SOE

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. 

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.

School of Education assistant professor awarded Paul R. Pintrich Outstanding Dissertation Award

Amanda Baker, assistant professor in the Iowa State University School of Education, has been awarded the Paul R. Pintrich Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Educational Psychology division of the American Psychological Association.

Baker’s doctoral dissertation, titled “Epistemic Profiles, Dissonance Negotiation, and Perspective Transformation in Postsecondary Service-Learning,” discusses her research on service learning programs — programs that combine community service with instruction — and how student beliefs about knowledge and the need to draw quick conclusions predicted individual outcomes in those programs.

“Service learning programs often aim to help students develop more complex and socially just understandings of issues like poverty, educational inequality, healthcare inequality, and so on,” Baker said in her dissertation. “But that hinges on students being willing to grapple with ideas that might conflict with closely-held beliefs.”

Using a method called latent profile analysis to identify patterns of beliefs and motivation, Baker found that students who thought of knowledge as “simple, certain, and passed down from authority figures and who desired quick conclusions” did not experience the ‘belief change’ that is desired in service-learning programs.

These beliefs and motivations can stem from past experiences, and had an impact on how students engaged in the service-learning process.

“By interviewing students with different patterns of epistemic beliefs/motivation, I found that some students didn’t change their beliefs because, when their beliefs were in conflict with things they learned in class, they were more likely to use strategies that helped them disengage or avoid thinking about that conflict,” Baker said.

“Long-term, I think this has implications for thinking about how we prepare students to engage in and learn from high-impact educational experiences,” Baker said.

New tenured/tenure-track faculty announced

As the new academic year begins, the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences announces four tenure-track faculty members who have joined the faculty in 2018. 

All aiming to expand human potential and improve people's lives, their expertise ranges from educational technology to safe food packaging to sustainable functional apparel to how genes are expressed and effect disease.

Iowa State University’s Science Bound program honored for inspiring STEM

Today, the Science Bound program at Iowa State University was honored for inspiring and encouraging a new generation of underrepresented students to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — STEM.

Science Bound received a 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, a publication that focuses on diversity and inclusion in higher education. The honor recognizes Science Bound as a model for other institutions.

Research on game-based learning reveals middle schoolers are motivated differently

As more teachers integrate game play into the curriculum to increase engagement among students, new research by Iowa State University scholars provides guidance for which types of games may be most appropriate.

Checking out STEM at the local library

Ames families can soon go to the library to check out new kits made by Iowa State University students that contain hands-on activities aimed at teaching young children more about science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and literacy.

College of Human Sciences to recognize graduating seniors at spring convocation

The Iowa State University College of Human Sciences will recognize the accomplishments of nearly 650 graduating students in a series of events on May 4 and 5.

Dean and Dean’s Chair Laura Dunn Jolly will join department chairs in individually recognizing students receiving bachelor’s degrees at the college’s undergraduate convocation, 1 p.m. Friday, May 4 at James H. Hilton Coliseum. A reception for graduating students of all levels will immediately follow the convocation, at about 2:30 p.m. in the Scheman Building, first-floor lobby. The reception is open to all.

The all-university undergraduate commencement ceremony has been divided in two shorter events that are more meaningful for graduating students and their guests. College of Human Sciences undergraduates will be recognized at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5 at James H. Hilton Coliseum, along with those in the engineering and design colleges; other undergraduates will celebrate earlier that morning at Hilton as well. Graduate students in the College of Human Sciences will be recognized at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 3 at James H. Hilton Coliseum.

Six graduating seniors — Morgan Bahl in nutritional science and dietetics; Cassidy Bilharz in elementary education; Emily Clark in apparel, merchandising, and design; Evelyne Guay in kinesiology and health; Mary Kirk in child, adult, and family services; and Jenna Petersen in kinesiology and health — will receive special honors at the College of Human Sciences’ spring 2018 convocation.

