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Featured | Arts and SciencesJuly 08, 2022

Zirwa Mian: Pakistani Grad Plants Roots in Fort Smith

Written By: Samantha Contreras

More than eight years after migrating from their home in Pakistan to pursue a better life, Zirwa Mian’s family packed up their life in New Jersey to experience even more opportunities for a peaceful life in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

“My parents came here not knowing a word of English and established a great lifestyle,” said Mian. “My dad went out searching for jobs worldwide and worked his way up, struggling like every other immigrant parent. I hope to repay all their efforts.”

In the winter of 2019, Mian graduated from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith as a first-generation college student with a Bachelor of Science in Biology.

Mian’s passion for biology stems from her curiosity and desire to help and teach others. “Most of my family are very business-oriented. But I wanted to do something different. I’d always loved helping people and learning new things,” said Mian.

Over her time at UAFS, she was a member of the the Biology Club, Student Government Association, and served the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) as part of the success networking team with the role of time management coordinator and manager.

“I was very involved in NSLS,” said Mian. “As a member, I took on management roles. It helped me be more mindful, prioritize my time, set and achieve future goals, and give me a great sense of community.”

“I had to ensure we were on track for our weekly goals, plan activities, schedule meetings, reserve times and rooms, and be responsible for all members’ overall goals,” said Mian.

Over the past year and a half, Mian has planted roots in the River Valley, substitute teaching across the region.

In the spring of 2020, she started her career as a Biology and Mathematics substitute teacher for junior high and high school students in Van Buren and Greenwood.

Mian’s natural talent for leadership and the knowledge she learned at UAFS gave her the skills necessary to teach Biology.

“UAFS helped prepare me for the real world because even with pandemic taking a toll on my career path,” Mian continued, “now, I am officially working as an elementary education teacher in all subjects for grades one and three in Fort Smith.”