2007 CHS Alumni Awards

Alumni Achievement Award

Ph.D. Education 1989

Alan Cureton

With nearly 30 years of experience in higher education, Alan Cureton is a visionary academic leader whose strategic initiatives have elevated education for students in the U.S. and Africa.

Since 2002, Cureton has served as president of Northwestern College, a private Christian liberals arts institution in St. Paul, Minnesota. Under his leadership, the college has grown student enrollment by 58%, increased minority enrollment from 7% to 12%, developed four new undergraduate academic majors, and established its first two graduate programs.

“I am keenly aware of the outstanding and selfless commitment that thousands of Americans make every year to assist people in developing countries. I can think of no one more dedicated to that effort than Dr. Cureton,” said Ron Tschetter, U.S. Peace Corp director.


Virgil S. Lagomarcino Laureate Award

M.S. Educational Administration 1980
Ph.D. Higher Education 1999

Wanda Woods Everage

Wanda Woods Everage is a champion for people of color and the underserved. She demonstrates extraordinary talent for helping others become better students, better citizens, and better human beings.

As vice provost for student affairs and academic excellence at Drake University, Woods Everage serves as a key member of the president’s team. She exhibits the capacity to challenge traditional views without alienating an audience.

“Wanda Everage is one of those rare people whose presence and commitment shape an institution and shape the experience of those who pass through it,” said David Maxwell, Drake president.


Oustanding Young Alumni Award

B.S. Community Health Education 1991

Dawn Gentsch

In the 16 years since she graduated from Iowa State, Dawn Gentsch has distinguished herself as a trailblazer in the field of public health education.

Her professional contributions to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the American Lung Association, the Institute for Drug Abuse Prevention, Indianapolis’ Riley Hospital for Children, and now at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, have made a lasting impact.

An Iowa Community Health and a Public Health Education Leadership Institute scholar, Gentsch received her master’s of public health degree from Indiana University. In 2005, the ISU College of Human Sciences presented her with its Outstanding Young Professional Award. Gentsch is also a former member of the college’s curriculum advisory committee.


Helen LeBaron Hilton Award

B.S. Dietetics 1996

Keecha Harris

After only 11 years since earning a bachelor’s degree, Keecha Harris has risen in her profession to serve as a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, an internationally recognized nutrition columnist for www.msn.com, and faculty member at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

As a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow, Harris developed an integrative focus on environmentally sustainable nutrition policies that serve low income populations. Her work focuses on effective public and interpersonal communications related to diet-related sciences and policies.

She embodies the Iowa State University ideal of “science with practice” as well as the College of Human Sciences vision of “expanding human potential.” With her entrepreneurial leadership approach, she is working effectively toward a world that is both just and informed by science.


Virgil S. Lagomarcino Laureate Award

Ph.D. Education 1979

Kent Koppelman

A champion of diversity and the author of “Understanding Human Differences,” Kent Koppelman is known for writing a lasting textbook that is read by college students in multicultural education classes throughout the U.S.

Koppelman has been recognized as a superb educator and a model mentor with awards like the Outstanding Educator of the Year from Phi Delta Kappa and Wisconsin Teacher Educator of the Year.

He recently retired as a professor of education at the University of WisconsinLa Crosse, where he led the educational policy and practice department as chair from 1990 until 2000 and the education studies department from 2003 until 2006.


Distinguished Alumni Award

B.S. Physical Education 1988

Nawal El Moutawakel

Nawal El Moutawakel (88 physical education) has been breaking barriers and records ever since coming to Iowa State University from Morocco as a student-athlete in 1984.

She was recruited to the Cyclone womens track team sight unseen by coaches Pat Moynihan and Ron Renko, and she became one of the dominant women in the 400-meter hurdles in the world for the next several years.

El Moutawakel was named an All-American Citizen by the mayor of Ames, Iowa, in 1984 and was inducted into the Iowa Sport Hall of Fame in 1994. She was a member of the first class of inductees into the Iowa State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997.


Outstanding Young Professional Award

B.S. Mathematics 1993
M.S. Mathematics 1996
Ph.D. Higher Education 2000

Christopher Russell

Christopher Russell has already made his mark on the state’s higher education system and shows promise for becoming a national leader.

He was elected by his peers to chair of the Iowa Community College Chief Academic Officers through which he led the CAO discussions that implemented a statewide AS degree articulation and also started the plans to establish a statewide community college biotechnology program coordinating committee. These feats will help streamline the transfer of students as they advance to four-year institutions

With advanced knowledge of statistics and design, Russell has the curiosity and intuition to explore unknown possibilities. He has emerged as an administrator that state officials seek for input and guidance on career and technical programs, transfer and articulation processes, faculty professional development, and implementation of assessment and accreditation.