McGuire Entrepreneurship Program doctoral minor student awarded Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Scholarship

Nov. 5, 2013


A $10,000 Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Scholarship in the UA Eller College of Management has been awarded to Nima Jamilpour, a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering who is completing a doctoral minor in entrepreneurship through the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program. 

“This scholarship will bring me financial stability for this academic year. However, this is not only about the money,” Jamilpour said. “To me, ‘Brown Distinguished Scholarship’ means a recognition of my efforts and an approval that I’m on the right path.” 

The Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Scholarships were first funded in 2002 in memory of Thomas Brown, co-founder of Burr-Brown Research Corporation in 1953, who was inspired to build products with then-new transistor technology. He led the Tucson-based company to worldwide prominence in the development, manufacturing and marketing of data conversion and mixed signal integrated circuits. Texas Instruments acquired Burr-Brown in 2000. Today, Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Scholarships support top students in the Eller College of Management with declared interests in the fields of technology and management and in the College of Engineering. 

“My father thought that universities should find new, more effective ways to educate technology managers and entrepreneurs,” said Sarah Smallhouse, Tom Brown’s daughter. “He would be pleased to see the UA business college reach out to scientifically-minded students by offering business and entrepreneurship classes while they are simultaneously working on their major degrees. The Brown Foundation trustees are pleased to support this approach because we believe it gives students particular understandings and insights that will make them more productive under competitive pressures.” 

A native of Tehran, Iran, Jamilpour completed an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, solid mechanics, and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, applied design at Semnan University in Semnan, Iran. He has worked as a researcher on a bone mechanics study and as a consultant for a biomedical device company, completed an internship in industrial firefighting systems and been a designer and manager at an automobile parts manufacturer. Through these experiences, he came to the belief that successful engineers aren’t automatically successful business managers. He recognized that he would need business training before he could pursue his goal to commercialize bioengineering research and launch his own startup, a realization that led him to the UA and the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program. 

Students in the McGuire Program receive a year of intensive experiential education that engages them in the process of developing an innovation from an early-stage idea to an investable venture. Acceptance into the McGuire Program is competitive, but undergraduate and graduate students in all fields of study are encouraged to apply. 

“We admit bright, driven University of Arizona students from a variety of fields of study and we value engineering students, such as Nima Jamilpour, who bring dynamic, technical skill sets to our innovative curriculum that further enrich the new venture teams,” said Patricia Sias, Director of the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program and the doctoral minor advisor. 

Now three years into his UA studies, Jamilpour has already completed a doctoral minor in biomedical engineering and his research focuses on tissue regeneration, specifically employing biotechnology, nanotechnology and information science to ultimately create the capability to stimulate damaged tissues to repair themselves or replace them with engineered tissues when the body cannot heal itself. Combining his engineering research with the entrepreneurship education he’s receiving in the McGuire Program has solidified his goal to launch and run a research-based biomedical company committed to creating quality of life improvements. 

While Jamilpour originally entered the McGuire program hoping to learn the basics of finance and management, he has already learned so much more. 

“After being in the program for a few months, I believe the most important gain from this experience would be developing a new way of thinking and a different level of skills that can be used in a wide range of applications,” he said. “For other science and engineering students whose paths cross with managing businesses or commercializing research, I highly recommend the McGuire program.”