Ashley Jones pursues her passion for entrepreneurship

As an undecided freshmen at Iowa State, Ashley Jones didn’t know exactly where she wanted her adventure to take her. She did know that she wanted to launch her own business.

“I’ve always wanted to start my own business,” said Jones. “My parents have a business together and that’s encouraging. My grandma had her own art studio, so she’s a role model too.”

 The “creative aspects, the planning, of the event and being organized” elements of the event management major drew her to pursue the profession of planning important events and gatherings.

Now a senior, Jones has a double major in event management and marketing with a minor in entrepreneurial studies. Jones will graduate this spring, but instead of sending out resumes, Jones will continue to build the start-up business plans she initiated while here at Iowa State.

Swoon Event Studio will be an online platform. Anyone planning an event can use the online features to design their own personal tablescapes and rent those items all in one location.

Jones credits Linda Niehm, a professor in apparel, events, and hospitality management, and Niehm’s AESHM 474: Entrepreneurship in Human Sciences course for helping her take the first steps in starting Swoon Event Studio. 

“That class was the first time I had ever made a business plan," she said. "That was also the first time I ever did a pitch.”

Niehm will be the first to tell you that AESHM 474 is a unique class that gives students like Jones more opportunities to build on their business ideas.

“Some of the others [classes] certainly give you pieces of very solid information, and maybe help you to initially see, ‘Well, what would it take for a minimally viable idea,’” said Niehm. “But here [AESHM 474] we’re saying, ‘Let’s take that and really map it out and research it deeply’ — and it’s focused on human sciences related businesses.”

Niehm said the course complimented Jones’s desire to start her own business.

“Her work ethic is incredible," Niehm said. "She’s very mature, she’s open to giving advice to other students, and she has passion. She’s kind of like the perfect package.”

AESHM 474 was one of many resources Jones utilized while at Iowa State. She worked with CyStarters, a competitive 10-week summer accelerator where Iowa State students can work with expert mentors to develop their own business ideas. She also won the 2018 ISU Innovation Pitch Competition.

“She doesn’t miss an opportunity to share and pitch about her idea,” said Niehm.

Running a business while still in college isn’t a perfect formula. Time is a constant challenge that Jones runs into while juggling her responsibilities.

“Prioritizing my time [between] classes, working on Swoon — I also co-founded a food publication called Cardinal Eats at Iowa State,” said Jones. “That pretty much takes up my time.”

Despite the time crunch, Jones wouldn’t want her senior year any other way.

“I’ll be way more ahead than if I’m starting from scratch when I graduate,” Jones said.

“I just have a clearer path.”

Jones is putting the finishing touches on the website, but anyone can join the mailing list for updates and event planning tips at the following link:


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.  (more…)

Embracing diversity to shape distinctive career trajectories

To thrive in a fast-changing world, students must understand the many facets of diversity, which stem from a wide range of life circumstances and experiences. Catch a glimpse of just a few of the thousands of students who are embracing various aspects of diversity to develop their own unique and promising career paths.

Preparing students for a global workforce

“Research shows that most recent college graduates who have studied abroad believe their international experience contributed to a job offer,” said Erin French, director of the college’s international programs. “Students also report increases in skill sets, from intercultural competence and curiosity to self-awareness and flexibility.”

Studying abroad in Ireland, “opened my eyes to how other people live, and showed me that what is normal to me, isn’t necessarily someone else’s normal,” said Natalie Nelson, a senior in kinesiology and health. “I was forced to be independent, which helped me grow as a person.”

In the five years since 2012-13, the number of human sciences students participating in study abroad has more than doubled, from 60 to 146, thanks in part to generous alumni.

“Scholarships help make these opportunities more affordable — and therefore more accessible — to students,” French said. “They really make a difference.”

Accommodating diverse dietary needs530417790

Alumna Kallen Anderson learned how to meet the dietary needs of people with diverse food allergies and other medical conditions when double-majoring in family and consumer sciences education and studies and dietetics. Knowing how to modify food ingredients to protect and improve the health of each unique individual opened doors for her after graduation in 2014. Now, as a registered dietitian in the Special Diet Kitchen at ISU Dining, she serves more than 40 students with distinctly different nutritional needs.

Supporting veterans and military families

956729762Denise Williams-Klotz, Iowa State’s assistant director of multicultural student affairs who received her doctorate from the School of Education in 2015, is an advocate for student success. She’s focused her research on the experiences and academic success of student veterans, military personnel, and their family members who face unique challenges transitioning to a university setting. Many of the 957 Iowa State students receiving military education benefits find 360-degree support at the Veterans Center in the Memorial Union.

Helping older adults stay wellhelping older adults

Age diversity is a key consideration when promoting health. From birth to life’s end, our wellness needs constantly change. Ryan True, a senior in kinesiology and health, is preparing to start a business called “Full Circle Wellness,” to provide health services for older adults focusing on eight dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational, intellectual, financial and environmental. True spent his summer in CYstarters, Iowa State’s 10-week accelerator to help him grow his startup.

