May 2019
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As part of the ISU 4U Promise College Partnership Program, the 1st grade classes from Moulton Elementary School took a field trip to campus to visit the College of Design. I n one of four activity stations, students had the chance to get dirty making "Seed Bombs" out of clay, compost, and pollinator seeds. 
Moulton First Graders Visit the College of Desig n

At the end of October, Moulton first gra de teacher Michelle Pohlmeyer reached out to Shari Miller, Program Coordinator for the ISU 4U Promise, with a request - would it be possible for the Moulton first grade team to bring thei r students up to the College of Design? With collaboration from College of Design faculty and staff, their wish became a reality! 

On Friday, April 5th, 80 first graders from Moulton Elementary School took a field trip to Ames to visit their colleg e partner, the College of Design. In the ISU 4U Promise College Partnership Program, each gra de is partnered with one of the undergraduate colleges at Iowa State University. The partners hips are as follows:

During their time at the College of Design, the 80 1st graders had the opportunity to rotate through four hands-on interactive stations representing different majors. With Pete Evans in Industrial Design/Extension and Outreach's
FLEx SHIFT program, the 1st graders took a "virtual" roller coa ster ride through campus (thanks to the Oculus Rift) and also worked with an app that created geometric shapes. David Ringholz from Industrial Design led stu dents through an activity where students designed toys using analogies. Zach Frazier, graduat e assistant in Graphic Design, offered "Storytelling wi th Zines," and Carl Rogers from Landscape Architecture had a station where the students made "Seed Bombs" out of clay, compost, and pollinator seeds!

For more photos, check out the link to our Facebook
King Kindergartners Visit ISU Dairy Farm

On Monday, April 22nd, the College Pa rtnership between Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) Fraternity (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences) and the King kindergarten class es culminated in an end of the year field trip to the < span style="color:#000080">ISU Dairy Farm. Organized, planned, and funded by AGR, the day included opportunities to learn about different aspects of agriculture and farming w hile watching cows being milked, smelling and touching silage and hay, going "grocery shoppin g" for items from sheep, pigs, cows, and chickens, and even tasting some ice cream made by th e ISU Dai ry Science Club!

AGR's commitment to "Ag in the Classroom" included once-monthly engagement with the three kindergarten classes at King Elementary. Each time they visited, six AGR members came along and offered six hands-on, interactive stations connected to the kindergarten curriculum. Topics and activities ranged from talking about the geograph y of Iowa, what animals and plants need to survive, to doing a simulation of a farmer's marke t where the students could buy items with their Ag bucks!

The fraternity intends to expand their partnership with the ISU 4U Promise next year by conti nuing the program at King Elementary and by adding in-the-classroom visits to Moulton Element ary as well.

Jake Hlas, an Alpha Gamma Rho member and ISU sophomore majoring in Animal Scienc e, leads an activity with the kindergartners from ISU 4U Promise partner school King Elementa ry during their first (ever!) field trip to the ISU Dairy Farm in April. (For more photo s of the visit to the Dairy Farm, follow this link.)
Thank Yo u, Alpha Gamma Rho!

The ISU 4U Promise office was thrilled to hear that the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity had se lected the ISU 4U Promise as the recipient for the funds they raised at their annual RHOdown Philanthropy event on Thursday, April 11th. Through ticket sales to the pulled pork dinner t hey served, they were able to donate over $2300 to the ISU 4U Promise! We are tremendously gr ateful for AGR's generosity and their continued commitment to this College Partnership Progra m!

ISU 4U Promise Students Wrap Up First Year on Campus
(Originally published by Iowa State University News Service on April 25, 2019)
With the deadline for design portfolios looming, Lorena Sa na Elias is a mix of nerves and excitement. The Iowa State University student is proud of the portfolio she's built during her first year on campus, but it's the waiting to find out if sh e'll be accepted into the College of Design's integrated studio arts program that is nerve-ra cking.

Just having the opportunity to apply for the design program still seems unreal to San Elias. She says she never doubted the mentors who told her she could go to college, but the questio n of how to pay for it always lingered. That question was answered when San Elias learned she was eligible for a 100 percent tuition award through the ISU 4U Promise. Read more.

