Biology, 1997

Political turmoil in Iran in the 1980s compelled Ali Nouri’s family to immigrate to Oregon when he was 11. He never considered a career in politics and he went on to major in biology at Reed and earn a doctorate in molecular biology at Princeton. He found a calling in public policy later in life, working for the United Nations before moving to Washington, D.C., as a science advisor to U.S. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia. He also served as legislative director and national security advisor for comedian-turned-politico and former U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota.  Nouri is now President of the Federation of American Scientists.