Student Sensations Award

Is someone you know a Student Sensation?

We want to honor those students by making them our 2018 Student Sensations! Learn about the nomination process.

2017 Student Sensations

Hannah Astarita

Hannah Astarita

Event Management

Hannah strives to improve people’s lives on a daily basis. Since freshman year, she’s pursued opportunities to lead in all of her activities. As a student in the University Honors Program, Hannah joined the outreach committee, and connected first-year honors students with upper-division honors students. She also became a first-year honors program leader, and worked with her co-leader to design lesson plans and organize events. She served as the social chair and treasurer of her residence hall floor, participated as a Destination Iowa State leader, and continues to be involved in both Event Management Club and Gerontology Club.

Toluwani Awokoya

Toluwani (Tolu) Awokoya

Nutritional Science

Tolu’s college experience centers on his major in nutritional science and his passion for cooking. Tolu is a member of the Culinary Science Club and an ambassador for the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. He has competed in both the Institute of Food Technologists popcorn competition and the Iowa Pork Producers Association Taste of Elegance pork competition, where his team’s smoked and braised pork shoulder won first place. When he isn’t cooking, Tolu has kept busy serving as an international cultural ambassador, a Human Sciences Week chairperson, and a chemistry teaching assistant.

Leah Beman

Leah Beman

Elementary Education

Whether she’s teaching young children or promoting student organizations, Leah is a leader. Her dedication to groups like the National Alliance on Mental Health and Dance Marathon has helped raise awareness and funding for good causes while allowing her to live her passions. In the fall, she will lead ISU’s NAMI chapter as president. Leah loves children and has volunteered in preschool classrooms for ExerCYse is Medicine and Sawyer Elementary. She also co-led fundraising efforts for the Fashion Show. She loves all things design, creating posters and promotions for her causes, and brings her knowledge into the classroom as a teaching assistant.

Brooke Dirks

Brooke Dirks

Athletic Training

Brooke always looks for an opportunity to help others. A junior in athletic training, Brooke supports student athletes and helps balance their busy lives as a mentor for the Student-Athlete Success Center. Before that, she worked as a student trainer and first responder for the ISU Football team. Besides logging 900 hours of clinical experience, Brooke also volunteers for Special Olympics Iowa and participates in the Des Moines Cystic Fibrosis walk. A member of Sigma Kappa sorority, Brooke assists with scholarship and formal recruitment. No matter the activity, Brooke uses her major and her leadership skills to help those around her.

Casey Even

Casey Even

Elementary Education

Casey takes advantage of every opportunity to get involved at Iowa State. She started as a secretary for her residence hall floor, but didn’t stop there. Now, she is a dancer, fundraiser, and family relations committee member for Dance Marathon and an active member of Alpha Phi sorority. Casey received multiple academic scholarships and joined the University Honors Program. She tutors for America Reads America Counts, which helps elementary students in reading and math. As a student admissions representative, Casey gives campus tours and encourages potential Cyclones to follow her lead and get involved.

Haylee Flint-Baker

Haylee Flint-Baker

Child, Adult, and Family Services

Haylee leads by example. As a Hixson Scholar, treasurer of ISU’s Adoption Club, and member of TRIO Student Support Services, Haylee likes to keep busy and help others. In her spare time, she volunteers with Raising Readers of Story County’s Story Pals program, helping preschoolers to read. Besides handling a full courseload, Haylee works as a direct support professional with Mainstream Living Inc., where she helps disabled and dependent adults transition to independent living. On top of her on- and off-campus involvement, Haylee will earn her family life educator’s certificate and graduate one year early with a degree in child, adult, and family services.

Maranda Hahn

Maranda (Randi) Hahn

Kinesiology and Health

Randi learned the importance of leadership and service at an early age. While serving children in St. Louis and Burkina Faso, Africa, she discovered the joy in serving others wholeheartedly. She’s forever true to Iowa State, leading orientation groups as a Cyclone Aide, informing members of Delta Gamma fraternity as a vice president for member education, and serving on the Homecoming Central Committee’s Student Alumni Leadership Council. She also brought Human Sciences Week to life as a student co-chair. Randi aspires to pursue a career in either osteopathic or chiropractic medicine.

