Double majoring in political science and philosophy, one might think that she wouldn’t
have time for much else, but 19-year-old Ava Fakhrabadi is able to maintain a 3.89
GPA while balancing life between being a student, AS president and Student Trustee
- and preparing to be the student commencement speaker on May 20.
Recently accepted to both thge University of California, Berkley and UCLA, after graduating
this spring Fakhrabadi plans to transferring to one of the two and later going to
law school to practice either constitutional law, human rights or criminal justice.
Though she used to participate in Honors and Persian clubs, her presidency for the
Associated Students now means that to truly be an objective leader, she can no longer
participate in individual clubs.
That, however, hasn’t stopped her from being connected to the community at Mesa College.
Her best memory of Mesa thus far has been the AS tailgate event that she helped to
organize, which took place before the homecoming football game on Oct. 15, 2016.
“We have never really done anything like that before, and being able to see students
hanging out on a weekend at Mesa – still being here and having fun together – that
was a really amazing experience,” Fakhrabadi said. “I felt like I was getting to know
people and it was really, really fun.”
One of her favorite instructors at Mesa is political science Professor Michelle Rodriguez.
“I have her for a three-hour class and I never get bored,” Fakhrabadi said. “I think
she is so knowledgeable and I love that she is so ready to have a conversation with
students, rather than just getting information out there.”
After being accepted to four-year colleges as a high school student, Fakhrabadi decided
instead to attend community college in order to later apply and be accepted to one
of her top school choices. Originally choosing to attend Mesa so she could join the
Honors program, she said that both the quality of the Honors program and the campus
proved to be much more vibrant than she had hoped.
“Coming here completely changed my mentality about school and how to look at community
colleges,” she said. “I feel like I was really arrogant before, and I think that changing
that mentality and gaining a new perspective was something that was really difficult
for me at first – now I am so happy that I am at community college, and I am trying
to get everyone that I know to come here.”
In some ways, she said, her college experience has been shaped by her cultural background.
“I think when you have such different perspectives – from those two cultures and growing
up in American culture – you have three very different perspectives that are influencing
how you think of everything,” Fakhrabadi said. “With that come biases – like, when
I am in a political science class and we are talking about war, I see it from a completely
different perspective because of my dad and how he grew up.
“I think it gives me the opportunity to look at things with different perspective
– and what’s cool here at Mesa is that professors have different perspectives too.”
As the daughter of an Iranian refugee and a Mexican immigrant, the appreciation of
diversity through a lens of equity and excellence is near and dear to Fakhrabadi’s
“To me, equity and excellence means an opportunity for everyone to succeed,” she said.
“Success doesn’t even mean getting an A in a class. I think success can mean being
happy and smiling, making sure that your experience on your campus is not affecting
your health negatively or your mental health, making sure that you have friends on
campus and support systems and enjoying your time here on campus.”
If you want to tell your story about equity and excellence on campus, contact Lauren
J. Mapp via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Equity and Excellence, Ava Fakhrabadi