Opening opportunities for underrepresented groups

Kennesha Woods3Iowa State’s 2018 NSCORE-ISCORE Brenda Jones Change Agent Award went to Kennesha Woods for improving understanding of race and ethnicity and creating positive change in the community as a parole officer, a youth residential officer, and a special education teacher. The first-generation college student graduated from Iowa State in 2011 in child, adult, and family services. She is now working toward a doctorate in the School of Education and preparing to further influence systems and policies in ways that open up opportunities for underrepresented groups.


Kin Collective builds community to overcome isolation

After graduating from Hoover High School in Des Moines, one of the most ethnically diverse schools in Iowa, Kendra McGhee came to Iowa State University and experienced culture shock.

About 13 percent of Iowa State’s student body of more than 36,000 are students of color. McGhee said being surrounded by white people made her feel isolated.

“It’s really wearing not seeing people that look like you, or people that you can relate to,” she said. “In my classes, people would talk over me or they wouldn’t listen to my ideas."

Today, McGhee has not only overcome her fear — she’s become a leader among her peers. The senior in kinesiology and health is president of The Kin Collective, a new group that is building a stronger sense of community among students of color.

McGhee thanks her friends for helping her become comfortable in her own skin. She thanks programs like Science Bound, a scholarship program for multicultural students, for making sure she has appropriate resources. And she thanks kinesiology professor Warren Franke for creating a welcoming environment at Iowa State.

“He’s just very cognizant of his social identity and how that can affect other people with different social identities,” McGhee said. “Having interactions with people like that really helped me grow as a person.”

Faculty and students in kinesiology — dedicated to promoting physical activity, health, and well-being — say they recognize diversity is lacking in their field. The Kin Collective is one way they are working to address the issue. The group is the brainchild of Franke and graduate student Markus Flynn, a former president of the ISU Black Student Alliance and recipient of Iowa State’s 2016-2017 Brenda Jones Change Agent award.

“We felt that this organization could fill a void that the department was missing,” said Flynn, who along with Franke advises the group.

McGhee said The Kin Collective reduces isolation by fostering friendships, offering students the chance to provide and receive support, and creating safe spaces to share life’s ups and downs.

McGhee said recognizing that we each have privileges, advantages, and disadvantages as part of our social identity — and can each serve as advocates or allies — can help all students.

“It’s very important that everyone feels accepted and appreciated and valued,” she said. “We’re still treating people unfairly based on one part of who they are. There’s no reason for there to be marginalized groups — that’s a social construct that we created just to divide ourselves. Nothing is really accomplished if we’re divided.”


Iowa State prepares scholar who researches sexually diverse adults

Iowa State University recognizes that preparing students as next-generation scholars in an increasingly diverse and global society means encouraging them to explore opportunities off campus and around the world.

In Ames, the support Ashley Taylor received as a doctoral student in human development and family studies allowed her to survey more than 700 Iowa State students who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or part of another sexual minority for her dissertation.

But Iowa State also provide Taylor the opportunity to attend the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the University of Amsterdam, and intern with the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. Those experiences gave her the chance to impact policies relating to diversity and inclusion, and improve the lives of those who identify as LGBTQ+.

"At Iowa State, I was exposed to other ways of thinking which was very helpful," Taylor said. "I was always encouraged to seek opportunities outside of the university if I needed to. Without those opportunities, especially the internship at the Human Rights Campaign, I would not be where I am today."

When Taylor came out as a lesbian to her parents at 19, their reaction was unexpectedly negative. She started to take notice of the impact of parental reactions when her peers came out, and wondered about the influence of family on LGBTQ+ individuals. Taylor also began looking at micro-aggressions — unintentional or intentional slights against a person because of others' biases.

"Over time, these experiences accumulate and they negatively impact people in ways they may not understand at the time," she said.

Today, Taylor is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre at the University of British Columbia. Her research continues to focus on sexual minority young adults including: transgender youth health, safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth, and how gay/straight alliances impact student well-being.

She thanks Iowa State and her major professor, Tricia Neppl, for the encouragement that led to worldwide opportunities in her field that she never imagined.

"To be competitive for an international job, it helps to be able to show you can work with individuals from a diverse background," she said.


First-generation student finds ‘home’ at Iowa State, future in kinesiology

Alejandro Martinez is a first-generation student that never intended on going to college.

But after going through Upward Bound, a college preparatory program for first-generation and/or income-eligible high school students, and earning the Multicultural Vision Program award, Martinez will graduate from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health. 

“I’m a first-generation student, so I hope to inspire others in my community and make an impact, leave a legacy behind,” Martinez said. 

Read the full story on the ISU News Service website.


College of Human Sciences to recognize graduating seniors at fall convocation

The Iowa State University College of Human Sciences will recognize the accomplishments of the graduating class of fall 2018 in a series of events on Dec. 14 and 15.

