Mother and Daughter Graduate Together From FAU

Not many mothers and daughters can say they’ve carpooled to college together. Even fewer can say they graduated together, too.

Nasim Alavi (left) with her daughter Emon Alavi

By kelsie weekes | 12/21/2016

Not many mothers and daughters can say they’ve carpooled to college together. Even fewer can say they graduated together, too. On Thursday, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m., Nasim Alavi, 48, graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a doctorate in educational leadership. The next morning, Friday, Dec. 16 at 9 a.m., her daughter, Emon Alavi, 18, graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in medical science in her home country of Iran, Nasim later moved to the U.S. and taught chemistry and math at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce. With five years dedicated to the classroom, she decided to further her education and pursue a master’s degree in educational leadership at FAU from 2007-09. But Nasim wasn’t finished. She then set her goals even higher, and headed back to FAU three years later to begin her doctorate.

While working toward the Ph.D., Nasim heard about the unique program offered at FAU High School where students can be dual-enrolled in college classes and earn their bachelor’s degree while still in high school. Two of her three triplets applied and were accepted. Emon and her brother, Armon, graduated from FAU High in May, and both continued their undergraduate studies at FAU. Armon will soon follow Emon when he receives his bachelor’s degree next fall.

“We appreciate all the opportunities FAU has given us,” said Emon. “You can’t beat the people and the programs here.”

Over the course of her high school and college career, Emon has volunteered more than 450 hours at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, and became a certified EKG technician at 17 years old. She is currently conducting research on misophonia, a disorder characterized by an extreme sensitivity to certain sounds, with Ali Danesh, Ph.D., director of FAU’s Audiology Clinic professor in FAU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders within the College of Education, as well as with Connie Porcaro, Ph.D., an associate professor in FAU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

"We want to bring awareness to misophonia and help professors accommodate students who may be suffering from it,” said Emon. “Working with Dr. Danesh and Dr. Porcaro on this project has really pushed me to grow and learn.”

Danesh sees a promising academic and professional future for Emon.

“She is only 18 but she is beyond the level of most graduate students,” he said. “She is responsive, caring, intelligent, and does a great job fulfilling her duties as a student and research associate.”

When it comes to research, the apple does not fall far from the tree.  While Emon spent hundreds of hours focusing on her studies, Nasim was working on her dissertation concentrating on the best delivery method of health information to adults 25 years of age and older.

“My focus was on heart disease and how to best inform people,” Nasim said. “I want to educate people on prevention and reduce their risk of a heart attack.”

Both mother and daughter pride themselves on helping others, not only through their research, but also through mentoring. Emon served as a volunteer tutor at FAU’s Center for Learning and Student Success, and Nasim was a graduate assistant and a GRE/GMAT instructor at FAU’s Testing and Evaluation Center.

“I love helping other students, especially on a topic I really know about,” said Emon. “Last semester I tutored a student who got a 60 percent on his first exam, and after coming to me, he got a 93 percent on his second exam. That was really rewarding.”

Following graduation, Nasim hopes to land a full-time administration or teaching position at a college or university, while Emon plans on studying for the MCAT and applying to medical school.