Donor Profile: Shahrzad Amirani
The gift of education
Alumna Shahrzad Amirani has a passion for helping others, so it’s only natural that she would establish a scholarship for UT Arlington students.
Born in Iran, she came to America in 1984 to pursue higher education. She lived with her uncle in Arlington, so UT Arlington was a logical choice. Shortly after enrolling, the chemistry major received a scholarship.
“The level of kindness and empathy I received from faculty and staff has been unmatched in my life,” Dr. Amirani said. “Because of my experience at UT Arlington and how it changed my life, I promised myself that some day I would give back by creating educational opportunities for other women in similar conditions.”
So she funded the Shahrzad Amirani Endowed Scholarship for full-time students who received all or part of their preparatory education in a country other than the United States.
Amirani worked in chemistry labs her senior year but wanted more interaction with people. After completing her bachelor’s degree in chemistry, she was offered a teaching and research assistantship in the College of Business. She jumped at the chance, eventually earning a Ph.D. in business administration.
“Since childhood, I always wanted to become a cardiologist,” she said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have adequate financial means to attend medical school, so I had to find other career paths.”
Amirani credits former student affairs Assistant Vice President Frank Gault, whom she met her first week on campus, with guiding her.
“In the past 24 years, Frank has been my friend, mentor and American father,” she said. “I certainly owe him a large debt of gratitude, because without his love and support I would not be where I am today.”
Amirani is now the head of new product marketing for the internal medicine portfolio at sanofi-aventis U.S., the world’s third largest pharmaceutical company. After leaving UT Arlington, she was a marketing consultant before joining AT&T Lucent Technology, where she held a variety of positions.
With her early interest in medicine, the pharmaceutical industry has been a good fit, she says. Working at sanofi-aventis in New Jersey allows her to bring innovative and lifesaving products to market.
“These new medicines significantly improve patients’ lives and alleviate their suffering,” she said.
And they enable her to help others, whether patients or students.