Originally from Iran, Shila moved to the United States to find better educational opportunities than she was allowed in her home country. Because of her religion, the Bahá'í Faith, she was not allowed to attend a university in Iran.
She follows in the footsteps of her sister, who also attended Howard Community College (HCC).
“I chose HCC because compared to other institutions, HCC was much more affordable,” said Shila, who also joined an honors program at the college. “I learned about many great opportunities such as internships and undergraduate research at HCC, and I become even more interested in studying here.”
Shila was successful during high school in Iran, winning first place in both a mathematics and local astronomy competition. She brought her high-achieving attitude to HCC where she was an honors student and was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa, the international honors society of two-year colleges, and participated in undergraduate research, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
“HCC is a diverse campus and professors are really supportive and amazing,” said Shila. “You can get involved with the campus in different ways and there are so many resources that you can take advantage of.”
Shila will graduate in Fall 2020 with a general studies degree. With dreams to one day become a cardiac surgeon, she plans to continue to a four-year university where pre-med courses are offered.
Recently, Shila’s undergraduate research has allowed her to become part of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) program. Working with Dr. Brendan Diamond, an astronomy professor at HCC, Shila is using one of the telescopes on the SET building to search for exoplanets using data gathered by TESS.
“It’s a really great program, and I’m so grateful to be a part of Dr. Diamond’s team,” said Shila.
Wherever you want to go, you can get there from here.