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Stempel College alumna Sahar Ajabshir appointed to the Board of Directors for the American Society for Nutrition

Sahar Ajabshir, an alumna of the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), a leading global authority in nutrition science founded in 1928. She will serve as the Board’s Early Career Nutrition Representative.

“I am honored to represent FIU at the national level,” she says. In keeping with her dedication to her field, Ajabshir has taken multiple executive roles within ASN, including Chair of the Vitamins & Minerals Research Interest Section, At-Large Delegate of the Medical Nutrition Council’s Governing Committee, Secretary of the Obesity Research Interest Section, Chair of the Student Interest Group, and Chair of the Early Career Nutrition Group.

Sahar Ajabshir working in a lab.

“I look forward to advocating for my early career peers’ interests at the national level, expanding career development opportunities for them, and helping with furthering the advancement of their careers,” she adds.

In 2013, Ajabshir graduated with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from Stempel College. She later pursued a Ph.D. degree in the same discipline and graduated in 2018. Her mentor was Dr. Fatma Huffman, professor and founding director of Stempel College’s Dietetics and Nutrition Ph.D. program.

“Dr. Huffman is an icon of mentorship and leadership at FIU,’’ said Ajabshir. “I’m impressed by her profound dedication and enthusiasm in mentoring and helping students. She has an open-door policy and is always available and approachable to help and answer questions, both inside and outside the classroom.”

While completing her graduate studies at Stempel College, Ajabshir authored/co-authored 12 papers, 26 abstracts, and has presented at local, regional, and international meetings. The research she performed under Dr. Huffman received several recognitions, such as:

  • Finalist of ASN’s Clinical Emerging Leaders Award Competition (2018)
  • 2nd Place Winner of Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster Presentations in Community & Public Health Category (2015)
  • 2nd Place Winner among Health Sciences, Florida Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium (2015).

“I am where I am today because of the guidance, support, and dedication of my mentors,” she says. “They believed in me in the most trying moments and helped me to remain encouraged, focused, and inspired. I am forever grateful for their guidance, support, and inspiration.”

Most recently, as the chair of the ASN’s Early Career Nutrition Interest Group directing more than twenty executive board members from across the nation, Ajabshir developed the first-ever strategic plan, making sure to highlight advancing diversity, inclusion, and equity as one of the main goals. In addition, she formed eight implementation groups, which focused on developing the first leadership academy for early career professionals in nutrition research, the first seed funding program, a spotlight program, and a nationwide mentorship program for early-career professionals in nutrition. She is currently an assistant professor in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM)’s Department of Cellular Biology & Pharmacology.

“Sahar is an exceptional colleague as she was a student,” said Dr. Huffman. “She gets involved with passion. Her contributions to our profession and science have been valued.”

Read original story by FIU Advance here