Somerle Rhiner (standing far left) and Lorena San Elias (kneeling center) with friends outside the Alumni Building. Somer le and Lorena are two of the 13 students who just completed their first year at Iowa State as members of the first ISU 4U Promise cohort. 
(Photo courtesy of Lorena San Elias)

5th Grade  ISU 4U Promise Scholars Visit Campus

Every year, on the Thursday and Friday before Dead Week at Iowa State, people on campus m ight see small groups of 5th graders walking around campus. The field trips are an annual eve nt for Moulton and King Elementary 5th graders to celebrate their year of "official" enrollme nt into the ISU 4U Promise program and to introduce many of them to the campus. An informal s urvey given to the Moulton and King 5th graders at the end of 2018 showed that two-thirds of the students had never visited a college campus before. It is hoped that with the growth and expansion of the College Partnership Program over the next few years, that statistic will cha nge.

Over the course of two days, approximately 90 Moulton students, 50 King students, and 22 teachers and other adul t chaperones visited Iowa State University. Their days were divided into two hour-long sessio ns which included a scavenger hunt/tour of campus and a series of interactive hands-on activi ties. Additionally, the groups had the opportunity to eat in the food court of the Memorial U nion.

More than 40 ISU undergraduate and graduate students volunteered to help with the field trips either by leading groups around campus, directing students during the busy lunch time, being hosts in the activities room, or helping with set up and tear down. In addition, over 16 fac ulty, staff, and students helped facilitate the hands-on activities. Activities included:
Volunteer Spotlight:
Vashalice Howard: Graduate Student in Educ ation, 3rd Grade Volunteer at King Elementary

How did you fin d out about the ISU 4U Promise, and why did you decide to get involved?
Last November, I was featured in Iowa State University's student spotlight. In the artic le, I spoke about my love for literacy and how I wanted to one day open my own school back in Uganda, Africa where I volunteered with the Peace Corps. After reading the piece, Shari Miller (ISU 4U Promise Program Coordinator) contacted me. My meeting with her was great and she asked if I would be willing to volunteer with students at King Elementary. The rest i s history! I volunteer every Wednesday conducting book clubs and talks with 3rd grade. I decided to get involved with ISU 4U Promise because I loved what they were about - the push f or young students to be exposed to college at a young age. If students are exposed to mo re positive aspects of life (college, leadership, representation at a high level, etc) t heir trajectory will only get better!

Why do you choose to volunteer in the classroom?
I choose to volunteer in the classroom because it gives me great joy to interact with th e students at King Elementary. They keep me on my toes and it allows me to give them positive guidance. In the world, representation is important and in the words of Dr. Rudine Sims Bisho p "When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the ima ges they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful message about how t hey are devalued in the society of which the are a part." I want to be a posit ive image for students of color. I want to let them know that there are people who look like them who have gone to school, have done something positive with their life, have achiev ed good and great things even when the world attempts to knock them down. I want th em to know that I am not perfect but I take my imperfections and turn them into fuel for my g oals and dreams. I represent my "babies" every time I walk in a classroom on ISU's campus, ev ery time I write a 20 page paper for class, read articles to enrich my learning, and dev elop professionally. I have them on my mind because I know what it feels like to see peo ple who look like me make it to fields and places that I used to dream about going. I do it f or them.

What's the best thing about volunteering?
The students!! I love them so much! They make my life fun and engaging!

Do you have a good story/memory/moment you could share?  
Last Wednesday, May 15th, would be my best moment thus far. I took 3rd grade cupcakes and I m et with my reading/book club groups and gave them books. Their faces LIT UP when I pulled boo k after book for them to pick from out of my bag. The were so happy and it made me glad knowi ng that their love for reading was ignited through our groups!
8th-10th Grade ISU 4U Promise Scholars Visit Campus
On a Saturday in April, nine ISU 4U Promise Scholars, along with family members and/or m entors, came to Iowa State University for a day on campus. 8th grade students from Callanan, Harding, McCombs, and Meredith Middle Schools joined with 9th and 10th grade students from E ast and Roosevelt High Schools for presentations, workshops, a tour of campus, and a chance t o eat in a dining center.

Middle school students and their chaperones attended a presentation by the Office of Admissio ns while high school students heard about Financial Aid. All the students had the opportunity to participate in a Game of Life simulation where they were offered careers based on their ed ucational backgrounds and then had to make their way through a month of expenses with th e salary they would earn. During lunch at the Union Drive Community Center Dining Hall, Loren a San Elias, one of the students in the first ISU 4U Promise cohort on campus this year, shared reflections about her first year at Iowa State. 


