Matador Strong

September 8, 2016

Pooneh Yamuty is thriving at California State University, Northridge, in spite of a serious health problem.Pooneh

“When I came to the United States I was very sick,” California State University, Northridge student Pooneh Yamuty recalls. That was six years ago. Although she’s still not well physically, Pooneh is thriving at CSUN.

An accountancy major, Pooneh was born and raised in Iran. She came to the United States to pursue better treatment and education.

“My plan was to be a teacher,” Pooneh says. “But after my surgery, they told me I couldn’t be around children, so I decided to switch.”

Pooneh has an autoimmune condition called scleroderma and was unable to receive proper treatment in Iran. As a result, the disease damaged her lungs. When fate intervened and, by chance, she was connected with a doctor in Los Angeles, she was told that without a lung transplant she would die.

“Inside I’m really strong; I accepted the reality,” Pooneh says. “The transplant surgery took about eight hours. I was in the hospital, and I didn’t even tell my parents back in Iran.”

The surgery was in June 2013, and Pooneh was back at Pierce College (she transferred to CSUN in 2015) for the start of the fall semester; however, recovery has not been easy.

Her hair fell out from the immunosuppressant drugs that she needs to keep her body from rejecting her new organ, and at first, she barely had the strength to walk from the parking lot to her classes.

At CSUN, strong support — including two significant scholarships — has enabled her to continue her education. Pooneh received $2,000 from Associated Students, and the $1,000 Duran scholarship given through Disability Resources and Educational Services.

The scholarships have been especially important for Pooneh, because after the transplant working, even part -time, was difficult.

Now that she’s a bit stronger she has a job as a student assistant at the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics Student Services Center/ EOP Satellite office. Pooneh is also a member of the Accounting Association and the CSUN chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, a national accounting honorary society.

“I still have a lot of complications, but I don’t want to give up,” she says. “I try not to think about it. When I compare myself with other patients, I’m doing much better than many of them.”