Global Graduate: Shirin Vatankhah (She/Her/Hers)

Shirin Vatankhah, Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and Psychology

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Shirin Vatankhah (Varnosafaderani) and I will be graduating in May 2021 with two bachelor degrees in Human Biology and Psychology. I am originally from Iran and have lived in South Korea for a year too before coming to the US in 2014. I love traveling, meeting new people from all over the world, and playing all sorts of card or board games. I’m also an avid English tea drinker and get through the days while sipping tea!

How was your experience at NC State University?

My experience at NC State has been absolutely positive. I grew as a person in these four years through all I chose to involve myself with on campus. After Living in the Global Village in Alexander Hall my first year, I knew I had found my community, an open minded diversity-loving community. I became a village mentor (Ambassador) my second year and I fell in love with all the things I could do as a student staff. I planned large-scale events, served as a liaison between the globally diverse community and the Global Village staff, and earned communication and leadership skills. I even got the chance to host a Persian Cup of Culture event and talk about my own culture!

After three semesters, I realized I could do more for my community. So, I became a Resident Advisor in the same community for the remainder of my time at NC State. There, I connected residents to resources, responded to emergency situations, and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, twice I oversaw the process of student relocation due to the campus shutdown.

While I am proud of my professional accomplishments within the village, the biggest reward has been in my personal life. I have made lifelong friendships with people from around the world who I know I will visit in the future.

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment during your time at NC State?

One of my biggest accomplishment would be being selected as the Global Village winner of the Kay Yow Spirit of the Village award in 2020. I was awarded this prestigious honor for leading students in engaging and inclusive ways, making everyone feel at home in Alexander Hall, and embodying the purpose of the Global Village. As an ambassador, I was there welcoming students from the first moment they arrived at NC state. I made sure our international, exchanged, and domestic students felt at home while being away from home. I also planned and led events that allowed residents to share their own culture with the village through food, games, and presentations. As a Resident Advisor, I always left my door open because I wanted my residents will feel comfortable coming to talk to me about anything that’s on their mind, or simply to stop and chat. Being a student staff was truly a rewarding experience for me and receiving this award as a testament that I played a positive role in my community means the world to me. I am especially thankful for the opportunities Dr. Julie Parenteau (Global Village Director) and NC State as a whole has provided me with.

Woohoo, Go Pack!!

What are your plans post graduation?

I will be returning to NC State in the fall to pursue a graduate degree in Physiology, which will bring me one step closer to pursuing my lifelong dream of becoming a medical doctor.

Do you have any advice for current or incoming international students?

Get involved. Don’t get discouraged. And always try new things.
Undergraduate years especially, are about personal growth. Put yourself in situations out of your comfort zone because that’s when you really learn about yourself and your interests.