IABA SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS 2012

Z. Payvand Ahdout (Columbia University School of Law $2500)

Z. Payvand Ahdout is a 3L at Columbia Law School in New York. She serves on the Columbia Law Review and has served on the Columbia Law Student Senate and the Diversity and Budget Committees. She has also been recognized as a New York City Bar Diversity Fellow. Prior to attending law school, Ahdout graduated with highest Distinction from The University of Virginia with a B.A in Economic and Government. Ahdout was a Phi Beta Kappa honoree, the President of the Sigma Delta Sorority, Organizational Outreach Chair for the Middle East Leadership Council, and served as the student Representative on the University Diversity Committee. Ahdout hopes to apply her legal education in legal academia.
Ahdout takes pride in her participation as a student advocate where she used her “passion, position, and voice to secure full funding for the For People of Color Conference, [whereby] Columbia Law students were given the opportunity to change the face of this generation’s lawyers and bring opportunities to historically underrepresented groups in the law.” She aspires to continue her advocacy such that “through our efforts, the landscape of legal practice will be much different twenty years from now than it was twenty years ago.”

Ramin Montazeri (Columbia University School of Law $2500)

Ramin Montazeri is a 3L at Columbia Law School. His activities have included serving as President of the Middle Eastern Law Students Association, Vice President of the National Muslim Law Students Association, and Student Ambassador on the Columbia Law School Admissions Committee. Prior to attending law school, Montazeri graduated cum laude, from the University of California, Irvine, in Political Science and Business Economics. His activities during his undergraduate years included serving as Chief of Staff for President of the Associate Students of UC Irvine, and Executive Board member of Phi Kappi Psi.
On a personal note, Montazeri states, “As a student of the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents (Tizhooshan) in Iran, I had ranked number one in the state of Esfahan in mathematics. In America, I had excelled in the sciences, with fives on AP physics, chemistry and calculus. Yet English was my weakest subject. But the opportunity to impact society on a broad level was not afforded to me by medicine, engineering, or business. Many great leaders such as Gandhi, Lincoln, and Mandela had all been lawyers. So I welcomed the challenge, and embarked on a career in law.”

Sima Namiri-Kalantari (University of California Los Angeles School of Law $2500)

Sima Namiri-Kalantari is a 3L at UCLA School of Law. She is Co-Editor in Chief for the UCLA Journal of Law & Technology, and the Student Representative on the Iranian American Bar Association (IABA) Los Angeles Chapter. Prior to attending law school, Sima agraduated magna cum laude from University of California Berkeley with a degree in Economics and minor in Public Policy. She was a Phi Beta Kappa honoree, and member of the Iranian Student Cultural Organization.
Namiri-Kalantari reflects, “I always ask questions about why the status quo is what it is. As my experiences feeding the homeless in Santa Monica and interviewing defendants in Oakland have suggested, I like to determine how I, personally, would make changes to systems, processes, or regimes. As an Iranian-American, and even more importantly, as an Iranian-American woman, I hope to use my educational background in economics, public policy, and now law, in order to determine how I can make changes for the better for the Iranian and Iranian-American communities.”