2013 Hira Jain Scholar Profile

2013 Hira Jain Scholar FARIYA NAZAASI Congratulates FARIYA NAZ as the 2013 HIRA JAIN SCHOLAR with an Award of $1500

The Asian American Studies Institute in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is extraordinarily indebted to Dr. Hira and Mrs. Sunita Jain of Glastonbury, CT for their generosity in establishing the permanent endowment that funds this competitive scholarship. It has been awarded annually in the spring semester since 2004, and recognizes academically outstanding undergraduate or graduate students enrolled full time at UCONN. Applicants for the scholarship may, but are not required to demonstrate financial need.

Echoing the American philosopher Sam Keen, FARIYA NAZ (pictured) continues her quest – for belonging and for knowledge that she hopes will benefit the most number of people – by honing her gift for asking questions.

Arriving in the United States as a young child of immigrant parents from Pakistan, she counts among her blessings being surrounded by family members who sacrificed to pursue a higher education, benefitting from the doors they were opening. In high school, Fariya devoted her free time to an internship that weekly exposed her to the awful rates of mortality from cancer; a brief diversion into the pharmacy department in the same hospital left her no less heartbroken; and she started to doubt that she would be able to follow in their footsteps. By a questioning/process of elimination, she entertained the practical and less depressing alternative of becoming a science teacher, but worried of feeling unchallenged.

Fariya Naz credits dynamic and supportive UCONN professors Chi-Ming Chen (Psychology) and Cathy Schlund-Vials (Asian American Studies & English) for providing her with inspiration, guidance, and focus. The Honors student and Humanities House learning community ambassador hopes to pursue a post-baccalaureate degree in neuropsychology, melding her curiosity about conditions of the mind with evidence tethered in science.

Under Dr. Chen’s supervision at TRANSLab, which conducts research that develops and translates advanced neurophysiological knowledge into novel treatments for medication-resistant schizophrenia, Fariya’s Honors thesis will analyze data from a study examining how ketamine injected through a vein in human participants affects schizophrenic characteristics in a cognitive capacity. Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and electroencephalography (EEG), this brain imaging project seeks to measure normally occurring brain chemicals (GABA and glutamate) and how they are affected by the ketamine, which blocks specific receptors for glutamate in the brain. Popularized as a “battlefield anesthetic” during the Viet Nam War, ketamine was initially developed and promoted as a fast acting general anesthetic.

Dr. Schlund-Vials highlights Fariya’s “uniquely expansive mind” and a serious yet generous way of thinking through demanding and varied material – “consistently substantiating her readings with direct evidence” – underscoring her research skills and “engaging her fellow students” – resulting in discussions that were “much richer than planned.” Fariya is equally enthusiastic in her praise of Schlund-Vials’ unique ability to open her field of vision, especially planting the seeds of applying neuropsychology to trauma relief counseling.

The wide world of options – all waiting for Fariya Naz to explore! Her eyes light up when we continue with talk and questions about passion, motivation, and growth in learning; it is easy to forget that she is only finishing up her second full year at UCONN – and so, the quest continues.

Contact AASI / Ms. Fe Delos-Santos at fe.delos-santos@uconn.edu or 860. 486. 5083 for scholarship eligibility and application process/forms.