Student Spotlight (2015)
Norco College Honors student Faran Imani has been awarded a Transfer Alliance Program scholarship for $10,000 to attend UCLA. He is the second Norco student to earn this transfer scholarship.
TAP scholarships are tied to the completion of the scholars/honors program at a California Community College. Scholarships are based on merit and financial need. A TAP scholarship winner receives $5,000 a year for the two years at the university level.
“I am grateful to be chosen as a UCLA TAP scholarship recipient,” said Imani, who graduated from Corona High School in 2011 and picked UCLA over UC Berkeley. “It is amazing to see how my hard work paid off.”
Imani’s journey to UCLA began in his parents’ native homeland in Iran. His parents, Faramarz and Nahid, were members of the Baha’i Faith, the country’s largest minority religion in Iran. He says that after a political uprising, “new systematic persecution” of the Baha’is started.
“My mom escaped the country, while my dad, who was studying on a student visa in the United States, realized he might never return to his homeland in Iran for fear of being persecuted,” Imani said. “I remember being intrigued by the captivating stories my parents told about how politics rapidly changed their lives, stories that eventually contributed to my desire to become a political science major. I was bewildered by not only how one political event could change the course of my parents’ lives, but also how it could affect the entire world.”
His parents’ stories set him on a course he never imagined for himself. Imani began attending political conferences from California to Maine. For the last two summers he has traveled to the Eastern seaboard to attend a 10-day conference. In Santa Ana he joined the Citizen Leadership Program at the Delhi Center.
“Participating in these sessions gave me a new outlook on how individuals can use voting as a tool to make a difference,” Imani said. “I gained a realization of how social and political activism truly makes a difference in the community and, consequently, the positive effect it can have on our society.”
Imani’s desire for political action at Norco College eventually led him to Honors Program Coordinator Lyn Greene. It was the spring semester of 2012 and he was looking to make a difference on campus. A decision to run for secretary of the Norco Scholars Association further defined his educational path.
“That decision changed everything for me,” he said. “Dr. Greene really helped me reevaluate what I wanted and where I wanted to go as a student. Looking back on my experience in the Honors Program, I realize the real benefit of the program is not the fine look that it has on a personal statement, or the “H” on a transcript, but the motivating environment created by the students and staff who work diligently to build a community that is far more greater than anything a piece of paper could reveal.”
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