More than 570 NSM Candidates Participate in December Commencement

More than 570 NSM Candidates Participate in December Commencement
Pejma Shazadeh Safavi – NSM’s Valedictorian

More than 570 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree candidates crossed the stage during the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) Fall Commencement on December 19. The ceremony, held at University of Houston’s Hofheinz Pavilion, also included the College of Education, College of Technology and the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. The commencement ceremonies included students completing degrees in August or December 2014.

Close to 70 doctoral candidates earned degrees in atmospheric sciences, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, geophysics, mathematics, or physics. Approximately 120 NSM students were candidates for master’s degrees, and 383 students were candidates for bachelor’s degrees.

There were 10 summa cum laude graduates, the highest academic honor for bachelor’s degree recipients. An additional 59 undergraduate students graduated either cum laude or magna cum laude.

Valedictorian – Pejma Shazadeh Safavi

Pejma Shazadeh Safavi
NSM valedictorian and banner bearer Pejma Shavazeh Safavi and Dean Dan E. Wells wait for the processional to begin. Safavi, a biology major and chemistry minor, will pursue a medical degree.
Pejma Shazadeh Safavi, a biology major minoring in chemistry, holds NSM’s highest GPA, a 3.99. As valedictorian, he carried the NSM banner in the opening processional.

Safavi volunteers at Texas Children’s Hospital helping recruit patients for research at the pediatric gastrointestinal clinic. He plans to pursue a medical degree and interviewed with several medical schools in the fall.

“At Texas Children’s, I review online databases of clinic patients and try to find patients that fit a certain criteria for a study,” he said. “Occasionally, I get to see the patients and collect skin cell samples for DNA analysis using a cotton swab inside their cheek.”

Active in NSM’s Scholar Enrichment Program (SEP), Safavi served as an assistant facilitator for the workshop associated with the biology and biochemistry department’s evolution course. “Helping lead the workshop each week gave me the opportunity to relearn the material and really helped me master it to a greater degree,” he said.

Having taken SEP workshops since his second semester at UH, he highly recommends the workshops for students wanting to do well in the entry-level science courses.

Safavi lived on campus for three years and through a Student Government initiative served as a liaison to several university committees. It gave him a better appreciation for the University.

“There are so many people dedicated to making the university a better place and trying to contribute to our growth as students,” Safavi said. “It makes UH a great place to be.”

- Kathy Major, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics