Parisa Popalzai received a PhD in Islamic Studies from the UCLA International Institute in the 2008 winter quarter. Soon she'll be off to help Afghan copatriots in two big endeavors.
As a girl, Parisa Popalzai learned that her heritage contained the stuff of fairy tales, that she was in fact descended from Afghan royalty. Imagine, a 19th century emir in the family.
Her family left Afghanistan when she was 4, and she's so Americanized now at 33 that her lineage makes more for fun conversation than for any sense of entitlement. Besides, when you work in a sandwich and yogurt shop -- which she did for a time as a teenager in Redlands -- you are officially working-class.
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Published: Thursday, July 10, 2008