Posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014


Arman Mottaghi

A first-year student at Piedmont Virginia Community College, 19-year old Arman Mottaghi is quick to share a smile. He’s also polite, engaging and possessed with a keen sense of self-direction.

There’s just one problem – the English language. It’s difficult to speak fluently, especially when you just emigrated from Iran.

Arman is openly apologetic and admits that his accent can be difficult to understand at times. But, he says he’s getting better with each passing day and credits fellow students and faculty members at PVCC with his progress.

“My speaking and reading skills have really improved,” he says. “But unfortunately, my writing – since I haven’t written a lot of papers – is going slowly. It’s a work in progress.”

Still, Arman says his first semester at PVCC has been an awesome experience. “I experienced a lot of leadership skills since I’m in the SGA,” he noted. He’s also a member of Phi Theta Kappa and president of the college’s math honor society.

A mechanical engineering major, Arman plans to transfer to UVA next year. After he finishes his education, he hopes to one day work for NASA.

“I’ve always thought about the stars,” he observed with a passion that was almost palpable. “I’ve always wanted to be part of a team that sent a robot or satellite into space.”

But to do it, Arman acknowledges that he must first get through it. For now, he’s a man on a mission and he admonished others who might follow in his footsteps that community college is nothing like high school. “There are a lot of courses – you’re going to be really busy with classes, tests, and quizzes.”

But throwing in the towel simply isn’t an option.

“Never give up!” Arman asserted. “If you just stand up and fight to accomplish your goal, you’re bound to achieve a really great outcome.”'

Craig Butterworth

A native of Richmond, Craig Butterworth is an award-winning broadcast journalist and communications professional. He has worked as a spokesperson, staff writer and editor for a variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations throughout the Richmond area.

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