Meet the Team

Peyvand Board Members

Creating and enabling the Peyvand mission. 
Shahrzad Shams served as a full-time Assistant Teaching Professor in Persian in the Department of near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington. Trained in Applied Linguistics (M.A. California State University, Fullerton, 1985), she has won acclaim and gratitude from students and colleagues since joining the faculty in 2009. She serves as a liaison between the University of Washington and the Iranian American community. She also serves as the chair of the Iranian Film Initiative Committee. 
Homa Hayatyfar has a demonstrated history of leadership in data science, engineering, and program management. With a passion in technology and analytics, she aims to boost STEM participation in underrepresented groups through mentorship and advocacy. As an Iranian immigrant, who has benefitted from advocacy programs, she supports community-based organizations and local nonprofits to expand opportunities for youth. 
Keiana Hadjireza is an electrical engineer who works for MicroVision, a lidar company. She has a dual B.A. in Biochemistry and B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington. Outside of her work commitments, she dedicates her time to promoting female youth to consider STEM as a future career through panels and speaking engagements. Her passions are community engagement, trivia, travel, linguistics and continued learning of her heritage and other cultures. She is excited to be involved with Peyvand and continue to guide and mentor youth as well as helping to preserve her Iranian heritage through celebrated traditions. 
Leyla Salmassi is a double Huskey with 2 B.A.s and an M.A. from the University of Washington. She is an experienced project and program manager in higher education with a commitment to excellence, diversity, equity, and inclusion in education. She is dedicated to building strong communities and developing leaders for the next generation. Leyla is passionate about create equitable, diverse, and inclusive communities on campus and beyond. As an Iranian immigrant, who has benefitted from advocacy programs for all minorities, she is thrilled to be making a full circle to serve those in similar situations. She serves as the President of the UW Professional Staff Organization and as a board member at WithinReach. Leyla is an art enthusiast, social justice warrior, chef extraordinaire, mother of two kids, and has two very spoiled cats. Leyla can be reached at

Peyvand Advisory Board

Seeking guidance from the community.
Mehran received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in 1996. He was a member of the Guidance, Navigation, and Analysis Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, from 1996 to 2000 and an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, University of Minnesota from 2000 to 2002. He is currently a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics and Electrical Engineering, Executive Director of the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation and holds the Endowed University Professorship in Control Systems and Networks at the University of Washington. He is a fellow of IEEE and co-author of the book “Graph Theoretic Methods in Multiagent Networks” published by Princeton University Press. He received the NSF CAREER Award in 2001, the NASA Space Act Award in 2004, the UW Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005, the UW College of Engineering Innovator Award in 2008, and the Graduate Instructor of the Year Award in 2015.
Michael is a serial entrepreneur with proven track record in disruptive technologies. He is passionate about learning new technologies and consider himself lifelong student, researcher, challenging the unknown, and explorer. After 19 years, Michael left Microsoft to pursuer future challenges in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality world. He is currently involved in training, consulting, developing, and innovation in Mixed Reality technologies in many industries such as education, medical, automotive, manufacturing, and e-commerce.
Babak is a Vice President at Amazon. Prior to joining Amazon in 2014, he was a distinguished engineer and a director at Google.
He received his B.A. in literature from the University of Washington; B.S. in Electronic Engineering from Sharif University of Technology, M.S. in Physics, M.S. in Electrical Engineering, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan; and completed his postdoctoral fellowship in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. His primary areas of focus are engineering at scale and engineering with social impact. 

Peyvand Public Relations

Sharing the vision of Peyvand. 
Zahra Ranjbar started public relations at Peyvand in 2021 with the intent of spreading awareness of Peyvand programs within our community. 

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