News and Events from the College of Human Sciences

Greetings from the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences. We hope you take a moment to learn about the exciting work our alumni, students, and faculty are doing to advance the science and technology of living and learning. Their research and outreach in the areas of education, health, families, and consumer sciences are key to improving people's lives. Thanks for being part of our world.

December 2014
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Iowa State University has for more than a decade helped fill the state's need for high-quality science teachers. The Master of Arts in Teaching program in secondary science education is a point of pride for the College of Human Sciences. Ten former students received a prestigious award from the National Science Teachers Association. Read more.

Iowa State University shared its goals for expanding access to higher education and improving graduation rates at the White House College Opportunity Day of Action. Iowa State's commitments include an expansion of Science Bound in the School of Education, which empowers ethnic minorities to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Read more.

Graduating seniors receiving special honors this weekend include Jessica Reyes in kinesiology; Sara Kinderknecht in apparel, merchandising, and design; Madeleine Trepp in elementary education; Alison Kuhfus in family and consumer sciences education and studies; Cody Platta in food science; and Tess Dusenberry in hospitality management. Read more.

Top Stories

Partnership promotes good health with online lessons in fitness and nutrition

Iowa State students are using technology to connect with school children and share lessons on everything from proper hand washing to fire prevention to physical fitness.

Sally Shaver DuBois, a lecturer in kinesiology, developed the partnership with United Community School to give her students experience working with children. Most of the students in her school health class plan to pursue careers in community and public health. 

The partnership included development of a website and videos. It culminated with Iowa State students leading exercises at an all-school assembly. Read more.


Winham looks at beans to improve global nutrition

Beans are key to improving health and nutrition around the world, says Iowa State University's newest expert in global nutrition.

Donna Winham, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition, has a passion for using traditional foods to improve people's health, rather than imposing something new and culturally inappropriate.

Winham said because beans are familiar to cultures around the world, they represent an optimal means of improving nutrition and decreasing risk factors associated with coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and obesity. Read more.


New Iowa State professor researches impact of socioeconomic status on health

Amelia Karraker is researching why financial stress can change someone's physical and mental well-being.

"We know that people of higher socioeconomic status— that is people with more education, better jobs, higher income— are healthier," said Karraker, a new assistant professor in human development and family studies. 

"What's less understood is why that is and what the mechanisms are there."

Karraker looks at the relationship between education, stress, and social connectedness. Read more.


Iowa State professors weigh effectiveness of tax on soda and other sweetened drinks

Several states and cities continue to propose a tax on soft drinks to curb obesity. A New York lawmaker also proposed warning labels on sodas to remind consumers about the negative health consequences of added sugar. 

But Ruth Litchfield, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition, said the real deterrent comes when there is a financial cost. She also said soda is not the only sugar-sweetened beverage contributing to obesity.   

"We can't just point our finger at soft drinks," Litchfield said. "We've also got fast food, convenience food and a decrease in physical activity — it's not just one thing. I just feel like we keep looking for the magic bullet to address the obesity epidemic. It's going to take more than just a sugar tax." Read more


New assistant professor joins the growing event management program

Hotels, restaurants, and others in the hospitality industry often focus on how to create an outstanding customer experience.

But Eric Olson is interested in when these experiences don't go as well as planned.

"I enjoy finding out problems that managers and organizations face, then I research the best ways for them to overcome those issues," said Olson, a new assistant professor in apparel, events, and hospitality management.

Olson has more than a decade of experience with organizations like the Walt Disney Company. He brings to Iowa State an expertise in customer experience and management. Read more.


Perez brings expertise in college students developing their own voice

College plays a key role in students' growth into adults — developing their internal voice, managing external influences, and using internally defined beliefs and values to evaluate information rather than blindly following authority figures.

That process is called "self authorship," and Iowa State is now home to one of the nation's leading research experts in that area.

"So often, students are boiled down to small data points and not into the totality of their lives — before, during, and where they're going next," said Rosemary Perez, a new assistant professor in the School of Education. Read more.


Iowa State professor uses saliva to measure stress

Elizabeth "Birdie" Shirtcliff is studying stress in children by examining their saliva.

"I'm a behavioral endocrinologist by training so basically what I do is study hormones," she said. "I get hormones from spit because I like to get hormones from kids and kids don't really want to give me blood."

Shirtcliff is a new associate professor in human development and family studies. Her research looks at cortisol levels in saliva, which is a hormone that increases when a person is in a difficult or uncomfortable situation. One of Shirtcliff's recent studies found that stress affects children at the cellular level. Read more.


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What's new

School of Education alum Maggie Mabery named 2015 California Teacher of the Year


CHS graduation celebration Friday in C.Y. Stephens Auditorium


More than 200 give more than $60,000 to Iowa State University on Giving Tuesday


Amy Hutchison wins early career achievement in research award from the Literacy Research Association


Dominique Williams elected treasurer of National Society of Minorities in Hospitality



Dean Pamela White and students representing each part of the college extend the gifts of human sciences. Happy Holidays to you and your family from the College of Human Sciences. Watch video.


A kinesiology class led by Sally Shaver DuBois developed a health and wellness program for children at United Community School. Students developed exercise routines and educated kids on eating healthy. Watch video and see photo album


When kinesiology student Olivia Meyer went to ClubFest as a freshman, she wanted to meet people and stay in shape. She got much more. Meyer is Iowa State's first female national boxing champion. Watch video.


College of Human Sciences faculty and staff battled it out in a game of Family Feud at the college's holiday celebration, held at Memorial Union. It was a close battle but the administrative team took home bragging rights. See photos.


In this WHO-TV story, Alison St. Germain, a registered dietitian and Iowa State clinician in food science and human nutrition, recommends the book Intuitive Eating for chronic dieters because it talks about behavior change. The focus is eating when you're hungry and stopping before you're full. Watch video.


The School of Education's Gale Seiler and Katie Bruna discuss racial tension stemming from Ferguson, Misouri in this radio segment with Jeremy Nesoff of Facing History and Ourselves, which uses past events to build students' capacity for empathy, civic engagement and critical thinking. Listen to the KHOI-FM radio broadcast.