Where Are They Now: Pasha Ameli
Every student has their unique story. UCI is a destination for scholars all over the world. Whether it’s the impressive academic prestige, the world-renowned faculty, the plentiful professional development opportunities, or maybe it’s just impossible to beat weather of Southern California, there are plenty of reasons people choose to make UCI their academic home. As it turns out, for UCI alum Pasha Ameli it happened to be a combination of all of these things. Pasha made the trek to the United States from Iran to eventually earn his masters in civil engineering from UCI in 2010, while going on to obtain his doctorate degree in civil engineering from UCI in 2013. In addition to his academic success, Pasha continues to give back to his university today, serving as the Co-Chair and Director of Communications for the newly formed Graduate Alumni Chapter.
UCI Graduate Division decided to catch up with Pasha and find out what he’s up to nowadays.
UCI GD: Why did you decide to come to UCI in the first place?
Pasha: It was because of the research opportunity. UCI has one of the most impressive engineering programs in the world, so it’s something I wanted to be a part of.
UCI GD: Obviously you came a long way to receive your graduate education. Did you always know you wanted to study in the United States?
Pasha: My dad actually went to school in Berlin, so leaving the country to receive my education wasn’t something totally foreign for me. I knew what I wanted to study, so I was going to go where I could get the best opportunity to do that.
UCI GD: When you first got to the United States and on campus, what was your biggest challenge initially?
Pasha: I came to the United States with zero dependance on my family. That part of growing up was hard. I didn’t really see any big cultural difference though. I felt like the campus was very welcoming and I meshed in right away. I know that’s not the case for everyone, but for me it was.
UCI GD: You were involved in a lot of extracurricular activities at UCI, can you talk about those a little bit?
Pasha: Yes, I definitely wanted to maximize my time at UCI. I really enjoy communicating with people and I wanted to give back, so I actually founded “AGS International”. Associated Graduate Students (AGS) has evolved into such a great resource for the student body and has come a long way. I just wanted to do my part and help incoming international students that might not have had the easiest transition. I remember actually having to convince my advisor to let me be involved in some of these things, because they thought I should be focusing more on my research, but this was so important to me.
UCI GD: What made you so inclined to be involved and give back to the student body right away.
Pasha: Why not me? Why not give back? I was actually an RA as well and it was one of the best times of my life. I really enjoyed putting myself in different situations and paying things forward.
UCI GD: Talk about what you do now. How did your job come about at Exponent?
Pasha: I wear a bunch of different hats at Exponent. I’m a managing engineer and work in construction consulting. I love my job and couldn’t be happier. They value quality and how hard you work which is a rarity these days in a society that seems to value who you know rather than what you know. I was actually the first UCI PhD graduate hired at the company.
UCI GD: You still give back to UCI to this day, can you describe what you do for the UCI Graduate Alumni Chapter?
Pasha: I’m the Director of Communications for the new Graduate Alumni Chapter. I’m super excited for what we’re going to be able to do here. It’s obviously very new, but we look forward to connecting graduate alums back to the university and reengaging with them.
For information on the graduate programs UCI has to offer, visit us at www.grad.uci.edu and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.