Alumni News

Alumni news magazine, College of Human Sciences Matters

This Summer 2015 issue of College of Human Sciences Matters magazine showcases how the college is positively impacting people at key points throughout the lifespan — from the first to the last day of life.


Summer 2015: PDF | Online version

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Alumni news stories

Alumni News

Iowa State kinesiology student Ciara McCarty, left, volunteered at an iCan Bike camp in Fresno, California last summer. She’s one of four students bringing the camp to Iowa next week. Contributed photo.Iowa State students help people with disabilities get up on two wheels

Riding a bicycle can increase a person’s self esteem and confidence.

It can improve physical fitness, mental health, and overall quality of life. It can also spur positive changes in family dynamics, create opportunities for inclusion, and provide a person with an independent means of transportation.

But people with special needs can face challenges in mastering this skill.

That’s why four Iowa State University kinesiology students and recent graduates — Katie Cook, Ciara McCarty, Jeff Robson, and Jenna Ham — are bringing the national iCan Bike camp to Ames next week. It’s the first of its kind in Iowa. The five-day camp teaches people with disabilities to ride a conventional two-wheel bicycle.



Educating a workforce to meet the needs of older adults like Meg and John Tait at Green Hills Retirement Community in Ames is a key step to making Iowa more aging-friendly. Photo by Blake Lanser.Iowa State alumni advocate for older adults

For Iowa State University alumna Merea Bentrott, advocating on behalf of older adults isn’t just a job — it’s her lifelong goal.



Iowa State alumna Lissa Stapleton volunteered at a deaf residential school in Ghana as part of her journey to better understand deaf students of color. Contributed photo.Stapleton advocates for black deaf students

Lissa Stapleton’s awareness and advocacy for deaf students of color stemmed from an experience in high school.



Human development and family studies alumnus Carlos Alonzo rewards struggling elementary schoolers with positive experiences, not objects. Photo by Christopher Gannon.
Helping at-risk children find strength and purpose

A boxing session is one of the most prized ways that Carlos Alonzo rewards his struggling students for good behavior.

Elementary school students under his supervision must act properly in class for several weeks to win time with the punching bag.



Iowa State alumna Monique Pairis-Garcia (left) received help from the Blossom Project in food science and human nutrition to improve her diet and exercise habits when she was pregnant. Contributed photo.Blossom Project encourages pregnant women to eat healthy, exercise

The Blossom Project gave Monique Pairis-Garcia the support she needed to make her health and the health of her baby a top priority.



Iowa State alum Jay Alberts, riding a tandem bicycle with his children during RAGBRAI, changes the lives of many people with Parkinson’s disease via his Pedaling for Parkinson’s initiative. Contributed photo.Keeping Parkinson’s patients rolling

John Carlin credits Pedaling for Parkinson’s with saving his life.

Carlin connected with the nonprofit at a time when his Parkinson’s disease symptoms were worsening — tremors, deterioration of fine motor skills, softening of voice.

After he joined the Pedaling for Parkinson’s team in training for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, he regained control of his body. His symptoms receded.

“Without Pedaling for Parkinson’s, I don’t know where I’d be,” Carlin said. “I was sinking fast.”



Shawn Spooner, an Urbandale doctor and veteran of the U.S. Navy, credits much of his success to his training in kinesiology at Iowa State University. Photo by Christopher Gannon.Doctor credits much of his success to kinesiology training at Iowa State

Dr. Shawn Spooner has traveled the world and touched thousands of people’s lives.



Woodward Academy teacher William Terry aims to improve students’ attitudes about education. The longtime Illinois police dispatcher returned to school and received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Iowa State. Photos by Blake Lanser.
Terry teaches students the value of education

William Terry commands both respect and understanding as he stands in front of a classroom of young men who have run into trouble in school, with their families, or with the law.



Alum Melissa Fox Young, far right, helps with projects in the Bihar region of India that aim to better the health of local women and children. Contributed photo.Iowa State alum works to improve nutrition for women and children of India

Melissa Fox Young is dedicated to boosting children’s nutrition during the key 1,000 days following conception.

“It’s a critical time where we can have an impact on a lifetime of health and development for a child,” said Young, who in 2006 graduated from Iowa State University in nutritional science.

Her efforts as a nutrition researcher focus on a time when proper nourishment is especially important — starting with pregnancy and ending two years after the child is born.



Tasia Becker, a graduate of Iowa State\'s early childhood education program, impacts students at the beginning of their learning careers. Photo by Blake Lanser.Motivating children for a lifetime of learning

In a school room near one of the few four-way stops in Slater, a group of beaming first graders gathers around teacher Tasia Becker for the day’s lesson about coins. She asks the students to describe a quarter and hands shoot up, fingers wriggling.

Becker loves engaging with students at such a young age when school is an exciting, new experience. She wants her students to maintain that excitement throughout their learning careers.



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