Journey from Iran to U of R leads to Arts Dean’s Medal

By Dale Johnson Posted: June 8, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Saghar Chaher Mahali is graduating with an Honours BA in Psychology.
Saghar Chaher Mahali is graduating with an Honours BA in Psychology. Photo: U of R Photography

This year’s winner of the Dean’s Medal in the Faculty of Arts arrived in Canada from Iran in 2010 and could speak limited English. Now, Saghar Chahar Mahali is graduating with an Honours BA in Psychology with a GPA of 90.

She arrived with her family through the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program.

“In order to complete our immigration process, my father was required to start a business in Saskatchewan, and we chose to settle in Regina,” explains Chahar Mahali.

In 2011, she enrolled in the U of R's English as a Second Language program. Then she began her studies in Psychology.

“I began my undergraduate studies with the goal of becoming a pharmacist. However, when I was a first-year student, I took an introductory course in psychology and it was fascinating to me. I took more and more classes in psychology and finally decided to pursue my studies in this great field. I am so happy with my choice,” she says.

Professor Phil Sevigny wrote in a letter of support and said that Chahar Mahali “is the brightest student I have encountered and is possibly the brightest person I currently know.”

Not only has Chahar Mahali consistently obtained top marks, she has also found time to give back to her community. She volunteered as an English tutor at the Regina Immigrant Women's Centre and did volunteer work at the North Central Family Centre.

“I chose the North Central Family Centre because I wanted to experience working with children. I chose the Regina Immigrant Women’s Centre because, as a female immigrant, I am aware of the complications of the immigration process, and I am sensitive to the needs of other immigrants. It was a great experience and inspired me to choose cross-cultural psychology as my main area of research,” she explains.

Chahar Mahali is also the Arts nominee for the President’s Medal.

As for her future, Chahar Mahali is returning to the U of R in the fall to pursue her master’s in Psychology.

“I have had a great experience in both undergrad studies and the English as a Second Language Program. Also, I have had the opportunity of getting to know many great people at the U of R ranging from students to faculty members in various departments.”

And when she’s completed her master’s program, she may not go far from the university setting.

“I would like to get into the PhD program. My ultimate goal is to work in the academic settings as a researcher and as a professor.”