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Milad Pourrahmani, Physics, Undergraduate

Opportunities provide inspiration for physics major

Milad Pourrahmani | Physics, Undergraduate | Department of Physics Just 17 years old and speaking very little English, Milad Pourrahmani came to Indiana from Iran three years ago to start a new life.

Encouraged by his parents to attend school in the U.S. instead of participating in the draft required of boys his age in Iran, Pourrahmani is today an accomplished physics major in the IUPUI School of Science. And while he’s only just begun to explore his American education, Pourrahmani already knows there is a calling to give something back.

“Many people want to come and pursue an education here, and I’m glad I’ve been given the chance,” says Pourrahmani, adding special words of gratitude for his mother who “taught me to walk toward my wishes.” “I really want to use this opportunity to give something back.”

In fact, he’s already begun. As a physics tutor, Pourrahmani assists students several hours each week as part of a work-study program in the School of Science.

“When I help someone understand, it feels really good,” says Pourrahmani, adding he may one day want to be a physics teacher. “I always learn something too.”

Pourrahmani was introduced to IUPUI while attending Carmel High School where he participated in the university’s SPAN (Special Programs for Academic Nurturing) program – an initiative allowing academically motivated high school students to take college courses. He enjoyed the classes so much; he decided to enroll at IUPUI to study physics.

“I’ve always loved science and have been interested in understanding nature and the logic of the universe,” explains Pourrahmani, who as a young boy conjured up at-home science experiments to test childhood scientific theories. “Now, when I see a scientific equation, it’s like a novel to me, and I just want to devour it.”

With a desire to share his enjoyment of physics with others, Pourrahmani was one of several students who organized the School of Science’s physics club in early 2009. While many of the events are social gatherings and a chance for students of like minds to get together, Pourrahmani says the club is seeking permission to build either a catapult or a rocket this semester. The group is also interested in creating a physics-inspired sculpture to enter into the Herron School of Art and Design’s campus competition. The winning sculpture hangs in the center of the University Library atrium.

In addition to club activities and classes, Pourrahmani would like to work in a physics lab to gain some research experience. He hopes this will help further inspire his plans for the future, which may include work in the robotics or transportation industries – either here in the United States or back home in Iran. Without a doubt, however, Pourrahmani is setting his sights on making people’s lives better.

“I like to think of a career as not just for yourself or to make money,” he says. “But to help people, too.”  

Read what one student has to say about Milad.