Jenny Junker awarded $35,000 scholarship at YMA gala in New York City

At the YMA gala in New York City on Jan. 10, six Iowa State students were honored and awarded scholarships from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund. One of those six students took home the evening's highest honor. 

Haley Haskell applies learning technologies skills in unexpected places

Haley Haskell has made one thing clear: she has no intention becoming a physical education teacher. However, being placed into a physical education class for her learning technologies minor practicum opened her eyes to the numerous ways that technology can help teachers across all disciplines.

A senior in elementary education and graduate of North High School in Des Moines, Haskell had seen her high school transition into using the one-to-one method, where every students gets their own laptop, tablet or other piece of technology. She had also noticed that the teachers at her school lacked the skills to use the technology effectively in their classrooms.

“I knew I wanted to be a teacher and I didn’t want to be in a school that’s one-to-one and not use it effectively,” Haskell said.

This desire to effectively use technology in teaching is the reason Haley decided to pursue a learning technologies minor. The only minor offered in the School of Education, the learning technologies program is a 16-credit minor where students learn how to use and integrate technology into their classrooms. One of the courses is the CI 280B practicum, where students complete 24 hours of field experience in a classroom.

“The minor is primarily [chosen by] elementary education, early childhood education, and secondary education students,” said Denise Crawford, assistant professor of education and director of the Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching. “It’s pretty much a pre-K through grade 12 [teacher-education] minor.”

For her practicum, Haley was placed in a physical education class at St. Cecilia, a private school in Ames. The instructor for the class, Sally Shaver DuBois, a lecturer of kinesiology, received her master’s degree from Iowa State and reached out to the program about finding a student to help out in her class.

“I’ve done some technology things in my physical education classes,” Shaver DuBois said. “I had some ideas and let her [Haley] choose what she wanted to try. We worked together on some projects and I just let her figure out the technology.”

One of the projects that Haskell worked on in Shaver DuBois’s class was using a video delay app to film students working on volleyball skills. Haskell noticed that students weren’t seeing the small mistakes they were making, and filming them offered an opportunity for students to analyze their skills and make improvements based on the video footage they were seeing.

This use of the video delays, along with the use of GIFs and videos for warm-ups have given Shaver DuBois a jump on using technology in new ways, as well as changing up her style of teaching.

“It changes my instruction up a little bit and I can engage the kids in a different way,” Shaver DuBois said.

Next semester, Haskell will be student teaching in a triad with a cooperating teacher and an engineering graduate student so she can get to know the standards for teaching engineering in area schools. Her experience at St. Cecilia has helped her develop her skills and shown her the different ways to incorporate technology across elementary school curriculums. Although Haskell focused on physical education for her practicum, she will apply those concepts to other aspects of elementary education.

“This shows Haley’s versatile thinking on how technology can be used across the pre-K through 6th grade curriculum,” Crawford said.

Branstad scholarship recipients discuss education with state leaders

The Iowa State University School of Education Branstad scholars met with Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Governor Adam Gregg at the Iowa State Capitol on Monday. The students, all elementary education majors, had lunch with the state leaders and ISU School of Education director Marlene Strathe, and discussed their career goals. The group also discussed academic preparation, Iowa’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation System, and the state’s Early Literacy Implementation program.

The 4-year Branstad Scholarship is awarded by the School of Education to one incoming freshman every fall.

Board of Regents approves Doctorate of Education program to start fall 2019

The Iowa Board of Regents has approved the proposed Doctorate of Education program in the School of Education.

The newly approved, 54-credit program aims to prepare educational leaders who can support educational opportunities for all students in education systems from preschool through doctoral education, or “P-20” education. Students who complete the program will be prepared to work as superintendents in preK-12 school districts and as leaders at community colleges or state departments of education as well as in other educational development agencies, such as 4-H and education-centered community non-profit organizations. The degree program will offer two professional tracks so students will focus specifically on community college leadership or on more broadly on P-20 systems-level leadership, according to the official program request.

