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.

July 2014
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Iowa State students found a way to make dessert a little healthier by creating a high-protein, reduced-fat treat called Oodlebar — a vanilla-flavored novelty ice cream bar loaded with chunks of peanut butter cookie dough. The creation is one of three finalists competing in the annual Dairy Research Institute New Product Competition. Read more.

Elizabeth Brock of Onalaska, Wisconsin came to Iowa State University in 2006 with one goal in mind — to one day work for Nike. Brock earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health in 2010. She started working this month as a footwear developer at Nike after years of networking, researching, and interning. Read more.

Caine Westergard credits a large part of her success to the nine years she spent in 4-H. Westergard led her peers as college marshal when she graduated in May with a degree in apparel, merchandising and design. This summer, she joins the women’s clothing design team at Lands’ End in Wisconsin. Read more.

Top Stories

MacKay Hall remodeling ends, ribbon cutting scheduled

The dust and noise of the past 14 months will give way to shiny and bright, new and restored, state-of-the-art facilities when the remodeling of MacKay Hall on the Iowa State University campus wraps up this week.

The $3.1 million remodeling project is scheduled to end today. It includes extensive work to the auditorium, a new student welcome center for the College of Human Sciences, a major upgrade to a second-floor classroom, and a more functional vestibule.

A ribbon cutting in the project’s centerpiece — the 214-seat Catherine J. MacKay Auditorium, built in 1926 and named after the longtime dean of home economics — will be held from 3-5 p.m. Oct. 9. The event will include self-guided tours, speakers, and refreshments. Read more.


Forker Building next to get a facelift

Renovation to the Forker Building at Iowa State University will transform unused locker rooms in the 1940 building into more functional space to meet the needs of today’s kinesiology students and faculty.

The project kicks off this fall with a $668,000 expansion of kinesiology laboratory space. An assessment by RDG Planning and Design showed that less than 10 percent of the Forker Building’s 11,000 square feet of lockers are being used. The project will renovate a women’s locker room and adjacent office into research space.

“Times have changed,” said Phil Martin, professor and chair in kinesiology. “The need for that kind of space in departments like ours has dramatically decreased over the last several decades. The renovation will allow us to use this space more effectively to meet current department needs.” Read more.


Iowa State places second in national food competition

Five Iowa State University students won second place in a national food product competition hosted by Disney Consumer Products and the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association.

Flight Bites is a bite-sized snack made of fruit and grain that’s based on the Disney movie, “Planes.” It is made of dried apples, oats, and quinoa, and it is infused with Indian spices like curry, coriander, and cloves. It is also filled with a fruit jam made of apples and dates. The treat contains more than half a serving of fruit and nearly half a serving of whole grains. Each piece is free of common food allergens like dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and gluten. 

Each year, the Nutritious Food for Kids Competition invites students from across the country to create a delicious and nutritious Disney-themed snack for children 10 and under. Read more.


Iowa State researchers find relationship between food insecurity and depression

A new study by an Iowa State University professor and student links food insecurity and maternal depression in rural America.

“We wanted to look at the depressive level that mothers in rural areas were experiencing,” said Kim Greder, an associate professor in human development and family studies and ISU Extension and Outreach family life state specialist. “The nugget that can be taken away from this is, ‘Take care of mom. Make sure mom’s mental health is good.’”

Greder is the principal investigator of a study looking at household food insecurity, maternal depression, and child behaviors in rural, low-income families. The study included in-depth interviews and surveys with 371 mothers in rural, isolated areas in 13 states including California, Texas, North Carolina, Iowa, and Louisiana. Read more.


Iowa State professor aids Army with backpack injury research

An Iowa State University professor and the biomechanics team at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine are investigating the effect of backpack weight on the body, with the goal of preventing future injuries.

“We’re looking at where you’re more likely to get injured when you put on a backpack,” said Tim Derrick, a professor in kinesiology.

Teaming up with Army researchers, Derrick analyzed data from backpack loads between 33 and 121 pounds that were tested on 31 soldiers. He measured joint, bone, and muscle stress on the legs. The soldiers walked on a force-sensing treadmill with sensors placed on joint areas of the body to monitor differences in the body with the weight loads. Read more.


Iowa State works to keep Iowans safe as interest in food preservation grows 

As the price of food rises and interest in sustainable agriculture grows, consumers are finding increasing value and convenience in preserving foods. Iowa State is working to make sure that those participating in the recent trend are staying safe.  

“There’s a national interest in local, sustainable foods, and food preservation ties right in with it,” said Holly VanHeel, a nutrition and health specialist with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach. “Preserve the Taste of Summer helps make sure that consumers preserving their food are staying safe.”

Preserve the Taste of Summer is a statewide, comprehensive program by Human Sciences Extension and Outreach that teaches food safety and the basics of preservation. The program offers up to eight online lessons and four hands-on workshops that address major food preservation topics including food safety, hot water-bath canning, pressure canning, pickling, freezing, and dehydrating. Read more.


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Iowa State School of Education associate professor Reynol Junco, an expert in youth and social media, is interviewed by KCCI-TV about whether parents should get a wristband with GPS and WiFi to keep track of their children. Watch the video.


Iowa State kinesiology professor Gregory Welk's study about the accuracy of fitness monitors received broadcast coverage locally and nationally. The story was featured on CNN and aired in several large markets including Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Detroit, Seattle, and New York. See a link to the broadcast coverage


Meet a group of Iowa State University dietetic students spending their summer growing healthy food for those in need. Watch the video by the ISU News Service.


Parents learn to be better parents, kids learn to resist peer pressure, and together they learn to better communicate as a family through the Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14 from Human Sciences Extension and Outreach. Watch the video.