Matt Panah, an undergraduate student studying information technology in the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, recently became a United States citizen. As Panah looks forward to his upcoming graduation in December, he is very thankful for the people who have helped him to be successful at Texas Tech University.
Panah, who was born in Iran, was selected to apply for a U.S. visa through the Diversity Visa Program in 2012. In 2013, Panah settled in Austin, TX, where he completed his associate degree at Austin Community College. Eager to continue his education, Panah began researching universities and took a visit to the Texas Tech Austin Recruitment Center. After meeting Adrienne Carnes, senior director of undergraduate services in the Rawls College of Business, Panah quickly decided that he wanted Texas Tech to be his new home.
Panah initially came to Texas Tech's Whitacre College of Engineering, but ultimately decided he was more interested in business. With the help of Carnes, Panah joined the Rawls College of Business.
Panah describes the people within the Texas Tech community to be the most welcoming people he has ever encountered.
"The people here are always willing to help and I believe that every single person at Texas Tech has played a major role in my success story over the last two years," said Panah.
He believes there is something for everyone at Texas Tech if you are willing to work hard.
"I found Texas Tech University to be incredibly positive and highly productive," he said. "I believe if someone came to Texas Tech and was actively involved in the university, they will have productive results."
While pursuing his degree, Panah also worked in the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. His job has helped him improve his language skills and learn to implement diplomatic administrative procedures.
After graduation, Panah would like to work in the public service sector and has a goal to find a job in federal or state department.
"My U.S. citizenship is the greatest thing that I have ever earned in my life," said Panah. "I received so much from this country and now that I am officially an American I would like to give back to this country. To show my appreciation I would like to hold a public service job."
Panah said he will continue to be a voice for education.
"I would also like to give back by promoting the U.S. education system as a whole and particularly Texas Tech University."
Panah said Lubbock, TX is an attractive place to start a new beginning and he believes that Texas Tech University provides resources and tools for anyone to be successful.
"I'm always grateful to God and the United States for helping a 43 year-old immigrant to finish his higher education in two years. It could not have happened without the flexibility and direction of Texas Tech University and the Rawls College of Business being such a fine educational system. I feel deeply grateful for the people who have helped me over the past two years."
Panah would like to give a special thanks to:
Managing Director, Leslie Medina (TTUHSC)
Supervisor, Ken Jarrell (TTUHSC)
Terri Giddens, Ph.D. (ISQS)
Benjamin Mitchell, Ph.D. (ISQS)
Ralph E. Viator, Ph.D. (Accounting)
Professor Roberta Allen (Accounting)
Edwar Escalante (Economics)
Julie Willett (History Department)
Laura Beth Pleasant, J.D. (Business Law)