Claudia Yaghoobi, a 2008 graduate of the Cal State LA MA program in English, has been named Roshan Institute Assistant Professor in Persian Studies at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill. At UNC, Dr. Yaghoobi will be helping to create a new Persian Studies minor in the Department of Asian Studies, teaching courses in Persian language and literature, and continuing her research in Persian literature and film. Her first book, Subjectivity in ʿAttār, Persian Sufism and European Mysticism, will be published by Purdue University Press in 2017.
Asked to share a little about her experience in the MA program at Cal State LA, Dr. Yaghoobi writes:
I arrived in Los Angeles in August 2006, and by January 2007 I was attending graduate classes at Cal State LA. I already had a Master's degree from Islamic Azad University in Iran, but unfortunately the graduate units were not transferrable. Because too much time had passed, I had to do the entire program again. These were very stressful times for me because in addition to academia, I had to acquaint myself with American culture, find a full time job, and juggle family obligations. For long years, I was very insecure about my English and literature knowledge because I was attending classes with American students for whom English was their mother tongues. I struggled to catch up with them and worked very hard but every time I wanted to express an idea or comment on a literary piece in class, someone else had already done so by the time I formulated the thoughts and sentences in my mind.
But let me add that even though at first I was disappointed and lacked confidence, doing the Master's at Cal State LA was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. It was the stepping stone for my bigger dreams. Cal State LA prepared me for the PhD program I later attended. Professors such as Dr. Jim Garrett and Dr. Michelle Hawley helped me craft my research statement which got me into a doctoral program at UCSB. The classes I took and the professors I met at Cal State LA left a lifelong mark on my academic career and my personal understanding of a country, culture, and educational system with which I was so unfamiliar. My first semester was spent in classes taught by Dr. Garrett and Dr. Michael Calabrese. These were the two most important classes in my experience in academia. Coming from Iran where the focus was not on writing, I learned how to write. I still recall one of the best pieces of advice I received from Dr. Garrett about the introduction and thesis statement of a paper. He told me to view them as signposts; as if I were giving directions to someone who wanted to get to a destination. Today, I have several peer-reviewed articles and a book in press and still use Dr. Garrett's advice for every piece I write.
I am forever thankful for what I learned at Cal State LA, which by the way was not just the academic stuff but also professionalism, teaching and class management, and care for the students' future. Currently, a Roshan Institute Assistant Professor in Persian Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I strive to emulate Dr. Garrett whom I call a friend and colleague today.
(Photo Credit: Myra Jo)
(Background Source: "Claudia Yaghoobi Expands Persian Studies with Support from Roshan Institute" <http://global.unc.edu/news/claudia-yaghoobi-expands-persian-studies-with-support-from-roshan-institute/>)