Ahoura Zandiatashbar has transitioned from student to teacher and back again, and he’s brought the talents he gained along the way to UTA’s Institute of Urban Studies.

Zandiatashbar, an urban planning doctoral student, has attended UTA and been a part of the Institute of Urban Studies since 2014. In the time he has been with the institute, Zandiatashbar has not only worked on numerous large-scale projects, but has also helped to improve departmental communication, said Amber Raley, fellow urban planning doctoral student, in an email.

Zandiatashbar is from Iran, and he earned both his bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering and his master’s of architecture while living there. After earning his first master’s degree, Zandiatashbar taught at a local university in Iran before deciding he wanted to do more research. He went on to get a second master’s degree in architecture from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. While still attending Rensselaer, he said he formed a connection with the institute at UTA in preparation for his attendance.

“When I came here, I had a wide and diverse experience helping me in work,” Zandiatashbar said.

Zandiatashbar was drawn to UTA because of the activities in the Metroplex. He said he enjoys watching the fast pace of developments and the involvement of the institute. He said he also enjoys being the neutral representative of the community, so planning can be accurately done with the community members in mind.

Zandiatashbar’s experience has been put to use in several ways. Raley said he developed the institute’s use of social media, so it is now a major tool for communication between the program and community. Kukhyoung Kim said Zandiatashbar is a good communicator and improves the atmosphere around him. This affects the projects he works on in a positive way, Kim said.

Zandiatashbar attributes most of his current success to his teammates at the institute and the growth happening there. He said working in the institute is a unique opportunity.

“I love what I am doing here,” Zandiatashbar said. “Seriously, you cannot find this opportunity anywhere else.”

Zandiatashbar said he hopes to take both the classroom and real-life experience he gains from UTA and apply it to teaching in the area. He said he wants to encourage students to learn through working on real projects.

“What I learn in my classes, I am using them immediately in my work. This is an amazing educational system,” Zandiatashbar said.



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