Photo of Ali Zahir

Intellectually Curious, Strong Time Management skills, Passionate about Issues of Equity

MCAT Prep Scholar

I was born and raised in San Francisco to immigrant parents and amongst the first in my family to attend college. I took several years off after high school in order to pursue a career in mixed marital arts. After several years, and several more scars, I realized that it would be best to head back to school. I enrolled at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) in 2012. I dabbled in various academic disciplines until I came across an introductory chemistry course. The rest is history. During my time at CCSF, I co-founded a chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicano, Hispanics,and Native Americans in Science (aka SACNAS). My goal was to play a role in diversifying the populace in science by partnering community college students with research internships, providing tutoring services, and mentoring. My primary interests in STEM are medicine, epidemiology, chemistry, biology, and toxicology. I also am very interested in the social sciences. I am a big proponent of an interdisciplinary education. At UC Berkeley, I am fortunate to be a part of the NERDS program and Mind, Body & Nutrition. In my spare time I enjoy training in martial arts, hiking, watching movies, and reading/learning about random things.


“I have been a part of Cal NERDS for only the past year, I cannot begin to list how vital NERDS has been to my future success. I was fortunate to be selected as an MCAT scholar, which is one of the reasons that I actually will be able to now attend medical school, and from there I was segued into the rest of the wonderful NERD family. There have been countless guest speakers, workshops, and resources that have been set up for us. I have benefitted greatly from the resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn advising. In fact, those resources are the reason that I will get my first post-graduation job! NERDS has served as a huge inspiration tool for me.

Diana, who has devoted her life to helping students, is someone I very much admire. I thank her for everything she has done. Also, all of the incredible students that are a part of the NERDS program. Up until this past year, I have felt socially isolated and distant from everyone at UC Berkeley. The students at NERDS have made me feel welcome and allowed me to believe in myself as a student. Meeting students who balance working full time or being parents all while pursuing their dreams has left me inspired. I am grateful for Cal NERDS. NERDS has been instrumental in my professional career.”

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