In honour of Marzieh (Mari) Foroutan, a brilliant PhD student in the Faculty of Environment who was aboard flight PS752 which crashed in Iran, the faculty has established a scholarship in her name. With permission from her family the scholarahip will help keep her memory alive in perpetuity, and support those who will walk in her big footsteps in the years to come.
Environment's goal is to raise $50k to endow a graduate scholarship for international PhD students. All gifts of $20 plus are tax deductible.
Mari’s passion was helping ensure the world’s water supply is safe for everyone to use. She was a member of Global Water Futures, a project providing governments, businesses and communities the risk management tools they need to tackle threats to Canada's water supply and quality in an era of climate change. Mari was a brilliant scientist, a natural problem solver. As her friends and colleagues put it, "she brought an optimistic and curious determination to her work." This often involved spending extended time in and around the lakes of southern Ontario where she used field sensors, high-resolution remote sensing from drones, and numerical models to measure to monitor and predict surface temperature, thermal structure, ice cover and water quality of climate impacted lakes.
Her work took her to Sunfish Lake, located just outside Waterloo in Wilmot Township where locals got to know her as the smiling face always heading out on a boat, and doing research that mattered to their community. Mari was well-known in Environment’s Ecology Lab, where could most often-be found assessing her findings and collaborating with her colleagues.
Mari’s curiosity about ecosystems and geography extended beyond Ontario, Canada, and even planet earth. She was part of a group researching the long-vanished lakes of the planet Mars. Mari’s expertise in algorithms and remote sensing helped the group consider the question, could we actually live on Mars? Which they explored in this TED-ed animation.
Mari was part of a tight knit community in Environment, and especially in her water research group led by Claude Duguay. Beyond that, because of the transdisciplinary nature of water research, she made friends across campus, across Canada, and in the world-wide water security community. Unstoppably generous Mari had collected gifts at Shiraz’s famed Vakil Bazaar for all of her friends in Waterloo
A statement from Mari’s brother Dr. Mohammad Foroutan:
My family and I, from the depth of our hearts, appreciate you and your colleagues at the Department of Geography, Faculty of Environment and at the University of Waterloo for suggesting and establishing this scholarship with the name of my sister, Marzieh Foroutan. We all are sure that her soul will forever be full of joy when many graduate students in need use this scholarship and keep her name in their minds.
Also, we appreciate all of your efforts in preparing the memorial ceremonies for Marzieh and other lost lives in this horrible accident. We grieve with the families who have lost their beloved family members and our hearts are with them. May Marzieh rest in peace.
More about Mari...
Before she left for Iran, Mari expressed to a colleague and Master's supervisor that she was very excited about the next phase of her PhD degree, focusing on the application of new algorithms and technologies in remote sensing to study climate change.
Mari's family and friends describe her as a truly fully rounded and gifted individual. Brilliant in her field, passionate about nature and sustainability, an artist and a poet, and most importantly the most caring and respectful individual.