Texas Tech University

Nutritional Sciences Professor Receives Excellence in Mentoring Award

Dr. Naima Moustaid-Moussa, PhD Mentorship Awardby Katy McCall

The College of Human Sciences (COHS) would like to congratulate Nutritional Sciences' Naima Moustaid-Moussa, Ph.D. for receiving the Nancy J. Bell Graduate Excellence in Mentoring Award. Dr. Moustaid-Moussa's dedication as a mentor has well-equipped her students for their future occupations.

This award was designed to allow graduate students and/or faculty to nominate faculty members who they believe embody the spirit of a great mentor and have helped them on their educational journey. The recipient is awarded $1,000 to be utilized for travel or research purposes.

"I am very honored that my lab members and especially graduate students have nominated me for this award. I truly appreciate their effort putting together this nomination and showing their appreciation for what I do."

Given Naima's background, any student would be lucky to call her a mentor. She earned her doctorate from the University of Paris and received postdoctoral training at Harvard School of Public Health. She was a professor and co-director of the Obesity Research Center of the University of Tennessee. After which, she was recruited to Texas Tech College of Human Sciences as a professor in Nutritional Sciences. During her first year at TTU, she founded and has been leading the Obesity Research Cluster (ORC).

"Dr. Moustaid-Moussa is a thoughtful, understanding, committed and effective mentor with excellent leadership who places emphasis on all-around development of her mentees through encouraging scientific outreach and involvement in scientific communities, scientific writing and speaking skills, critical thinking, teamwork and collaborative efforts," Nutritional Sciences Ph.D. candidate and Dr. Moustaid–Moussa's lead nominator, Shasika Jayarathne said.

Her courses include Obesity Research Seminar, Nutrition and Chronic Diseases/Obesity & Diabetes, Advanced Research Methods, and most recently, a First Year Experience (FYE) Honors course. She also guides high school, undergraduate, and graduate students through independent research programs. Naima was recently selected for the 2018 Presidential Excellence in Research Professorship Award as well, for which Naima demonstrated great excellence in scholarly research.

"I have always considered mentoring students part of my job as an educator. A strong research program is built on mentor-student collaboration based on openness and trust."

Nutritional Sciences Chairperson Nikhil Dhurandhar, Ph.D., describes Naima as a celebrated colleague.

"Dr. Moustaid-Moussa is a very prolific and effective mentor, who has established a strong research program at TTU. As a result, Dr. Naima's mentees receive very comprehensive training," Dr. Dhurandhar said.

One of the objectives of NS department is to excel in providing outstanding learning experience to our students.

"We are training future generations of nutrition experts who would want to happily credit Texas Tech for participating in their career success. To that end, effective mentoring is vital. We are very proud of all our faculty who are engaged in this mission every day. I am very glad that Dr. Naima's extensive role in mentoring is recognized through this award," Dr. Dhurandhar said.

Dr. Moustaid-Moussa believes that as much as students learn from her, she learns from them.

"Through our discussions and working together, it is refreshing to hear different perspectives. To be a good mentor, it takes a lot of time and effort, but it is so rewarding to see my students succeed."

Naima Moustaid-Moussa, Ph.D. graduate studentsSome of her favorite memories of being a mentor are celebrating her students' success. She hosts parties every semester to celebrate her lab's achievements.

"It is a great opportunity to socialize with students and getting to know outside work. It's neat to all be together in that relaxed setting and share respective cultures."

Besides celebrating students' professional success, Naima also enjoys being a part of their lives in the good times and the bad.

"It is also important to support our students in difficult times just like a family member. I believe that mentoring must be holistic to support student success as well as wellbeing."

Shasika describes the impact of Dr. Moustaid-Moussa's efforts.

"On behalf of all former and current graduate students, we are most thankful for Dr. Moustaid–Moussa's support to us to achieve our professional goals and we are certain that we can graduate and contribute to the scientific community as confident and knowledgeable professionals," Shasika said.

Thank you for your dedication to your students Dr. Moustaid-Moussa. You will forever have touched their lives.