(For more photographs from the 8th-10th grade Family Visi t,
check out the Facebook link 
Community Alliance Spotlight:
Erin Valerio-Garsow, GEAR UP Iowa Facilitator, Iowa College A id

I am a GEAR UP Iowa Facilitator at the Iowa College Student Aid Commission in Des Moines. GEAR UP Iowa is a fede ral grant charged with significantly increasing the number of students who are prepared to en ter and succeed in post-secondary education. We work with cohorts in 12 districts across the state of Iowa and I am assigned to work with Fort Dodge, Sioux  City, and Storm Lake. M y role is to support and work to create plans that help students reach higher through educati on.

I was very involved in the beginning of the Community Alliance supporting the ISU 4U Promise. At that time, I worked for Anawim Housing and both King and Moulton were elementary schools i n one of our neighborhood areas. As an educator, it seemed like the perfect fit for an organi zation to get involved in an opportunity to help students move toward a future that included tuition to a world-class university. When I left to go back to the education world, there wa s already a person from GEAR UP Iowa attending the meetings, so I was assigned elsewhere. Thi s winter I was given the opportunity to return to the ISU 4U Promise, and I was very excited. While much of my work focuses on 7th-12th grade, I feel it is incredibly important to support the efforts for early awareness and opportunity for these students. 

The ISU 4U Promise is important because it is a chance for students and families who may not see college as an option to suddenly know that it is. A promise is a very relatable idea for a child, by definition it gives an assurance of something to come in the future. I honestly c an't think of a better promise to make than that of a bright future that includes education a nd care from adults who want to provide the lift. Being part of this alliance makes us all a better and stronger community. 

Business and Engineering Days in the Schools
Two ISU 4U Promise college p artnership programs that have been well established in the schools for several years now invo lve the Ivy College of Busine ss and the College of Engineering.
The College of Business is partne red with the second grade classes, and Sarah Adams, Undergraduate Recruitment Coordinator fac ilitates Cy's Pizzas Pies in the classrooms at King and Moulton. In the activity, the student s work in small groups to imagine their own pizza place. They must work collaboratively to co me up with a name for their restaurant, decide what to have on their pizzas, "purchase" their ingredients, make replicas of their pizzas using Play-Doh, and then try to sell as many of their pizzas as they can.

The College of Engineering's (CoE's) partnership is with the 5th grade. In the spring each ye ar, Camille Schroeder (Community Outreach Programs Manager, CoE) and Nicole Fannin (Program Coordinator for K-12 Community Outreach, CoE) facilitate STEM activities using Lego Mindstorms. Their work with ISEK (Iowa State Engineering Kids) is meant to inspire youth to pursue an education in science and engineering.

ISU Spot light: Deon Hargrove
Graduate Assistant, Admissions and Early Outreach, ISU 4U Promise
What is your background?
I majored in Electrical Engineer ing for my undergraduate education and am studying Computer Engineering for my graduate work.

What is your position at Iowa State University?
I work as a graduate assistant in Admissions and Early Outreach with the ISU 4U Promise.

What attracted you to apply for this position?
I love working with the youth. I strongly believe that it is my and every adult's job to help youth outperform us.

What are you most excited about in this new role?
Working with students and making sure they are aware of all the opportunities they have. To b e able to use my past experiences to guide people towards a better path is, by far, the most rewarding thing there is.
ISU Elem entary Education Students Visit Moulton

Earlier this spring, members of the CI315 Transfer Orientation Class and Future Teachers Future Leaders Learning Community in Iowa State University's School of Education went into the classrooms at Mou lton Elementary to meet, in person, pen pals with whom they had been corresponding this semes ter. During their one on one time together, they read favorite books or wrote a story togethe r about an adventure with Cy, the mascot. (For more photos from the day in the classroom, click here.)
UEP Upda te

The ISU 4U Promise office is abuzz with planning for the fourth annual Mosquitoes & Me Summer Camp!  This year's camp takes plac e at Harding Middle School from June 17-21, and June 24-28.  Fourth and f ifth graders who attend King and Moulton elementary schools in Des Moines will explore t he theme of mosquitoes and public health while gaining experience with authent ic science practices and building collaborative relationships with peers and adults. You th receive guidance from Iowa State University education students who have completed a two-se mester course about mosquito science using ambitious science and diversity pedagogy, as well as from older camp participants who return as near-peer mentors. The Mos quitoes & Me (Mosquitos y Yo) curriculum has been adopted by Walking Palms, a community-based organization serving earthquake-impacted communiti es in rural Ecuador. Representatives from Walking Palms will be guests at this year's summer camp in addition to public health students who will be traveling to Ecuador to ass ist with implementation. These visits are funded by the Global Health In stitute at the University of Wisconsin at Madison (UWM).&nb sp;The summer camp and the course, Teaching and Learning with Insects, are activities of  The Urban Ecosystem Project (UEP).  UEP is a supporting program of the ISU 4U Promise partnership, under the leadership of Katherine Richardson Bruna, and is funded by the National Institutes of Health through a Science Education Partnership Award (more>>).  Richardson Bruna's coll aborator on the UEP work is Lyric Bartholomay, Director of the Midwest Center for Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease at UWM.  To learn more ab out the Mosquitos y Yo work in Ecuador watch this video.

