Extension and Outreach


As a land-grant institution, Iowa State University and the College of Human Sciences are dedicated to extending research to the people of our communities, state, nation, and world. We do this in a variety of ways, such as:

Our research starts in labs located in Ames, Iowa, but truly knows no boundaries, as alumni, students, faculty, and staff work the world over to bring improvements to people’s lives.


Curriculum and Instruction graduate students are working with area school children to improve their literacy and reading skills through the Fred Duffelmeyer Reading Clinic. This donor-supported center offers tutoring for the children who need it most, advancing their skills and improving their chances of academic success.


Human Sciences Extension and Outreach provides research-based information and education to help families make decisions that improve their lives. As the outreach arm of the College of Human Sciences, faculty and staff work together with specialists located across Iowa’s 99 counties to translate university research to practice for local individuals, families, employers, and communities. 

Human sciences outreach focuses on food safety, nutrition, wellness, caregiving, parenting, relationships, and personal finance for people across the lifespan. Human Sciences hotlines and call centers offer assistance with home and family questions, stress counseling, financial concerns, and legal questions. 

One of its hallmark programs, the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 (SFP 10-14),  was named the most effective program for decreasing the onset of drug and alcohol problems in youth out of 6,000 prevention and intervention programs. The Pan American Health Organization and the United Nations has adapted SFP 10-14 for use in other countries.

Community engagement

On any given day, our students are working with members of society through internships at local retirement homes, in communities on food systems change efforts through the Rising Stars Program, or with the revitalization of a downtown community through the MainStreet Iowa initiative. 


Extension and Outreach News

Kimberly Greder, an Iowa State associate professor in human development and family studies, wants families outdoors. Photo by Ryan Riley.Low-income, rural mothers express need for family time outdoors

Low-income mothers from rural communities say participating in outdoor activities as a family is a primary need for their physical and emotional well-being.

But a new paper co-authored by Iowa State University's Kimberly Greder and published in the Journal of Leisure Research demonstrates many of these families aren’t getting time together.

Research by assistant kinesiology professor Elizabeth Stegemoller shows that singing can improve speech and swallowing in people with Parkinson\'s disease. Singing groups like this one in Ames will be recorded to facilitate virtual singing groups in Calhoun County. Contributed photo.Iowa State engages Iowans with new Human Sciences research

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is launching two new research projects in northern Iowa. One will build literacy and STEM skills in children, while the other will use singing training to improve quality of life for Iowans with Parkinson’s disease.

The two proposals have been selected for funding through the Engaged Scholarship Funding Program, a partnership of ISU Extension and Outreach and the College of Human Sciences. This new program funds research projects that focus on engagement, translate research into practice, and involve and benefit Iowans, their families and communities.

Aaron Hauser, an Iowa State junior in elementary education, works with Nevada fifth graders Allison Kruzich and Stephanie Lopez to use a new online math lesson he developed. Photo by Lynn Campbell.
Technology helps fifth and sixth graders with math problems

About 45 future teachers at Iowa State University are using technology to help fifth and sixth graders at Nevada Middle School better understand math concepts that give them difficulty.

Students in Christa Jackson’s CI 523 Teaching Mathematics to Struggling Elementary Learners class and Mollie Appelgate’s CI 448 Teaching Children Mathematics class this semester developed modules — or online tutorial videos — to encourage student collaboration and increase conceptual understanding of mathematics ideas.

A team of students in Iowa State University’s Entrepreneurship in Human Sciences class this semester did national field research on what makes an iconic coffeehouse. Contributed photos.Establishing an iconic coffeehouse

What makes a coffeehouse iconic?

Five Iowa State University undergraduate students in Linda Niehm’s AESHM 474-574 Entrepreneurship in Human Sciences class this semester reached out to coffeehouses across the nation in search for the answer.

They’ll be among 101 students presenting their findings from 39 projects at the 13th annual College of Human Sciences Entrepreneurship Showcase, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28 in the LeBaron Hall lobby with awards to follow in LeBaron Auditorium. The public is invited to attend.

Christine Hradek, a specialist with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, is creating partnerships to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables to food pantries. Photo by Ryan Riley.Donation gardening project aims to bring more produce to food pantries

As a human scientist, Christine Hradek applies research and utilizes local resources to meet the needs of hungry Iowans.

Katherine Richardson Bruna (right) will be recognized at a national event for her role in building Iowa State’s partnership with King and Moulton elementary schools to help historically excluded students achieve a college education. She’s pictured here with ISU Extension and Outreach specialist Constance Beecher. Contributed photo.
Iowa State presents research aimed at equity, awareness, acceptance

Iowa State University will receive national recognition at an upcoming gathering of 15,000 peers for its distinguished contributions to improve the educational conditions of students, families, and communities.

More than three dozen Iowa State faculty members, graduate students, and alumni will give presentations at the upcoming American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting, April 8 to 12 in Washington, D.C.

School of Education graduate student Madison DeShay (left) will this summer release a documentary about the once-prominent African-American business and residential district surrounding Center Street in downtown Des Moines. Historian Richard Duncan (right), who grew up on Center Street, helps to narrate the documentary. Photo by Ryan Riley. Looking to the past to inform the future

Madison DeShay is looking to the past to inform the future.

As the daughter and granddaughter of civil rights activists, black history has always intrigued her. She decided after her grandmother Aldeen Davis of Muscatine died that she couldn’t let any more history slip away.

DeShay, a graduate student in the Iowa State University School of Education, will this summer release a 90-minute documentary that’s been two decades in the making. “The Center Street Story: An Urban Renewal Retrospective” is the unique story of a thriving African-American business and residential district in Des Moines during the first half of the 20th century. The district has since been displaced.

Many Americans give unpaid care to an older adult or child with special needs. Knowing how to manage the impact of caregiving can help reduce stress. Contributed photo.Specialists offer tips on managing the impact of caregiving

As an increasing number of people find themselves juggling work and the responsibilities of providing care to a family member, experts with Iowa State University’s Human Sciences Extension and Outreach advise that communication is key.

Ames first-grade teacher Emily Kenneke is among 8,201 Iowa State University graduates working as educators throughout the state. Photo by Ryan Riley.At least 8,200 Iowa State graduates work as educators statewide

Iowa State University is a leader in preparing thousands of teachers, principals, superintendents, professors, and other educators working throughout the state in all of Iowa’s 99 counties.

As of November, Iowa State had at least 8,201 graduates working as educators throughout the state, according to county-by-county data maintained by the Iowa State University alumni database.

About a dozen probation and parole officers from Sheldon and Sioux City in October received “Your Money, Your Goals” financial education training from ISU Human Sciences Extension and Outreach specialists. Photos by Cindy Gannon.New toolkit helps Iowans better manage their finances

Iowa social service workers have a new way to help their clients with financial issues, thanks to a nationally recognized toolkit being offered by Iowa State University’s Human Sciences Extension and Outreach.


    Human Sciences Extension and Outreach brings science and proven strategies from Iowa State University to the citizens of iowa. Watch Video

  • Service learning in Uganda

    Darrin Vander Plas, a senior double-majoring in kinesiology and agronomy, has embraced study abroad and service learning opportunities at ISU to work in nations such as Uganda. Video »