Madeleine Kiepura

Madeleine Kiepura

Culinary Food Science

Madeleine brings her two great loves — food and people — to her Iowa State adventure. She has served the Culinary Science Club as secretary and webmaster, is a peer mentor for the food science and human nutrition learning community, and is a multi-semester dean’s list winner. As music chair of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, she’s led the singing of more than 150 chapter songs. Madeleine studied French cuisine and culture in northern France and represented Iowa State at the Agriculture Future of America’s Food Institute. She enjoys meeting new people. As a student admissions representative, Madeleine has shared Iowa State with countless future Cyclones.

Janelle Madsen

Janelle Madsen

Elementary Education

Janelle is a born leader. She served as a peer mentor for the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers Learning Community, where she mentored first-semester freshmen while they adjusted to college and their major. She worked with two mentees to create literacy-based lesson plans, which were used for an outreach event at the Ames Public Library. She also traveled to a first-grade classroom in Omaha to encourage students from low-income families to attend college. Besides peer mentoring, Janelle was the alumni relations chair for Gamma Phi Beta sorority, and served on the family relations committee for Dance Marathon. Janelle forges meaningful relationships wherever she goes.

Catherine Rudolph

Catherine (Cat) Rudolph

Diet and Exercise

Cat makes an impact in every organization she participates in. As a member of Alpha Delta Pi, she served as historian and put together a 15-minute musical with other chapters as a Varieties co-chair. In Dance Marathon, Cat holds positions as a dancer relations committee member and the family relations executive co-director. In addition to raising awareness of pediatric illness, she volunteers for the SHOP food pantry, ACCESS home, the Linus Project, various charity 5Ks, and more. Cat was named Service Woman of the Year by the Collegiate Panhellenic Council in spring 2016. She dreams of applying her passion for helping others in the Peace Corps.

Megan Slattery

Megan Slattery

Nutritional Science

Megan has a passion for people — getting to know them, helping them, and relating to them. She’s always finding new ways to reach out and contribute. As a community adviser for her residence hall, she knows how inspiring and life-changing it can be to connect with others. In addition to overseeing the well-being of her fellow residents, Megan took care of incoming students and their families as a Cyclone Aide. A communicator at heart, Megan proudly represents Iowa State as a Human Sciences ambassador and a student admissions representative. She’s also a Cardinal Leadership Scholar and a member of the Human Sciences Honors Program.

Monica Thornton

Monica Thornton

Dietetics

Monica is continually sharing her time and talents. Driven by a desire to help others, she’s already using her dietetics major to improve people’s lives. Monica has planned and prepared meals at the American Diabetes Association’s kids’ camp, coordinated volunteers for ISU’s campus food pantry (the SHOP), and honed her foodservice skills at multiple venues. A former peer mentor for the food science and human nutrition learning community, Monica dedicates herself to giving others a boost. Since her freshman year, she has mentored students in The Navigators campus ministry group. Monica is also an active member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.

Caleb Townsend

Caleb Townsend

Kinesiology and Health

Caleb’s desire to help others shapes his college experience. After realizing his passion for working with people, Caleb declared a major in kinesiology and health to become a doctor. He earned his CNA certification and traveled to Kenya for a medical mission trip to improve access to healthcare and quality of life. In March, he did the same thing in Jamaica for a service-oriented spring break. A member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Caleb collaborates on the philanthropy committee to raise awareness and donations for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. When Caleb sets goals, he reaches them, and positively impacts those around him in the process.

Jill Vanderhoof

Jill Vanderhoof

Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies

Jill can’t wait to bring an open mind and a positive attitude to her future classroom. Her involvement in her major reflects a desire to educate her students and herself. Jill is a College of Human Sciences Student Council representative for the ISU Education Association Club and the Family and Consumer Sciences Club. Her job as a childcare associate for the United Community School District and her certifications in coaching, CPR, and first aid help prepare her for teaching success. When she isn’t studying, Jill volunteers for The Linus Project, Holding Tiny Hands, and Adopt-A-Child Ames. Her passion to do well extends far beyond the classroom.

Kelly Verburgt

Kelly Verburgt

Dietetics

Kelly is on a mission to feed the hungry. As a student assistant, she works on various nutritional programs for ISU Extension and Outreach. Kelly assists in teaching families across Iowa about health and budgeting with the “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy.” program. The “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” program lets her both test and create family-friendly recipes that are distributed throughout Iowa. She is also the president for the SHOP food pantry, a volunteer for the Heartland Senior Services’ kitchen, and a Student Dietetics Association member. Ever since she discovered her passion for dietetics, Kelly has worked nonstop to improve her community’s health.

Head over to our archive to view our previous Student Sensations.