Ajabshir makes a mark at the 2016 Path Awards

Sahar Ajabshir

Sahar Ajabshir

With a total of 12 published papers, 24 published abstracts and 16 presentations at national and international conferences, Sahar Ajabshir is a rising star in the Dietetics & Nutrition Department. She’s successfully established herself as a student leader at the College as well as in various professional organizations including the Graduate and Professional Student Committee and the Student Government Association at FIU.

In August 2015, Sahar was honored by Provost Furton to serve at FIUBeyondPossible2020 Strategic Plan implementation Grow Strategically committee, chaired by Vice President Luisa Havens and Dean Michael Heithaus. A graduate of the Academy of Leaders and a University Graduate School Academy of Graduates for Integrative Learning Experiences scholar, Ajabshir was elected as the awards chair of the American Society for Nutrition’s Student Interest Group in June 2015, where she also served as the elected student representative of the Vitamins and Minerals’ Research Interest Section.

Professionally, her growth in the field continues with recent acceptance into an NIH research practicum on dietary supplementation in a group that will include faculty as well as doctoral and post-doctoral students from across the nation. And most recently, Ajabshir was the recipient of a scholarship from University of North Carolina Research Institute that will enable her to attending a Nutrigenomics, Nutrigenetics and Precision Nutrition course.

In keeping with her dedication to the College, this past month Ajabshir served as a one of 23 student ambassadors at the 2016 Path Awards. During that event, she had the opportunity to take the podium and share her personal experiences at FIU Stempel College as well as her many achievements in the field of dietetics and nutrition.

It was a speech that truly connected with the assembled audience, and it was no doubt one of the reasons attendees donated $84,000 toward scholarships—the most raised in the 10 year history of the Path Awards.

Below, you will find her remarks…

Good afternoon everyone! Thank you for being here at the 2016 Path Awards.


My name is Sahar Ajabshir. I first came to the U.S. from a world away, Iran, in 2011 to earn my master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition as an international student and I am currently working toward a Ph.D. in Dietetics and Nutrition… at the FIU Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work.


My research focuses on investigating how we can improve the quality of life for patients suffering from type 2 Diabetes through lifestyle and diet modifications, personalized nutrition and nutrigenomics.


Under my mentor and department chair Dr. Fatma Huffman, I’ve had the opportunity not only to pursue my education, but to take on leadership roles in my field.


My graduate assistantship and Path Travel Award have enabled me to conduct, publish and present my research in several state, national and international conferences.


Let me share a few examples with you…

  • Last year, my research paper on vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular complications was selected as one of the finalists among over more than one thousand research papers from across the globe submitted to the Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Competition, held by the American Society for Nutrition.
  • I placed second in the Community and Public Health category.
  • Later, I was elected to serve as the awards chair of American Society for Nutrition`s Student Interest Group, where I also served as lead reviewer.
  • Last April, in a Florida statewide graduate student research symposium held at the University of Central Florida, I represented FIU and earned second place in the Health Sciences category.
  • More recently, I organized a two-day graduate research conference at FIU in collaboration with the Student Government Association Graduate & Professional Student Committee, the University Graduate School and its Graduate Student Advisory Board.  Over 280 research proposals were submitted and we had 235 presentations in 19 categories over two days. The first place winners will present their research at the 2016 Florida Statewide Graduate Research Symposium at the University of Florida next week. 
  • Two weeks ago, I presented my research at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in San Diego and I chaired the graduate students’ awards reception and co-chaired a scientific session with a faculty member from Cornel University.

Each of these opportunities was only possible through the monetary support of the scholarships I received. For that, I am forever grateful. I cannot thank you enough for helping me to pursue my education and achieve my professional dreams.


Because of your support, I’ve been able to take part in state-of-the art research, and I have developed leadership skills that will serve me well in my professional and personal life for years to come… All of this, because people like you gave generously to support scholarships at FIU Stempel College. And I am just one of the many students who have benefited from your generosity.


Today, we ask for your continued support. Even the smallest of donations can make a world of difference to a future nutrition, public health or social work professional.


Thank you!


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