By Simone Edwards, Staff Writer — Elnaz Nourabadi, known as Elena, came to America from Iran when she was just a few years old.
The recent presidential election has affected many Americans in numerous ways; she and her family are directly affected by President Trump’s recent travel ban. Nonetheless, she continues to academically soar and inspire as a UTC Brock Scholar with hopes to become a Math or English teacher overseas, and she refuses to let the recent political happenings get her down.
Elena is a freshman humanities: international studies major with a mathematics minor. Formerly from Nashville, she loves UTC because of the near-ivy league education she receives from the Honors College program and the fact that she only has to drive two hours to see her mom.
While most people would only get involved in things related to their major, Nourabadi is involved in a variety of clubs, such as the Climbing Club, Film Club and Philosophy Club.
She does, however, work towards her goal to be a Math or English teacher with her work in Freshman Senate as the treasurer and with her assistantship. Her assistantship allows her to work with Dr. Tucker, of the School of Education, along with graduate students and students at Woodmore Elementary School, in using a learning theory that Dr. Tucker created that could increase reading skills.
She’s one of few freshmen who received an assistantship within the Honors College. Nonetheless, it’s clear that the dedication that she’s displayed towards her goals and education is not only mature, but learned.
Nourabadi was born in Khorramabad, Iran and was adopted by her parents who are from Esfahan, Iran when she was a few months old. Her father came to America when he was around 20 years old to get his civil engineering degree. He then went back to Iran to marry her mother and brought her back to America.
Although it was her father’s desire to get an education that brought them to America, and then to Tennessee, Nourabadi still has very pleasant memories of her home country.
“[It’s] this magnificent, vast land filled with years and years of history and culture. The beauty and preservation of it’s past is uncanny; you can see it and feel it no matter where you are in the country,” Nourabadi said.
She visits her family in Iran often; however, with the recent travel ban, it will be difficult, if not impossible.
“The recent travel ban has made it impossible for any of my family in Iran to come and visit us. If the green card ban holds as well, I will not be able to leave the United States because I have a green card but am not a citizen, so I wouldn’t be allowed back in the United States. It’s crazy to think that I can’t go visit my aging and senile grandmother or see my aunt,” Nourabadi explained.
Despite this, Nourabadi continues to enjoy herself at UTC, and will continue to fight for the rights that she thinks she deserves.
“I have been to every rally and vigil possible, big and small. I believe that we, as a country, can express our discontent with our government and when situations arise that are obviously unconstitutional and against the values of the country; we have the right to stand up,” Nourabadi said. “I still love this country. I am proud to be an American, but I am ready to fight for the things that make me proud to be an American.”