When Simin Meydani heard she won the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Iowa State, it brought back fond memories of her time here. She thought about the friends she made when she was a Ph.D. student in nutrition and how far she’s come. And just like her time at Iowa State was special to her, so is this honor. “I have received several awards for which I am grateful,” said Meydani, “but being selected for this award is like receiving the seal of approval from your parents — it is very meaningful to me.”

Meydani is now a world-renowned scientist and educator, researching the intersection of nutrition, immune response, and infectious diseases. Her career success is a long list of impressive adventures. She is director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, a professor of nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and professor of immunology at Tufts University Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. And the list of awards she’s won is even longer, including the American Aging Association’s Denham Harman Lifetime Achievement in Research Award, among many others.

During her time at Iowa State, Meydani said she always felt welcomed in its collaborative and friendly environment. “People at Iowa State are very friendly and helpful. As an Iranian living in Ames during the Iranian hostage crisis, I was touched by the support I received from people around me, including the department’s custodian, whose face I still remember.”

Looking back fondly at your time at Iowa State isn’t unusual. Maybe it’s the support you’ll find here from our faculty and staff. Maybe it’s the friendly environment we offer. Or maybe it’s a combination of all this and more. Whatever it is — it won’t take long after you get here for Iowa State to feel like home. And after you graduate, don’t be surprised if you’ll always look forward to coming back.

This story is one of a series featuring Iowa State Distinguished Alumnus Award winners.

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