Graduate Student Profiles

Maria Alcívar Zúñiga

Maria Alcívar Zúñiga knows what it's like to live undocumented in the U.S., so she is utilizing her education and research to positively impact immigrant families.

Leidys Gutierrez-Martinez

Leidys Gutierrez-Martinez became a practicing physician in Colombia before coming to Iowa State University to research cardiovascular health under associate professor of kinesiology, Duck-Chul Lee.

Mark Bollom

Mark Bollom has always wanted to know why things are happening the way they are. At Iowa State, he's able to work toward answering those questions, while participating in impactful research on bigels and probiotics.

Dariana Glasco-Boyd

Dariana Glasco-Boyd became interested in student affairs after earning her bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology. She decided she wanted to become a faculty member in a student affairs program to help Hispanic students while speaking their primary language.

Jenny Phan

Through an encouraging adviser, personal ties, and a bold leap, Jenny Phan became an emerging researcher with a prestigious fellowship at Iowa State University.

Alyssa Hanson

Alyssa Hanson has always appreciated art. After coming to Iowa State to pursue her graduate degree, she discovered a deep interest in art education.

Natasha Peterson

Natasha Peterson finds solace in gerontology studies as a graduate student after the death of her grandmother.

Gabrielle Woods

Gabrielle Woods has been impacted by Alzheimer's disease in her personal life, and that pushed her even closer to studying gerontology. Read about how the gerontology master's program has led Gabrielle to a future career of helping others through hardships.

Amanda Bries

Amanda Bries has been with Iowa State since the beginning of her undergraduate degree in dietetics — now, she's nearing earning her doctorate in nutritional sciences. Read about how Amanda has taken advantage of numerous research opportunities to reach her goal of becoming a scientist.

Maria Perez

Maria Perez went from majoring in theater arts as an undergraduate to pursing a PhD in kinesiology with a focus in exercise psychology. She's now passionate about informing others about the mental health benefits of being active.

Dyese Matthews

Dyese Matthews has been fascinated by fashion since she was a young girl watching her mother get dressed. Now a master's of science student, she focuses on researching the influence of Black fashion and American history with the end goal of being a professor and entrepreneur.

Maria Espino

Maria Espino hopes to work as a faculty member at a research institution after she graduates with her Ph.D. When she isn't studying, Maria likes to journal and plan, listen to music, and go to the gym. 

Steven Waddell

Steven Waddell hopes to one day run his own college. In his free time Steven enjoys photography, writing, video games, basketball, and being vegan. 

Emily Parent

Emily Parent intends to use her degree to work on her weight management program full time. When she isn't studying, she enjoys going for a run, cooking, and relaxing on the lake with friends and family.

Gina Lee

After earning her master’s degree and Ph.D. in gerontology, Gina Lee wants to work at a research institution. During her free time, you can find her dancing, watching movies, or Instagraming.

Lauren Stratton

Lauren Stratton sees herself doing research, programming, and/or policy work for an organization devoted to helping older adults and their caregivers after graduation. In her spare time now, she stays active at her church, does community theater, and plays with her two bunnies.

Carter Reed

Carter Reed wants to use his doctoral degree to eventually teach university students. During his time outside of class and lab work, he enjoys playing sports, reading books, playing guitar, and hanging out with friends.

Hannah Dannewitz

Hannah Dannewitz looks forward to working in long-term care administration after she graduates. Until she enters the industry, she enjoys spending time cooking, binge watching TV, and spending time with her dog, Kaia.

Peiyi Lu

Peiyi Lu hopes to use her doctorate in gerontology to be a researcher after she graduates. For now, Peiyi enjoys spending her time exercising, watching TV, and traveling.

Katie Anthony

Katie Anthony wants to be a professor at a research institution to continue researching and teaching. When she isn't balancing the many responsibilities of a Ph.D. student, she enjoys reading and traveling back to her hometown to see her family and her dogs.

Chloe Steffensmeier

Chloe Steffensmeier hopes to one day use her master's degree in gerontology to work for the Department on Aging. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.

Olivia Diggs

Olivia Diggs wants to become a tenured professor at an R1 teaching and research academic institution. Between research projects, Olivia finds time to kayak, attend concerts, and support her siblings in their sporting and music activities.

Jess Alley

Jess Alley hopes to open her own business collaborating her education with her love for the outdoors. When she isn't studying, she enjoys running, climbing, and backpacking.

Emily McKnight

Emily McKnight aspires to be an author, certified dating/relationship coach, and a tenured professor. When she isn't studying, she enjoys spending quality time with her family.

Randie D. Camp

Randie D. Camp plans to help others through her graduate degree. When she isn’t studying or working on research, she enjoys reading young adult novels, being ridiculously silly with  her son, or watching a Marvel movie.