Finding Your Place on Campus with Elli

Segment #3 from Old Dominion University


Now let’s meet Elli. Elli is a second-year PhD student originally from Iran. When she left behind her family and friends in 2021 to study kinesiology at ODU, she was nervous about being alone in a new country. We’ll hear how the ODU community welcomed her and confirmed her decision to follow her educational dreams. Go ahead, Elli.

– Thanks for that introduction, Alex. 28 years ago, I was born in Isfahan, a city in the middle of Iran. During my childhood, I had a deep relationship with my father who was a faculty member in Medical Science University of Isfahan. He made me dream of becoming a scientist. On December 18, 2021, I left all my family, the love of my life, my husband, and everything I gained behind and came to the US to follow one dream, to be a scientist in biomechanics, the breakthrough science of 21st century. ODU was the perfect university for me to continue my research in the study of human movement specifically in the aging population. During the 25 hours of my flight to the US, I thought about my family, best friends and the community I was leaving behind. I was questioning myself, what if I can’t feel like home again or have best friends anymore? But I’ve gained community, friends who are family and people who put their confidence in me. ODU fosters a culture that welcomes and supports people. Now, I have friends from all over the world. And on top of that, my husband finally made it here and became a Monarch now. ODU guides and supports you from your first day whether it is providing you with free necessities, like furniture or covering the cost for professional conferences. This is a healthy and supportive environment for students to explore, experience, lead and enjoy their life. I came here to be a scientist, but I never imagined how ODU could be more than a university. It has been a place for me to learn and grow, not only in my field of study but in all aspects of my life. I am proud to call ODU my home. That’s all from me. Alex, take it back.

– Wow, Elli, thank you for inspiring us with your amazing story. I’m so glad you found your home and a community at ODU to support you when you needed it most. Old Dominion University appears to foster a genuinely diverse and welcoming campus environment. Thanks again, Elli.

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