Attallah College of Educational Studies is thrilled to announce that one of its very own, Mirvais “Mir” Aminy, a Ph.D. in Education student, has secured a spot in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Scholars Fellowship program. Among thousands of applicants, only 40 were selected this year as Healthy Policy Research Scholars (HPRS). Dr. Meghan E. Cosier, Associate Professor and Executive Director of the Thompson Policy Institute on Disability (TPI), played a pivotal role in supporting Mirvais’ application and will act as his faculty advisor during his tenure in the program.

Mirvais Mir Aminy

Healthy Policy Research Scholars’ Experience and Outcome

Throughout the fellowship program, HPRS participants engage in rigorous training, including policy and leadership development sessions. They are awarded an annual sum of up to $30,000 for a maximum of four years. The extensive curriculum covers areas like health equity, policy processes, and leadership, allowing them to continue their studies from their home institutions. 

Upon graduating, scholars are equipped to enact change, applying research and collaborative skills to impact policy positively, leverage diverse research networks, and engage in a national discourse on policy reforms that are integral to the Culture of Health.

Ph.D. in Education Student Mirvais Mir Aminy: A Rising Scholar

When asked about his journey and the motivation behind applying for the fellowship, Mirvais reflected on his lived experiences. “My encounters with the criminal justice system as a teenager and learning to navigate life with a physical disability has presented challenges,” he stated. Mirvais saw higher education as his lifeline, a way to transcend the obstacles he faced. The HPRS program recognized his dedication and potential, offering him a spot in their seventh cohort.

Drawing from his experience as an Academic Counselor for Project Rebound at California State University Fullerton, Mirvais shed light on the misconceptions surrounding students from the criminal justice system. “Through my experience, I have found that many students who have experience with the criminal justice system have undiagnosed or misdiagnosed disabilities. It is a population that has been misunderstood in more than one way. With my research in Chapman’s doctoral program, I hope to understand the experiences of formerly incarcerated college students with disabilities and improve counseling techniques for higher education practitioners.”

Mirvais’ alignment with the HPRS program’s goals stems from his diverse identities. “As an Afghan American, first-generation college student, refugee, English learner, Muslim, person with a disability, formerly incarcerated person, and adult learner, I have been a huge proponent of equity and access in a just society,” he said. 

He envisions his research to inform national policy, abolish educational gatekeeping barriers, and bring an end to the school-prison pipeline.

Dr. Cosier, Mirvais’ advisor for the fellowship program, expressed her pride and enthusiasm. “Mirvais’ selection as a Health Policy Research Scholar not only speaks to his academic excellence and commitment to applying his research to build healthier and more equitable communities, it also speaks to the strength of the Ph.D. in Education programs in the Attallah College of Educational Studies and the exceptional Ph.D. students this program attracts. I am honored to serve as Mirvais’ advisor throughout his time in the Health Policy Research Scholars program.”

About the Health Policy Research Scholars Program

The Health Policy Research Scholars (HPRS) program is a unique initiative designed for second-year full-time doctoral students. Supporting individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in various doctoral disciplines, the program aims to nurture a new generation of leaders. The goal of HPRS is to cultivate transformational leaders from diverse backgrounds with doctoral training—representing a wide range of research-focused disciplines—who will inform and influence policy toward a Culture of Health. 

Mirvais Mir Aminy