BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For as long as he could remember, Biloxi resident Nader Pahlevan has wanted to be a doctor. Now, he is on his way to doing so with the help of a scholarship program that will allow him to give back to the state he has called home since moving here at the age of three from Romania.
“Since I was five years old, since I could talk, I’ve just always had this passion," said Nader.
The 19-year-old graduated from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College this week with honors, earning his associate’s degree in computer science and pre-medicine.
For the Romanian native, it’s the first step to a career in medicine like he’s always dreamed.
Nader has been named a recipient of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program, a program that could give him as much as $120,000 to cover his graduate studies and medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
He is now on his way to fulfilling his childhood dream.
“I basically want to be a doctor just to make humanity overall a better place," he said.
Nader’s family moved to Mississippi when he was just three years old. It’s the only home he’s ever known and now he wants to give back to the state he’s grown up in.
“Mississippi is really what kind of created my personality and created what and how I see the world and how I am today," he explained. "So I really want to come back for them and help those that really need that medical treatment.”
For the Magnolia State, that help is needed in rural areas where it’s more difficult to place doctors. That’s where the scholarship program comes in. It provides recipients with tuition money with the caveat that they will practice in under served rural area of the state for at least four years once they graduate from medical school.
Those rural areas are where Nader says he can help the people who need it the most.
“I want to make the biggest impact where I could and I recently learned that the rural areas are where they need the most medical treatment and the most help," he said. "That pushed me towards that specific area because it combines what I really want to do as my life goal - helping people - and connects it with the place I grew up, Mississippi... I put those two together and that’s how I came with helping the rural areas in Mississippi so I could do both things I love all at the same time.”
Nader said he has already seen firsthand the challenges that are faced by rural communities that have limited access to healthcare.
“I actually work in a hospital and I’ve talked with many patients who come to the hospital hours away from their family,” he said. “It really makes the recovery process so much more difficult. [Having healthcare closer] will save them time but it will also make the patient’s life and overall recovery better.
During his time at the MGCCC Jefferson Davis campus, he also accomplished many other achievements, including being a semifinalist for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship, being named a 2018 GEICO Pathway to Completion Associate Degree Scholar and an Academic Excellence Scholar.
He has served as president of Phi Theta Kappa for the Mississippi/Louisiana region, vice president of Leadership for the PTK Omicron Alpha Chapter and was on the campus’ Reflections Team. He also was named to the Who’s Who Among Students at MGCCC and the Jefferson Davis Campus Hall of Fame.