UT Dallas instructor skydive to set world record

Vanessa Shirazi was part of the team that set the world record late last year.

DALLAS. When students listen to Vanessa Shirazi, professor of neuroscience at UT Dallas, talk about the brain, they have no idea what she really has in mind.

“Do my students know about this side?” Shirazi asked. “Yes, I think so. I usually have to mention it at some point in the semester. I love it too much. It comes out even if I try not to.”

Whenever Shirazi isn’t teaching, she jumps from a plane.

She started skydiving about 10 years ago. She made almost 2000 jumps. However, recently she only wanted to do one jump that mattered.

“Doing something like this was such an incredible opportunity,” Shirazi said.

A couple of years ago, Shirazi heard about a project called Project 19. Its goal was to bring together the world’s best female skydivers to break the world record for the largest vertical jump (head down) in history by a group of women.

The jump was scheduled for 2020, marking the 100th anniversary since women gained the right to vote.

“When I heard about this project, which was going to combine skydiving to celebrate the electoral movement, I thought, ‘Oh man, I should be a part of this,’” Shirazi said.

However, soon after Shirazi found out about Project 19, he started a family. She had two children, and skydiving faded into the background.

However, due to COVID, the attempt was delayed. It was delayed long enough for Shirazi to get back to training and jump into history.

Eighty female paratroopers formed a formation thousands of feet above the ground.

Although the paratroopers attempted to form a flight of 100 women, they still broke the previous record of 65.

Women have made great strides in the last 100 years, but many believe there is still more to be done.

This world record was a chance not only to celebrate, but to send a message to women all over the world: if you have a dream, don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith.

“Just live a bold, bold life,” Shirazi said. “Whatever that means to you. Whatever you want, go for it.”

When one generation sets itself high goals, the next one can rise even higher.

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texasstandard.news contributed to this report.

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