School of Education faculty members who prepare teachers and leaders to work in higher education and their colleagues who prepare professionals to work in preschools through senior high schools worked together to design the new Ed.D. program.

“The Ed.D program allows us to extend our long-standing commitment to preparing community college leaders while recalibrating the academic experience towards a scholar-practitioner model fully grounded in educational equity,” said Lorenzo Baber, associate professor and division head of higher education in the School of Education. “The collaboration with our colleagues in the division of teaching, learning, leadership and policy represents a movement away from traditional silos in education and towards an integrated P-20 vision.”

Isaac Gottesman, associate professor and division head of teaching, learning, leadership and policy in the School of Education, said “the new degree will enable us to prepare educational leaders who think in systematic ways about the entire P-20 continuum, including the extremely important transitions from P-12 to post-secondary education that often get lost when P-12 and higher education are thought about separately.”

The Doctorate of Education program will be a “cohort-based” program, where program participants will study as a group throughout the three-year, eight-semester degree program. The cohort model is designed to promote a shared learning experience for students, foster development of their professional networks, and encourage dialogue among the emerging leaders that cross arbitrary segmentation within the educational system. Students will also study over two summers. They will finish by writing a dissertation that addresses a “complex problem of practice” within the field of education.

“Building leaders that have knowledge and networks across educational systems has the potential to transform student experiences, institutions, and communities,” Baber said. “This is an exciting development not just for Iowa State University, but for the future of public education across the state and region.” 

“The Ed.D. is a renewal of ISU’s commitment to leading the state and region in the preparation of the next generation of educational leaders,” Gottesman said.

The first cohort will start classes in August 2019. Information about application for the program and deadlines will be available on the School of Education website by Monday, December 3, 2018.

Singing may reduce stress, improve motor function for people with Parkinson’s disease

The results from a recent pilot study done by Iowa State researchers shows that singing may lead to improvements in mood and motor function for people with Parkinson's disease. While the data is only preliminary, assistant professor of kinesiology Elizabeth Stegemöller says that the improvements made from singing are similar to improvements made when taking medication. 

The study, conducted by Stegemöller, Elizabeth "Birdie" Shirtcliff, associate professor of human development and family studies, and graduate student in kinesiology Andrew Zaman, is one of the first to examine how singing affects heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels in people with Parkinson's. The heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels of 17 participants were taken before the singing session, and participants expressed feelings of sadness, anxiety, happiness, and anger. After the singing session, all three levels were reduced. 

Read the full story from the ISU News Service here. 


Study to explore how cognitive development affects later attitudes toward physical activity

Iowa State researchers are working to understand the connection between childhood cognitive development and attitudes toward physical activity. Kinesiology professor Panteleimon "Paddy" Ekkekakis and graduate student Matthew Ladwig believe that the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls emotions, may play a role. 

The prefrontal cortex not only controls emotions, but pushes people to their maximum effort and controls how adults feel about exercising. Since this region is not fully developed in children, it may more difficult for them to control their emotions, and thus have a negative view of exercise, especially if it is difficult. 

Read the complete story by the ISU News Service. 

Vanessa Espinoza finds purpose in giving back to the Latinx community

Fifteen years ago, School of Education graduate student Vanessa Espinoza became a United States citizen. This year, she is being honored as a Latinx leader in Iowa just a few blocks away from where that event occurred. 

Espinoza is set to receive the inaugural Latinx Youth Leadership Award from the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs. After her family moved to Conesville, a town with a majority Latinx population, Espinoza applied for, and later founded her own, scholarships that elevate Latinx youth in her community and others. 

"At awards banquets, you always see the top students getting scholarships – which is well-deserved, but what about students like me? I struggled in high school, academically and personally," she said. "But grades don’t define you. You’re defined by persistence, by grit, by your ability to aguantar."

Read the complete story by the ISU News Service. 

