Yasmen Simonian

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Yasmen Simonian is a clinical laboratory scientist.

She was born in 1952 in Armenia and raised in Iran.

Having spent her childhood helping her father sterilize his dental instruments and practicing giving shots to oranges, Yasmen "Yas" Simonian was destined for a career in the medical field.

Simonian arrived in the United States in 1967 as a teenager unable to speak English. Not only did she master the English language, she also took advantage of the opportunities America offers.

She joined the Weber State University (WSU) faculty in 1981. And in 2005 Simonian received WSU's John S. Hinckley Award for Excellence in Teaching, Service and Scholarship as the professor and chairwoman of clinical laboratory sciences.

Shelley Conroy, dean of WSU's Dumke College of Health Professions, said Simonian is a "joy" to have as a faculty member.

"She works hard, and she goes the extra mile to help students be successful, not just in academics but also in their personal development."

Simonian takes pride in her students' 100 percent job-placement rate and stays in touch with them, keeping tabs on their careers and celebrating their accomplishments.

As for 2005, after 24 years in the classroom, she taught and advised a second generation of students, including some of her graduates' children.

In addition to teaching clinical laboratory sciences, Simonian and her colleagues pioneered WSU's Web-based degree-program for clinical laboratory sciences. Students nationwide take the course over the Internet.

In 2005 Simonian also received national recognition in Washington, D.C., as the 2005 Utah professor of the year.

"It's a big honor," Simonian said "I knew I was Weber State's professor of the year . . . I didn't know I would get the statewide honor."

She credited her mother with giving her the support and encouragement to excel in her studies and have a career - if that was what she wanted. In recognition of that support, Simonian took her mother, Maro, with her to Washington.

"My mother always made me feel I could do anything," said Simonian, who was selected from among faculty members nominated by colleges and universities. "I thank her for that."

As the Utah Professor of the Year, Simonian and winners from other states, Guam and the District of Columbia were recognized by the New York-based Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

She said the recognition was good for WSU, which has earned the statewide honor twice in three years. In 2003, political science professor Frank Guliuzza was selected.


  • Yasmen Simonian Named WSU Professor of the Year, By Shinika A. Sykes