(’89 BA, Chemistry; ’93 PhD, Business Administra-tion)
Vice President, Head of New Products and Innovation, Ipsen Biopharma
The scholarship Shahrzad Amirani received as a UTA student became her lifeline to a college education. To inspire female students with similar needs, she established the Shahrzad Amirani Endowed Scholarship for undergraduates who demonstrate academic excellence and ambition and who receive all or part of their preparatory education in a country other than the United States. Dr. Amirani was named a Distinguished Alumna in 2019 and has served on the UTA President’s Advisory Board since 2009.
What brought you to UTA from Iran?
After the revolution in Iran, our world as we knew it collapsed. The universities there closed for several years, so I decided to come to the U.S. In my family, education was the No. 1 priority. My mother, herself a college graduate, emphasized higher education. As for why I chose UTA, my uncle lived in the area and spoke very highly of the University.
How did the scholarship you received impact your education?
When I think about my situation as a student, the numbers didn’t add up. My scholarship equaled survival. If not for this support, I would have dropped out because I had no other means of paying for my education.
What motivated you to establish the Shahrzad Amirani Endowed Scholarship?
For me, it was a moral responsibility. I’m somebody who survived and thrived because of a scholarship, so it was a no-brainer for me to help others. After all, education is the most effective way to help people succeed.
How did your UTA education prepare you for your career?
The knowledge I gained in chemistry, business, and applied statistics provided the perfect background for my career in the drug development industry. In addition to giving me a technical edge, UTA was very nurturing. The UTA village became my home and gave me the comfort, support, and confidence to succeed academically and professionally.
What message do you have for your fellow UTA alumni?
We have a shared responsibility to develop and nurture the next generation of Mavericks. It should be part of our DNA. Every time you help educate somebody, that becomes your legacy.