Maria Afsharian Hometown: Montclair, NJ

Maria Afsharian was born in Shiraz to an American mother and Iranian father. She moved to Texas when she was 10 years old and attended local schools and university, earning a BS in Business Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and Journalism. She moved to the Washington, DC area where she worked for USA TODAY and Dateline NBC. Maria worked on over 90 stories and was the recipient of 7 prestigious journalism and broadcast awards including a national Emmy Award. In 2005, Maria returned to Iran and persuaded MAHAK Charity for pediatric cancer to expand its award-winning services to Shiraz, where she founded the first MAHAK Charity Social Workers Office. In 2012, Maria returned to the US and began to live in the greater New York City area. She currently provides professional and business consultation related to Iran and the US and is also the owner of BloomFive Communications.