America, people are rewarded for their hard work.”
© University of Houston 2008