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The American Dream

Eleven years after fleeing Iran, Arman Jahangiri graduated from UH and headed to medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Jahangiri's big dreams earned him national recognition. He was among 12 winners of the Merage Foundation American Dream Fellowship, a nationwide scholarship competition that recognizes the most exceptional immigrant students with the greatest potential in their new homeland.

His interest in medicine was sparked while growing up in Iran, where his mother practiced dentistry at a clinic for the poor. "I saw how priceless the doctor-patient relationship is," Jahangiri said. "You're interacting with someone who really needs you." He witnessed a similar dynamic many years later while volunteering at a nursing home for Alzheimer's patients.

Concerned about the lack of affordable health care for many Americans, Jahangiri sees his future role as that of physician, advocate, policy maker and educator all rolled into one. Jahangiri is planning for his multiple roles by earning a master's in business administration through an M.D.-M.B.A. program.

Jahangiri, who spent the first 11 years of his life in a place where the future is bleak, did not come to America to dream small. With few economic opportunities under a government that stifled religious and political freedom, Jahangiri's family knew there was no future in Iran.

"There's no freedom, no hope" in Iran, Jahangiri said. "In America, people are rewarded for their hard work."