Triple major is one step closer to becoming a medical scientist

May 17, 2019
Pouya Amin sits in a UC Berkeley Lab

Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small

Growing up, Pouya Amin lived in a two-story house with his parents and grandparents in Tehran, Iran. His aunts and uncles were always coming through to visit. “Iranian culture — we’re all together, supporting each other,” says Pouya. “It’s more community-oriented. Here, it’s a more of an individualistic culture. It’s different.”

When Pouya was 7, he came to the U.S. with his parents and older brother. “It was very challenging coming to the U.S.,” he says. “I lost most of my meaningful relationships, all my friends from school. We had to adapt to a new life.”

Pouya didn’t enjoy school. He was shy to raise his hand at first, and he didn’t understand his American classmates, who acted much differently than his peers at school in Iran. “They seemed bombastic,” he says of the San Jose students he met. “They had too much energy. In Iran, you had to be ceaselessly respectful to the teachers. If you said something out of line, you’d get your hand hit with a ruler. The dynamics of the American classroom eluded me.”

Pouya’s parents encouraged him to do well in school, but didn’t know how to support him beyond that encouragement. In the 10th grade, Pouya’s high school sent him to a community center with other kids who were having trouble in school. “It was confusing. It was not helpful to my adjustment to America, nor my academic development. I felt that they didn’t understand my situation and didn’t want to support me. It was kind of a wake-up call for me.”

Read the full story on Berkeley News.