2016-17 Featured Students

The Cultural Ambassador Program (May 2017)

More than 300 ISU students embark on a new adventure each semester without leaving the grounds of campus.

These students participate in the International Students and Scholars Office's (ISSO) Cultural Ambassador Program. The program pairs an international student with a domestic student, allowing the domestic student to help the international student become more immersed in the Iowa State adventure.

"American students are there to have conversations in English with international students," said Shelby Smith, senior in public relations and student assistant for the Cultural Ambassador Program. "They will answer any questions about U.S. culture, academic experience and rules and regulations of school. The international Cultural Ambassador is able to share their home culture and traditions with the American Cultural Ambassador, as well."

Two ISU students who participated this spring in the program are Maggie Jennett, senior in criminal justice from Ames, Iowa, and Yu-Wen Chen, a graduate student pursuing her doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from Taichung, Taiwan. More


Kinosol (April 2017)

As student entrepreneurs, the founding members of KinoSol have not only experienced growth in their educational studies at Iowa State, but also through growing a business that is enabling communities to thrive around the world.

In 2014, Clayton Mooney, Elise Kendall, Ella Gehrke and Mikayla Sullivan (pictured in order to the right), all global resource systems majors at Iowa State, formed a team for the Thought For Food Challenge and came up with the idea of dehydration in response to the challenge of feeding the growing world population. The team took second in the competition, and KinoSol was founded.

During the competition, the team brainstormed the name, "KinoSol," which is a combination of the word "kinetics," symbolizing the portability of the dehydration units, and the word "sol," for its solar-powered component.

KinoSol’s company mission is “to decrease post-harvest loss in the most sustainable way possible.” The team has accomplished this by offering a mobile dehydrator for fruits, vegetables, insects and grains that increases food preservation and requires no electricity – making it usable anywhere in the world. More


Kevin Garcia (March 2017)

Kevin Garcia, sophomore studying business and hospitality management, is seeking unique ways to nourish people in his pursuit of owning a farm to table restaurant.

After graduating high school in Los Angeles, Garcia followed in his sister’s footsteps to attend Iowa State University. At the time, he wanted to become an athletic trainer. Garcia soon realized that his true passion was in cooking. 

“I had been cooking for most of my life,” Garcia said. It was this realization that led him to study culinary arts at the Art Institute back home in Los Angeles. 

After finishing culinary school, Garcia (featured center in photo) got a job as a line cook for Nobu, a Japanese restaurant with more than 30 restaurants worldwide. When Nobu first opened in 1995, it won "Best New Restaurant" from the James Beard Awards, known as the "Oscars of food." Since its beginning, Nobu has continued its award winning performance. It was this position that inspired Garcia to want to open a farm to table restaurant. More


Rejuvafruit (February 2017)

The journey in following a passion is one of discovery, challenge, patience and steadfast focus. Four Iowa State students have stirred passions to make a positive impact on the community.

Heidi Kalb, junior, Emily Zagula, senior, Paige Myers, senior and Katherine Cummings, senior, all studying global resource systems, turned their passion for food security into Rejuvafruit -- an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the impacts of food waste and enhancing opportunities for reducing waste and decreasing hunger.

“Nearly one third of all food produced goes to waste,” Kalb said. “That’s a lot of food, inputs, time and money that is lost in a world where not everyone has enough to eat.”

Rejuvafruit was established in 2015 when these students became a team at Iowa State to compete in the national Thought for Food Challenge. They were tasked to come up with a solution that would feed 9 billion people by 2050. Their solution was to take overripe or “ugly” fruits and dehydrate them to give them a longer shelf life. Not only did they envision a solution, they passionately pursued it. More


Shelby Ullrich (December 2016)

The holiday season sparks a spirit of generosity in many individuals, whether through exchanging presents, giving an extra donation to a local charity or volunteering time to help those in need. For ISU senior majoring in sociology and active member of the Greek Community and Pi Beta Phi, Shelby Ullrich, the spirit of generosity burns brightly year-round.

In 2015, the Greek Community collectively spent more than 61,000 hours volunteering, an average of 14 hours per community member, and an overall monetary value of more than $1.3 million dollars. Ullrich's contributions to this impressive generosity went well beyond the average, totaling 450 hours — the highest individual commitment of any community member.

"My biggest motivation to donate my time is the people I get to spend time with," said Ullrich. " The reason I spend time serving people is to ensure that they know they are precious and worthwhile!" More


Love Your Melon Campus Crew (November 2016)

Impact and change is often reflected in something as simple as a smile. When we reflect upon how we have contributed to the well-being of others, it often inspires a warm sense of meaning and continual action to better others' lives.

Iowa State University's Love Your Melon campus crew and volunteer network, which includes more than 200 ISU students, hopes to keep bringing happiness to families across the Midwest, motivated by the incredible number of smiles they have created in their three years on campus.

"We aren't here to better ourselves," said Nettie Sparkman, senior in genetics and event management, and co-captain of ISU's Love Your Melon campus crew. "We're here to constantly work to better others." More


Sustainable Fashionista (October 2016)

When considering one’s hopes, goals and dreams, the “future” has a different meaning for everyone. For this Iowa State University student, her bright future is the passionate pursuit of becoming a leader in sustainable fashion. 

Apparel, merchandising and design senior, Caitlyn Baagoe, had the opportunity to follow her passion for sustainability and fashion. Over the summer Baagoe interned for Groceries Apparel in Los Angeles, specializing in 100 percent organic and 100 percent recyclable clothing.

In addition to their organic and recyclable content commitment, Groceries Apparel also manufactures all of their clothing locally in Los Angeles where they have their own vegetabledye studio.

By keeping manufacturing in-house, Groceries Apparel is able to maximize “quality, efficiency and employee pay” while minimizing their carbon footprint and waste, making an environmental, economic and social difference. More

Two students in selfie at Ames Coffee shop.


Students working on a food dehydrator.



Students holding diplomas.


Four students pose in front of stone wall.


Four students pose in front of wood wall.


Student dressed like a super hero with child on back dressed as Superman.


Caitlyn Baagoe smiles in classroom.