Morgan Bahl of Carpentersville, Illinois, is representing the College of Human Sciences as the University Marshal at the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. She is graduating summa cum laude with bachelor’s degrees in nutritional science and dietetics and a minor in Spanish. Bahl has provided nutrition and food safety educational outreach to Iowans as a Heddleson Intern and evaluated the impact of a statewide ISU Extension wellness newsletter as a Louise Rosenfeld Undergraduate Research Intern. She has served others as programming chair of the Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Club at Iowa State, a residential treatment mentor at Youth and Shelter Services in Ames, and a peer mentor for the ISU food science and human nutrition learning community. Bahl has accepted a dietetic internship at Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan, and plans to become a registered dietitian and earn a master’s degree in counseling.

Cassidy Bilharz of Charles City, Iowa, is one of three students receiving the Dean’s Recognition Award. She is graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching endorsements in K-6 elementary classroom, K-12 English as a second language, and K-8 reading. Prepared as a standout educator who is grounded in equity and inclusion, Bilharz participated in an elective course on teaching science with insects where she developed lessons and co-taught 20 ethnically-diverse youth from high-poverty schools in Des Moines. As a result, she was asked to join the ISU 4U Promise research team as an instructional strategies specialist and successfully led an after-school program at King Elementary School. She has accepted a job teaching first grade in the Hampton-Dumont Community School District.

Emily Clark of Lincoln, Nebraska, is also receiving the Dean’s Recognition Award. She is graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in apparel, merchandising, and design and emphases in creative and technical design. An innovative scholar, Clark enhanced The Fashion Show by organizing the show’s first livestream broadcast in 2017, and helping secure Patagonia as the guest designer in 2018. She has enriched the learning of others as a teaching assistant in digital textile printing and patternmaking classes. A tenured member of the Iowa State University Football “Varsity” Marching Band, Emily was mellophone captain for two years. After graduation, Clark will serve as an assistant technical designer at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Evelyne Guay of Oakville, Ontario, Canada is the College Marshal. She is graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health, emphasizing pre-medical studies. A competitive student athlete, Guay was captain of the ISU women’s cross-country and track teams while excelling in the classroom, the lab, and the community. She also led her peers as co-president of the ISU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a team leader for the “ExerCYse is Medicine” student organization. As a research assistant, she gathered clinical data on older adults and investigated nicotinamide riboside supplementation and vascular function. She has interviewed at several medical schools and anticipates offers of admission later in May, for enrollment in the fall. 

Mary Kirk of Davenport, Iowa, is the final student receiving the Dean’s Recognition Award. She is graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in child, adult, and family services and a minor in sociology. As president of the Human Development and Family Studies Club, Kirk grew the organization’s membership and ensured the meetings were illuminating, inclusive, and community-oriented. As a Rosenfeld Intern, she became the only undergraduate lead coder of family interactions for a large-scale, longitudinal research project. She served as the undergraduate student-recruitment intern in the College of Human Sciences and a student associate with the ISU admissions office. Kirk recently accepted Iowa State’s offer of admission to the student affairs graduate program in the School of Education.

Jenna Petersen of Pine Island, Minnesota, is the spring 2018 College of Human Sciences Graduating Student of the Year. She is graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health. As a Human Sciences Week co-chair, Petersen orchestrated the creation of successful events. She developed a wellness involvement booklet for employees during her internship at the ISU Foundation. As a Peer Wellness Educator with ISU Student Wellness, Petersen facilitated five presentations on alcohol, sleep, and stress. She assisted with ongoing research in the CydeKicks Peer Health Coaching program which led her to present preliminary findings at a national conference in Oklahoma. After graduation, Petersen will intern at Album Health in Des Moines as a health coach. She also will attend graduate school in integrated health and coaching at the University of Minnesota.

Experience of black doctoral students underscores need to increase diversity in STEM fields

The danger and risk of riding out a storm is symbolic of the decision black men make to pursue a graduate degree in engineering. They do so knowing they will face challenges, but the barriers described by black men who shared their experiences as part of a six-year study show how race was a greater obstacle than they expected.

See the complete story by the ISU News Service.

Transforming teachers’ learning environments with emerging technologies

Evrim Baran, an Iowa State University alumna known worldwide for applying technology to improve teaching and learning, returned to Iowa State this spring as a faculty member.

Baran, who received her doctorate from Iowa State in 2011, joined the School of Education as an associate professor in educational technology. Her research brings together educational technology, teacher education, and human computer interaction (HCI).