Young Alum of the Month – August 2016

Name: Simon Shumao Ye

Hometown: Wenzhou, China

Degree: ‘15 Dietetics

Honors with graduation:

  • ISU Presidential Scholarship Recipient (PhD offer)
  • Summa Cum Laude
  • University Honors Program graduate

Simon Shumao Ye is a graduate student in the biochemical and molecular nutrition program at Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University. Currently, he is investigating the roles of two dietary fatty acids on the risk of cardiovascular disease. He is working with professor Alice Lichtenstein, senior scientist and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory.

Ye’s ambitious dreams and good-natured personality made him a popular student during his time at Iowa State.

“While he was a student, Simon excelled in both in and out of the classroom. He earned top grades in all of his classes and was very involved with student professional organizations. Through all of his hard work, Simon was always happy! He smiles all the time and his enjoyment in his work is infectious,” says Ruth MacDonald, professor and chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. “Simon knew that he wanted to continue his education in graduate school and I encouraged him to set his sights high. He applied to the top graduate programs in nutrition and was almost accepted to nearly all. He chose Tufts University because of their strong academic programs in nutrition research. Simon’s goal is to find a dietary supplement that has a significant impact on human health – and I have no doubt that he will succeed.”

He excelled in the classroom at Iowa State, earning top marks, serving as a teacher’s assistant and helping with research. He was also involved with the culinary science club and states that food is one of his greatest passions. His honors project was creating a new method to assess dietary iron bioavailability. The method he developed with the guidance of Manju Reddy is ten times quicker and cheaper than the traditional method. His research is currently in the process for publication.

“During those eight months, I not only learned many biochemical research techniques but also the skills to engage in critical thinking, data analysis and writing proposals for grants. It was a complete independent research project and was fully funded by ISU Honors Program. The success of this project gave me confidence; I saw it as strong evidence that I had potential as a future researcher,” says Ye.

He credits many people in his success at Iowa State including Ruth MacDonald, Manju Reddy, Anne Oldham, Lorraine Lanningham-Foster, Karri Haen, Kevin Schalinske, Wendy White, Matthew Rowling, Gretchen Zdorkowski, Steven Rodermel and Katie Smith. He is especially grateful for the support of his parents during his ISU years, Yuxia and Haibin, and his best friend Chaoguang.

Ye has remained engaged in student organizations at Tufts University and has served as the curriculum development chair for Jumbo’s Kitchen, where they teach children basic kitchen skills and nutritional information. This year, he will serve as co-chair for another student organization, SlowFood, which explores local food, cooking methods and local food businesses.

Ye is the co-founder and chair of membership/service of the International Chinese Nutrition Young Scholar Network (ICNYSN), membership coordinator of North America Chinese Society for Nutrition (NACSN), student member of American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and Institute of Food Technologist (IFT).

From his study in nutrition and dietetics, Ye has learned many life lessons. One lesson in particular stuck out for its applicability to not just dietetics, but life. He offers this advice to students: “It is not wise to judge people. People who are overweight may have tried very hard to make changes. People who are not rich may have worked very hard to feed their families. Life is multi-factored; you never know what has happened to other people.”