Dean and Dean's Chair Laura Jolly and department chairs will individually recognize students receiving bachelor’s degrees at the college’s undergraduate convocation at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium. A reception honoring graduating students will immediately follow the college convocation. The reception will begin at approximately 3 p.m. on the ground and first-floor of C.Y. Stephens Auditorium.

The university wide commencement ceremony has been split into two separate events. The graduate commencement ceremony is at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 in Hilton Coliseum. The undergraduate commencement ceremony is at 1:30 p.m. Saturday Dec. 15 in Hilton Coliseum. 

Six graduating students — Melanie Nesbitt in elementary education; Emily Bormann in family and consumer sciences education and studies; Megan Greenlee in event management; Kaeleen Jenkins in kinesiology and health; LuJing “Lulu” Johnson in nutritional sicence; and Nicole Marg in early childhood education — will receive special honors for their scholarship and leadership at the College of Human Sciences’ fall 2018 convocation.

Melanie Nesbitt of Pocahontas is the university marshal. She is graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, along with endorsements in English/Language Arts, math, and reading. At Iowa State, Nesbitt enjoyed helping new students transition to college as a peer mentor while gaining practical classroom experience in various math classes as a teaching assistant. She also remained active in Pocahontas as a coach for the mock trial program and as a counselor and program lead at Twin Lakes Bible Camp. Nesbitt has accepted a teaching position as an 8th grade math teacher at Humbolt Middle School and will begin teaching in January.

Emily Bormann of West Bend is representing the College of Human Sciences as the university marshal. She is graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences education and studies, with the professional studies option. In the summer of 2017, Bormann facilitated youth programming in Woodbury, Plymouth, and Monona counties as a Rising Star intern with ISU Extension and Outreach. She also makes the most of her time at Iowa State as the president of the Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies Club and a member of Phi Upsilon Omicron national honor society. Bormann has accepted an Extension 4-H Assistant position with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension starting in January 2019.

Megan Greenlee of Rockford, Illinois, is one of three students receiving the Dean’s Recognition Award. She is graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in event management. Greenlee is a hard worker who secured internships at the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Prairie Street Brewing Company during her college career. As the executive event coordinator of WinterFest this semester, Greenlee applied her expertise to organize and execute this large-scale event. She also gave much of her free time to help others, volunteering with Ames public library programs and the ISU People to People Career Fair.

Kaeleen Jenkins of Stratford is also receiving the Dean’s Recognition Award. She is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health with the physical education teacher option and a coaching endorsement. Jenkins is a seasoned educator, with experience as a student physical education teacher at Prairie Valley Elementary School in Farnhamville and a physical education paraeducator at Ingleside Primary School in Ingleside, Texas. She received the Ruth and Vincent Mahoney Scholarship for superior academic achievement and has volunteered at Care Initiatives as a Hospice Caregiver. Jenkins plans to substitute teach until she obtains a full-time teaching job near Dayton, Iowa.

LuJing “Lulu” Johnson of Hopkins, Minnesota, is the final student receiving the Dean’s Recognition Award. She completed the Honors Program and is graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in nutritional science with the pre-health professional and research option. Johnson interned at the Hennepin County Medical Center where she observed practicing physicians and learned how certain medical situations should be handled. As a volunteer at Kate Mitchell and Sawyer elementary schools in Ames, Johnson helped teach students how to read, write, and solve math problems. After graduation, Johnson plans to take a gap year to travel, volunteer, and apply for medical school.

Nicole Marg of Hudson, Wisconsin, is the fall 2018 Graduating Student of the Year. She is graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, along with an endorsement in reading. Marg has honed her teaching skills as a practicum student working with children in preschool, second grade, and sixth grade classrooms. This fall, she used those skills to student teach toddlers and kindergarteners in Des Moines and Boone. Marg cared for and educated infants and preschoolers at the Child Development Laboratory School in Ames while also serving as a student ambassador for the College of Human Sciences. Marg will continue her education by studying language in East Asia.

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.

Iowa State University Career Fairs set for September 26

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University will host two career fairs from 12-5 p.m., Wednesday, September 26. The fairs are targeted to Iowa State students but all job seekers are welcome to attend.

The Ivy College of Business, the College of Human Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will host the Business, Industry and Technology Career Fair at Hilton Coliseum. The College of Human Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will also host the People to People Career Fair concurrently in the Scheman Building.

Nearly 300 employing organizations are registered to participate in the career fairs this fall, which drew more than 5,000 attendees last year. (more…)

Iowa State part of $10 million effort to encourage a diverse faculty in STEM fields

Iowa State researchers are part of a national alliance that won a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The alliance will develop programs that increase the diversity and effectiveness of faculty teaching science, technology, engineering, and math. Iowa State's part of the project focuses on working with community colleges to recruit and prepare a diverse group of graduate students for teaching careers at community colleges.

Lorenzo Baber, an associate professor in the School of Education and head of the higher education division is part of Iowa State's grant team, which is led by Craig Ogilvie, an assistant dean for Iowa State’s Graduate College and a Morrill Professor of physics and astronomy. (more…)