Stories of the Class of 2017: Niloofar Ramezani: Award-Winning Statistician

Niloofar Ramezani, who received her doctorate in Applied Statistics and Research Methods, has no regrets that she left a full-scholarship master's program in Sweden in 2010 to attend UNC, which was recommended to her by one of her professors while she was an undergraduate at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, Iran.

She started the program in the Swedish school, which she said mostly repeated what she had already learned as an undergraduate, while she applied and waited for her visa to study at UNC.

Ramezani said previous schools she attended were large and students didn't have the connection with the staff and faculty at them like she did at UNC.

"It's very much appreciated," Ramezani said.

And it inspired her to excel, resulting in numerous awards that included a 2017 UNC Graduate Dean's Citation for Excellence, awarded to students nominated by their school in recognition of superior academic achievement in graduate studies.

She also won an SAS Student Ambassador Award in 2016 and 2017, awarded annually by the statistical analysis software company to just 15 students from around the world to recognize their innovative use of the software in their respective fields of study.

In 2016 she took first place at the American Public Health Statistics Student Research Competition and also received the Maurice Davies Award from the American Statistical Association in recognition of excellence in statistics.

The relationship Ramezani had with the faculty and staff at UNC, while incredibly important to her, isn't the only component that helped her grow personally, and professionally. During her time at UNC, Ramezani had the opportunity to work with United Way of Weld County and help nurses at the Medical Center of the Rockies with their research.

"I don't know if I was hiding in an office how many of these opportunities I would have," said Ramezani. "I don't know if I was just limiting myself and in an office all the time how much I would be able to help."

Ramezani, who taught both undergraduate math and statistics courses as a doctoral student, said that it's important for her to pursue her goal to teach full-time at the university level.

"I think that we need to have a better future generation of people and who is better than a teacher to teach students to invest in it and have a good goal," Ramezani said. "I think that is actually the true meaning of what we say at UNC, ‘bringing education to life,' and the best way to bring education to life is teaching it to the future generation and at the same time conducting research to solve the problems that are already out there."

- Monique Becker, Bachelor's in Journalism, 2017


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