Ansari Fellowship Announces 2021 Summer Fellows

Washington, DC – The Ansari Fellowship Program, a PAAIA initiative generously funded by PAAIA member Bijan Ansari, is excited to announce its 2021 summer recipients, Adrian Tabassi and Sophie Behzadi. The Ansari Fellowship was founded to encourage and empower young Iranian Americans to pursue careers in public service. The program provides exceptional students – both in graduate and undergraduate programs – with funding and access to a network of public policy experts during an unpaid summer internship.

Adrian Tabassi

Adrian Tabassi is a rising senior at Johns Hopkins University studying Economics, International Studies, and Spanish. Born and raised in Northern California to an Iranian father and a Mexican American mother, Adrian always felt a firm connection to his Iranian heritage. He has extensive volunteer and leadership experience, having served as an interpreter for the Maryland Immigrant Legal Assistance Project, volunteer for the Esperanza Center, and president of the Johns Hopkins Iranian Cultural Society, and vice president for the Johns Hopkins Alexander Hamilton Society. His honors include the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) Scholarship Award Winner, Fall 2019 & Fall 2020 Dean’s List Recipient, National Hispanic Honor Society Member. 

This summer, with the support of the Ansari Fellowship, Adrian will be interning with his hometown congressman, Representative Jared Huffman (CA-2nd). With this experience, Adrian hopes to work on Capitol Hill full-time after graduation and begin a career in public service.

Sophie Behzadi

Sophie Behzadi is a rising junior at George Washington University studying Political Communication at the School of Media and Public Affairs. As a first-generation Iranian American, Sophie’s life has always been deeply political. Like so many others, her family’s displacement from Iran inspired her to focus all her efforts on politics. Sophie’s interests in politics and social justice have led her to attend an advocacy program with the ACLU’s Summer Institute, organize a walk-out to advocate for gun reform, and eventually intern with the North Carolina Democratic Party during the 2020 election. Most recently, she has pursued her passion for social change through interning with Alisyo and the Borgen Project.

With the generous help of the Ansari Fellowship, Sophie will be interning for New York’s first Iranian American state senator, Anna Kaplan. This is especially personal for Sophie as she is incredibly passionate about Iranian representation in all facets of life. In her free time, she is a singer and the Public Relations Director of the GW Vibes, an acappella group at her university. She also co-hosts a pop culture college radio show!

To learn more about the Ansari Fellowship, click here.

June 3rd, 2021

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