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Fulfilling a promise

Iranian graduate motivated by childhood experiences to improve water quality

Campus and Community

By Jackey Locke

Fall graduate Dr. Hoda Tafvizi is making good on a promise she made to herself as a little girl growing up in the Middle East.

She is helping to improve global water supply and treatment issues.

Childhood experiences

Dr. Tafvizi, who is from Tehran, Iran, obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from universities in her home country before coming to Memorial University in 2016.

She completed a PhD in environmental engineering at Memorial under the supervision of the late Dr. Tahir Husain, who passed away in January 2022.

Dr. Tafvizi says her life has always been intertwined with environmental issues.

As a child, water crises, droughts and insufficient electricity were daily concerns for her family.

“My dream has been always to find a solution for providing better water quality and reusing water, which can be realized by working on the infrastructure,” she said. “This is the reason I decided to study civil engineering and continue my education in civil-environmental engineering.”

She is getting closer to making her dream a reality.

She recently started work in the U.S. as a project engineer in the areas of water and wastewater treatment.

Overcoming challenges

Despite her passion to help solve global water issues, being away from home has been difficult for her.

“Being far from my family and loved ones was one of my challenges while I was completing my degree, then it turned to anxiety. I think many PhD students struggle with anxiety and depression and I believe more universities and health-care systems should pay attention to this issue.”

Dr. Tafvizi’s advice for graduate students who are living far away from their support systems?

It’s okay to not be okay.

“Participate in volunteer opportunities at Memorial because those experiences can assist in progressing communications and leadership skills and help you find new friends to become your support system.”

The words "fall convocation 2022" are in cursive and all caps over a damask and claret background.


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