Oscar-nominated costume designer Ruth E. Carter to lecture at Iowa State

Costume designer Ruth E. Carter has more than 40 design credits to her name - the most recent being Marvel's "Black Panther." On Oct. 9, Carter will bring her story, expertise, and vision to Iowa State during her lecture, "A Hollywood Career in Costume Design." The lecture will be held at Stephens Auditorium, and is free and open to the public. Lecture attendees are encouraged to enter Stephens through the west or east door.

Carter has worked in the industry for more than three decade, and is the first African-American costume designer to be nominated for an Academy Award. She is know for her work on period ensemble films, and some of her design credits include Spike Lee's "Malcolm X," Steven Spielberg's "Amistad," and Ava Duvernay's "Selma." 

See the complete story by the ISU News Service. 

Opioid prevention workshop draws 120 community leaders from 30 Iowa counties

AMES, Iowa — One hundred and twenty community leaders from 30 Iowa counties — including mayors, legislative staffers, health agency leaders, and court administrators — attended the “Planning to Take Action against Opioids in Your Community” workshop,  on Wednesday, September 12, from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Ames.

Participants were equipped with community toolkits to assist them in reaching various age groups with substance misuse prevention programming. 

The workshop was hosted by the Iowa State University PROSPER Rx project and supported by a Rural Health and Safety Education grant from the USDA’s National Institute on Food and Agriculture as well as the Midwest Counterdrug Training Center.

“PROSPER” stands for “PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience,” an evidence-based prevention model developed at Iowa State that has been shown to lower rates of substance misuse – including misuse of prescription opioids – among rural youth and young adults.

The PROSPER delivery system links the USDA Extension and Outreach System with public schools and community-based teams to impact risk and protective factors known to influence substance abuse.

Building capacity to combat and prevent opioid misuse is an aim of the PROSPER Rx project at Iowa State, directed by Lisa Schainker, a scientist at the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute in the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State. The project is helping community partners build networks — and will provide coaching support to increase the capacity of Extension and Outreach professionals to build and maintain community prevention systems to combat the opioid epidemic.

Human Development and Family Studies chair Carl Weems named APS fellow

An Iowa State University researcher with expertise in traumatic stress, emotional development, and the intervention and prevention of emotion-related difficulties has joined an elite group of researchers in the field of psychology. Carl Weems, professor and chair of human development and family studies, has been named a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. Fellow status in APS cites Weems for “sustained and outstanding contributions to the advancement of psychological science.”

Weems is a developmental psychologist who applies science to solve real-world problems and improve the human condition. His research has focused on how severe and traumatic stress affects brain development and how to prevent the negative effects of adverse stress in children and youth so they maintain healthy regulation of their emotions and optimum wellness.

Part of his work is exploring the amygdalae and hippocampus — groups of nuclei located within the temporal lobes of the brain that are important to emotion and memory. He is examining how traumatic experiences effect these areas and their interrelation to brain networks involved in detection of salient stimuli, decision making, and emotion regulation. A review and theoretical model of this work is slated to appear in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in 2019.

He is currently working with several Iowa State University colleagues in Human Sciences Extension and Outreach and the Translational Research Network to develop a statewide workshop to actualize trauma-informed practices in the state — including dissemination of intervention techniques that professionals can use to promote resilience in people who have experienced trauma. As the principal investigator of the Child Welfare Research and Training Project, Weems helps lead the development of trauma-informed trainings for Iowa Department of Human Services employees and the deployment of efforts aimed at reducing the incidence and impact of traumatic events such as domestic violence.

Among his recently completed projects is a study funded by the National Science Foundation that integrates cognitive emotional development and computer science to improve cybersecurity. The study examines how emotions, personality, and cognitive styles may help in the detection and prevention of cyber risk — the financial loss, disruption, or damage to the reputation of an organization resulting from a failure of its information systems.

In another paper recently published by the Applied Developmental Science journal, Weems and his colleagues evaluated perceptions of competence and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in children and teens exposed to hurricanes Katrina and Gustav and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. They found that children with higher levels of competence were overall more resilient and had fewer symptoms of post-traumatic symptoms disorder.

The Association for Psychological Science is the leading international organization dedicated to advancing scientific psychology across disciplinary and geographic borders.