Darya Nemati


Darya was part of our very first four-year-old Kindergarten class at Russell Byers Charter School (RBCS) back when the building was located on Spring Garden Street. And as our history goes, that fateful first day of school was September 11, 2001, so Darya’s parents quickly came to scoop her up! But she then remained at Russell Byers through fourth grade, after which she enrolled at Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP) from fifth through ninth grade where she could truly exercise her musical talent. She loved taking lessons and played the piano and flute. For high school, Darya attended Science Leadership Academy in Center City. She enjoyed the fact that the schools she attended were within walking distance of her home.

Darya Nemati

Darya attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2019. Her younger sister Chiara, also an RBCS alum, followed her to Penn two years later. Darya decided to work for two years before enrolling in graduate school and was hired by the Nationalities Service Center (NSC) where her language skills—she speaks Farsi and Spanish fluently!—made her indispensable to new immigrants arriving in Philadelphia. Darya was a case manager for the NSC and worked to assist clients with resettlement and healthcare needs. She is now in her second year at Boston University where she is doctoral candidate in occupational therapy in the College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.  

Darya sees Philadelphia as home, as her community, and she loves our culture and food. To complete her doctoral thesis, Darya will return to Philly to conduct research and clinical field work with the Nationalities Service Center. Her focus is on a combination of physical and mental healthcare. It is rare to have an occupational therapist working with immigrants, and she looks forward to making a difference in this community of people.

Her words of wisdom for current RBCS students are, “Dream big! Don’t let others interfere with your future goals.”

We are thrilled that Darya will be using her talents here in Philadelphia, and we know her important work will impact the lives of many of our new and future citizens.