By Gary Galluzzo, Iowa Now 
Imagine that you live near a smog-filled city of six million people where, despite the best pollution prevention and forecasting efforts by city officials, residents often are mistakenly told to remain indoors on clear days and advised to go outdoors when the air is polluted.
Some of us likely would stay put and endure the conditions, while others would move away to a different city.
But University of Iowa alumnus Marcelo Mena-Carrasco chose a different path—he joined forces with University of Iowa colleagues as well as officials of the city of Santiago, Chile, to implement a dramatically improved pollution-forecasting model for the city of Santiago.
For this and other achievements, University of Iowa President Sally Mason and UI Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas, will present Mena-Carrasco, currently a research center director at Universidad Nacional Andres' Bello, Santiago, Chile, with the UI’s 2013 International Impact Award at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum.
The idea of cleaning up the environment began during childhood, says Mena-Carrasco, who earned his master’s degree and doctorate in civil and environmental engineering from the UI College of Engineering in 2003 and 2007, respectively.