(Pictured above from left to right: Junior pre-service teachers Sela Hanson, Olivia  Astarita, Kaelyn Fairbanks, Sydney Rosenboom, and Ashton Vandersnick. These five participated in the CI441x Teaching and Learning with Insects course implemented by the Urban Ecosystem Pr oject.)
Dr. Christa Jackson, Associate Professor in the School of Education, is inviting ISU 4U P romise students entering 5th, 6th, and 7th grades to participate in the 2019 STEM InCyte Camp at Iowa State University. The day camp is designed to engage students in hands-on STEM explor ation activities. The camp takes place June 10-14th on the Iowa State campus from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. Lunch and snacks are provided for each participant. Cost is $25 for ISU 4U Pro mise students and scholarships are available. Registration is now open at

Questions? Contact Dr. Jackson at or 515.294.4519. 

Special Recognitions
  • Steph anie Schneider (pictured at right), Urban Ecosystem Project Graduate Resear ch Assistant and long-time ISU 4U Promise supporter, received a scholarship in recognition of her work from the Des Moines Women's Club.
  • Founding Director and ISU 4U Promise Professor-in-Charge, Dr. Katherine Richardson Bruna, was invited to give a presentation to the Iowa Academy of Education on April 26th, 2019 to contribute to their meeting theme of "Education as a Public Good." He r presentation, "Partnering in Place: The ISU 4U Promise of College Access and Affordabil ity" described the unique history and features of the ISU 4U Promise that make it s tand out among other promise programs on the national college access landscape.
  • Dr. Kent Kerby, Assistant Dean in the Colle ge of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was selected to receive the 2019 Learning Communities Collab orator Award. This award honors an individual in the Iowa State community who has demonstrate d the spirit of learning communities through collaboration.  In addition to being an act ive participant in discussions around learning communities within the College of LAS, Kent be came personally invested in the ISU 4U Promise cohort that was developed into a learning comm unity experience for the 2018-2019 academic year. Kent met with the ISU 4U Promise students d uring the fall semester, provided outreach to the cohort and secured funding for tutoring sup port for the students as they transitioned to university life. In his pursuit of reaching out to the ISU 4U Promise students, he demonstrated his intention to support learning for student s both within and outside of the College of LAS.  
Volunteer Opportun ities
(If interested in any of the following opportunitie s, please contact Shari Miller - or 515.294.4144)

: King Elementary, 1849 Forest Avenue, Des Moines
Time: Shift 1 (3rd-5th graders) - 8:30 am - 10:45 am, Shift 2 (K-2nd grader s) - 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Description: ISU volunteers (students, staff, or faculty) are invited t o facilitate one of the stations through which the students will be rotating. You are we lcome to come to one or both of the shifts.
: Moulton Elementary, 1541 8th Street, Des Moines
Time: 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
Description: ISU volunteers (students, staff, or faculty) are invited to com e down, have a presence, and hang out with the ISU 4U Promise Moulton students and staff!

Location: King Elementary, 1849 Forest Avenue, Des Moines
Time: Arrive between 10:30-11:00 am. 
Description: Come join King staff, families, and community members as they "clap out" the students as they leave the building on the last day of school. Fist bumps and high fives are encouraged! (Open to ISU students, staff, and faculty, as well as Communit y Alliance members and others from the community!)

: 8th Street & College Avenue in Des Moines 
Time: 12:00 - 4:30 pm
Description: Sponsored by CFUM (Children and Family Urban Movement), this an nual event is full of music, games, activities, dancing, and food for youth and families. (Open to ISU volunteers [students, staff, or faculty] as well as ISU organization s, departments, or clubs interested in offering interactive activities or games for the youth and families.)
For more information about the ISU 4U Promise, check us out a t!

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