The first Iranian Student Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a doctoral student in mathematics

Posted on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Nazanin Zaker


Nazanin Zaker left Iran in 2016 to settle in Canada to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Ottawa, joining her brother who was already attending the institution. This fan of mathematics is now on the verge of achieving her goal, namely that of earning a PhD in biomathematics.

“Biomathematics allows us to apply mathematical knowledge to model biological systems. We simulate issues in biology to find solutions,” she explained. “My research has modelled the interaction between predators and their prey to see how the populations of such species are affected by the presence of the other. From this we can better understand certain environmental pressures, such as loss of habitat.”

Nazanin Zaker, who works as a research assistant and as a part-time professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the Faculty of Science, is the first student to be awarded the Iranian Student Memorial Scholarship Fund.

This scholarship was created in memory of Mehraban Badiei Ardestani, Saeed Kadkhodazadeh Kashani and Alma Oladi, three University of Ottawa students who tragically died in the crash of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 from Teheran on January 8, 2020. Each year, this scholarship assists a student of Iranian origin who demonstrates financial need.

“This scholarship is a way for us to honour the memory of these students, all three of whom were destined for brilliant futures in the fields of health and the sciences. We hope that helping Iranian students pursue their studies will bring about some measure of solace to the University community,” said University of Ottawa Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs Jill Scott.

Memorial ceremony

January 8 was the first anniversary of this tragic incident. To mark this solemn occasion, a memorial ceremony was held online to honour the three uOttawa students who were killed. An online book of condolences is available to anyone wishing to commemorate these three students. 

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