Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Parisa Rouhani

Milestones

My road in life has taken me all over.
I immigrated to the United States from Iran with my family when I was 2 years old and settled in Arizona.
We moved to Brazil for a couple of years for my mother’s job and came back to Arizona when I was 8 years old.
My elementary school wrongly assumed that I should be placed in an ESL class because I had lived in Brazil—through that experience, I learned early on that I couldn’t let others make decisions for me.
We moved many times while I was in school, which gave me a lot of practice navigating different types of systems so that I was better able to figure out what types of experiences I wanted.
I went to college to pursue engineering because it was interesting and new to me, but I realized I hated it and wouldn’t be happy in that type of job, so I switched to management information systems.
I joined the workforce and realized that I still wasn’t as happy in my work as I wanted to be—my job dealt with how things work and I was more interested in how people learn—so I went back to school.
I earned a master’s degree in technology, innovation, and education as well as a doctorate in developmental science from Harvard University.
I co-founded Populace, a think tank focused on imagining and creating a culture where individuality is the norm.
Keep following my journey

Education

High School
Bachelor
Management Information Systems, General
University of Arizona
Graduate
Technology, Innovation, and Education
Harvard University
Doctorate
Developmental Science
Harvard University

Career

Co-founder & Vice President

I manage a think tank organization focused on creating a culture where individuality is the norm.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Science
Technology
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

I start my days very early in the morning. When I get into the office, my partner and I will work together on a project for a few hours. After taking a short break to take my daughter to school, I'll get back to the office and go through a series of meetings. I'll then spend time either on the big ideas and research aspects of projects or on the very granular aspects, like budget. We have a long list of things that need to get done every day, so there's always plenty to do!

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Look inwardly and try to figure out what you're actually passionate about and fulfilled by. If whatever you're studying doesn't align with that, then have courage to make a change. I recommend imagining what it is that you want to accomplish. Then, don't just think about the end goal, but think about the process and the steps it will take to get there. Then reflect on whether or not that imagined process feels right to you. That has been the best way for me to decide if a path is right for me.

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Parents:

"You can't change majors. You need to finish the path you're on. Work hard now and you'll be rewarded later."