I was a bit intimidated at first and wasn’t sure how my meeting with her would go. I had never seen a Middle Eastern woman in a powerful educational role in all my years of growing up. Which is sad but true. And no, I’m not exaggerating. She not only look liked me, showed my same cultural mannerism/values, and came from my same country, Iran. Oh, and I think her office had a Persian Rug!! This was a sign of HOPE. Hope that women like me and before me EXIST. Yes !!! Hope that I could break all the barriers between me and my dreams. Hope that I could break all the stereotypes about Middle Eastern women. That I too could mentor and lead people of all walks of life and be RESPECTED.
As soon as I arrived in Irvine, I was honored, I was emotional, I was in pain, and I was excited. Too much happening at the same time you say? I agree. I am not sure, all I knew was it was finally a sign from God telling me he was sending me an angel whom I would get to collaborate with. During our meeting, it felt as though I didn’t have to try hard to explain myself. It’s almost like she knew me and my challenges growing up without me stating them. She was someone who would finish my sentences without me even trying to explain all my pains and hurts. Someone who saw me as a person, as a woman, as a Persian-Armenian-American without judgment.
What made me really admire Dr. Manijeh was her ability to EMPOWHER. She had nothing but great things to say about me and my future. She believed in me with such conviction and no doubts what so ever. It was a breath of fresh air as a minority woman, No DOUBT. After our discussion she was supportive in me creating the #WomensAdvocacyClub at all the Alliant Campuses and publishing my dissertation on #Singlism among Armenian Americans women. Why is this important to me? Because all throughout my life both people of power and people who I cared about undermined my abilities to conquer great dreams. This was mainly because I didn’t fit into the box they wanted me to fit in. When people of power empower those who are trying to be the best they can be it is very encouraging.
Ah, felt good to share this with all of you. Stay tuned. I will be interviewing Dr. Manijeh soon!