27
Aug

Avid’s Story

Managing the PAAIA Mentorship Program in its inaugural year has been an extraordinary ride for me. Sparks have been flying— right, left, and center! Here is one example; stay tuned for more!
Leila Bidad, Asst. Manager, PAAIA Youth Programs, 9/1/10


Avid Boustani, an MIT graduate in Mechanical Engineering, was torn between pursuing a PhD degree and a ‘leadership’ career track. So he applied to the PAAIA Mentorship Program. We matched him with Dr. Firouz Naderi, VC of PAAIA’s Board of Directors and founder of Nex/Gen. He is also Associate Director of Project Formulation and Strategy at NASA’s Jet Proportion Laboratory.
We leave it to you to discover what happened when the two met. Here is their e-mail exchange, verbatim (w/o their e-mail adds):


From: Avid Boustani
Date: Wed 8/4/2010 6:35 PM
Subject: Thank you!
To: Firouz Naderi

Dear Dr.Naderi,
It was a great pleasure to meet you! Thank you very much for taking time from your very busy schedule to listen to my concerns, and provide precious advice about career choices, short-term, as well as long-term goals, and for giving me a personal tour of JPL. I so much enjoyed visiting the JPL labs and getting introduced to Curiosity in person!
I believe that being able to initiate a mentor/mentee relationship with a truly exceptional Iranian-American such as yourself is a chance of a lifetime, and I look forward to cherishing this relationship by seeking your much-appreciated advice throughout my career progress. If possible, I wish to contact you in mid-august to update you about my career alternatives and the results for my research about other (systems) PhD programs in top institutions while seeking your recommendations and guidance.
I truly believe that I will look back to this special moment repeatedly throughout my life recalling how inspirational, fascinating, and memorable our meeting was.
Thank you for your generosity, inspiration, and mentorship!
Avid

From: Firouz Naderi
Date: Wed 8/4/2010 10:52 PM
Subject: Re: Thank you!
To: Avid Boustani

Avid jaan –
The pleasure was all mine.  It is going to be fun watching your career take off.  Feel free to call or e mail as often as you want — I will be there for you.
All the best,
Firouz

Avid reporting back to PAAIA Mentorship:

From: Avid Boustani
Date: Thu 8/12/2010 7:11 PM
Subject: Re-Confirmed
To: PAAIA Mentorship

Hi Leila,
My meeting went really well with Dr. Naderi. We spent 2 extraordinary hours together at JPL speaking about my future while seeking his much appreciated advice. Dr. Naderi was kind enough to give me a personal tour of JPL and take me to the lab where NASA/JPL are building the next-generation rover called Curiosity, which will be sent to Mars in Spring 2011. Being able to be at the presence of such an extraordinary Iranian-American was a precious opportunity that will hopefully lead to a lifelong mentor/mentee relationship.
Thanks for making it happen, Leila 🙂
Avid

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