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Scholarship winner hopes to pursue dreams of Kingston University student Niloufar Ebrahim – who lost her life on downed Ukraine International Airlines flight 752

Posted Tuesday 5 July 2022

Scholarship winner hopes to pursue dreams of Kingston University student Niloufar Ebrahim – who lost her life on downed Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 Maria Sweiss hopes to become a licensed psychologist and to continue Niloufar Ebrahim's legacy

A psychology and criminology graduate will undertake a Masters degree at Kingston University after being awarded a scholarship set up in memory of Niloufar Ebrahim, one of 176 passengers and crew who lost their lives when a Ukraine International Airlines flight was shot down in Iran two years ago.

Kingston University postgraduate student Niloufar and her husband Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi were among those who died when passenger plane PS752 was hit by Iranian surface-to-air missiles on 8 January 2020.

To continue Niloufar's legacy and remember all the victims of the flight, a scholarship was launched in partnership with her family. Maria Sweiss, from Jordan, will begin a Clinical Applications of Psychology MSc course in September and was selected from more than 200 applicants to receive the scholarship to assist her studies.

The 24 year old is passionate about helping others and wants to become a licenced psychologist in Jordan to help change the mental health system in her home country. "I want to take initiative when it comes to educating both patients and psychologists on the importance of ethics and overall mental health. I hope to be part of the change to provide those in need with the right support and rehabilitation," Maria said.

"I look forward to expanding the knowledge I gained from my Psychology with Criminology BSc degree from Kingston three years ago. I believe this will set the path for me to become a clinical psychologist and fulfil my dream of helping those in need, particularly in Jordan," she said.

Niloufar was just 34 when she died, weeks after celebrating her wedding with Saeed in the Iranian capital. The couple had been returning to London to start their lives together and Niloufar was preparing to attend her graduation ceremony after completing an MSc in Occupational and Business Psychology from Kingston University.

Kingston University graduate Niloufar Ebrahim Kingston University graduate Niloufar Ebrahim

She had been passionate about improving the lives of other people and her sister, Navaz Ebrahim, hoped the scholarship would help support students to follow in her footsteps. Navaz, who was involved in the selection panel, said she was impressed with Maria's passion and commitment to helping others less fortunate.

Maria, who is currently employed in the field of talent management, said she felt honoured to be selected for the scholarship. "I'm very grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This scholarship will play a big part in supporting my studies and initiating my plans for after I graduate," she said. "I feel more confident and motivated to work even harder, both during the course and after. I would like to thank Navaz and the panel for seeing my potential, and I do hope to carry on Niloufar's dreams through this journey."

Professor Javier Ortega, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, said he was impressed with the volume and quality of submissions for the scholarship. "We congratulate Maria on her success and look forward to welcoming her back to the University," he said. "The scholarship is a fitting tribute to Niloufar and, with the support of her family, we're delighted to be able to provide opportunities for others to continue their journey in higher education."

Categories: Alumni, International, Students

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