Rotem (Ro) Arieli

Ro Arieli aspires to become a professor and researcher. When Ro has free time, she enjoys playing guitar, reading, and spending time with friends.

Get to know Ro

  • Program: Human development and family studies MS/Ph.D. curriculum
  • Class: 3rd year in master’s and Ph.D. combination program
  • Hometown: Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Career goal: Researcher and professor
  • Awards/honors: 2019 Charlotte and Stanley Herren Graduate Fellowship, 2019 Best Poster Presentation at ISU Graduate and Professional Student Research Conference, 2018 Ellen Wayne Scholarship, 2018 Betty Jeanne Root Scholarship
  • Most influential ISU mentor: Peter Martin
  • Favorite class: HDFS 510, Theories of Human Development
  • Why Iowa State: Mentorship pairing for research

Ro Arieli’s positivity shines through in research on successful aging in older adults

Ro Arieli is in her third year of a five-year master’s and Ph.D. dual-program in human development and family studies, with a research focus on the successful aging in older adults. Ro’s interests are largely influenced by her family tree.

“I’ve always known I wanted to do graduate school, and hopefully one day get my Ph.D. in a field that helps people,” Ro said. “I have a family of a lot of holocaust survivors and some not survivors. The one lesson that was always ingrained in my head was that education is the one thing they can’t take away from you. That was something that really spoke to me.”

Ro often has the chance to interact with the older generation when conducting her research. She has immense respect for older generations and believes each person has their own narrative and outlook on life that are valuable to consider. 

Her research focuses on comparing people between the ages of 80 and 100 and how their social support, outlook on life, and physical functionality influences their overall life satisfaction. These are all factors that contribute to successful aging.

“[The people] are the most rewarding thing. You’re sitting there, and you get to talk to these amazing humans that are so resilient,” Ro said. “One woman sticks with me; she still puts on her lipstick every day and she talks about how she has lunch with the ladies, and she just has so much life about her so you would never guess she’s a hundred years old. People over a hundred have so much wisdom and so much life to give.”

Ro presented her master’s thesis in Lausanne, Switzerland in May of 2019. She met her research heroes, some of whom expressed interest in her research. This gave her the reassurance that she was where she needed to be in her studies and research. 

Her persistence within her studies has helped to get her where she wants to be — doing meaningful work in her research. In all she does, Ro hopes to generate positivity as a person, a future professor and researcher.

“I’ve always been more interested in the positive aspect of life in general, because you only get so many years to live, and I feel like you have to look at the good things,” she said. “I’m more looking at optimism and resilience and these more positive qualities to gain. What is living to a hundred if you’re not happy?”

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