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‘The Professor Jaleel Ahmad Scholarship gave me the boost I needed’

Asefeh Salarinezhad is focused on mechanism design for diversity
May 6, 2021

Asefeh Salarinezhad came to Canada from Tehran, where she worked for an engineering consulting firm, to pursue a graduate degree — her third.

When she began her PhD in economics at Concordia in 2015, Salarinezhad had previously completed both an MSc in mathematics and an MBA. She had also cultivated a strong interest in game theory, a branch of mathematics concerned with the analysis of strategies for dealing with competitive situations.

“I started looking for a supervisor and found a really great match in Szilvia Pápai,” says Salarinezhad. “She’s really famous in the field of game theory and mechanism design and has published amazing work, so I was really happy to find her. She guided me on how to apply, and luckily I was admitted.”

Salarinezhad has since won five different awards. The most recent, and one that she cites as very impactful, is her Professor Jaleel Ahmad Scholarship, awarded to students in the Department of Economics who share a passion for economics, international trade and development, and East-West economic relations.

“International students have a very limited source of funds,” notes Salarinezhad. “And while all of the awards I won were crucial, because they help me stay focused on my research and not worry about expenses, this award came at an especially important time.

“I was working on my second of three papers and my source of funding was running out. The scholarship gave me the boost I needed to finish.” Salarinezhad’s doctoral research considers different topics in mechanism design, sometimes known as reverse game theory. The fruits of this research could help solve real-world problems, such as providing targeted aid, education and employment to refugees.

Salarinezhad had hoped to graduate last year, but the pandemic altered her plans. She’s now on track to finish her PhD this summer, after which she hopes to secure a full-time position as an academic researcher.

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