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.

May 2014
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Iowa State students designed pediatric hospital gowns along with instructions on how to mass produce the garments from start to finish. Instructor Brenda Ackerman created the class project in partnership with Iowa Prison Industries, which plans to make the gowns at its production facility at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville. Read more.

Iowa State students spent hours throughout the semester chopping, blending and baking, carefully recording every modification in their lab books. By the end of the semester, they formulated a new food product, tested its shelf life and consumer appeal, and developed packaging and nutrition labels to get the product ready for store shelves. Read more.

Interest in local, sustainable food sources is motivating more people to plant their own gardens each spring or shop their local farmers market for fresh produce. As a result, registered dietitian nutritionists are fielding more questions from clients about what to plant, how to plant it, and when certain fruits and vegetables are in season. Read more

Top Stories

Iowa State wins at National Sustainable Design Expo with leather-like vest

Iowa State University was one of seven winners among 40 teams competing at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C. 

Three Iowa State graduate students convinced four scientific judges that their green process for textiles deserved to move on to the next level. They are now expected to receive a grant of up to $90,000 from the EPA’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) Program.

Their project, “Grow it! Wear it! Keep the earth happy!” features a vest made of cellulose fiber mats. Those mats were created from bacteria and yeast in fermented green tea, with sustainable biopolymers obtained from agricultural plant products such as castor, corn, and soybean oil. Read more.


Study shows mentor programs often harm more than help first-year science teachers

New teachers deal with a multitude of challenges during their first year in the classroom, which is why many school districts develop mentoring programs to ease that transition. 

But a new Iowa State study found that instead of helping beginning science teachers, these programs tend to reinforce the status quo, making it difficult for teachers to promote a deep understanding of science.

Lori Ihrig, a graduate student in the School of Education, followed 10 new secondary science teachers during the first two years of their careers to study their teaching practices and the socialization process. Working with associate professors Joanne Olson and Michael Clough, the team found that new teachers were often pressured to adapt their practices to the status quo, even if that contradicted established research-based classroom teaching practices. Read more


Students use Trashion Show to raise environmental awareness

Iowa State apparel students are raising environmental awareness in a unique fashion to celebrate Earth Month.

The Trashion Show, developed by students in associate professor Elena Karpova’s creative thinking and problem solving course, made its debut this spring.

The show at Aveda’s Serenity Couture salon at North Grand Mall featured garments made out of thrown-away materials and is solely dedicated to addressing issues of pollution, waste, excessive consumption, and littering. All proceeds went to the Audubon Society to support clean water projects in central Iowa. 

“On the Trashion Show runway, students will display their creativity by modeling their designs and offering solutions to the environmental problems,” Karpova said. Read the preview story and coverage of the event by the Iowa State Daily


Iowa State students propose business innovations at annual showcase

Students in entrepreneurial studies courses demonstrated strategic planning, showmanship, and competitive edges at the annual College of Human Sciences Entrepreneurship Showcase in LeBaron and MacKay halls.

Individual students and teams pitched their plans for 41 start-up operations, donned their logos and pushed their concepts for new businesses startups. Students championed their proposals to 30 business and university leaders who judged the competition.

“This is the largest number of entries ever,” said Linda Niehm, an associate professor in apparel, events, and hospitality management who initiated the showcase event 11 years ago. Read more.


Badges used to expand technology knowledge in future teachers

Iowa State University has a creative new way of motivating future teachers to learn about technology.

Student employees of the Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching earn digital badges when they successfully learn about a new technology. The badges motivate the students to learn, while allowing their supervisor to monitor their growth as employees.

“I wanted a better way to evaluate them — something that was more consistent and tangible for them so they actually see some progress,” said instructional support specialist Dennis Culver, who implemented the program. “It’s a topic that’s evolving in education right now and I wanted to model that for the students.” Read more.


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KCCI-TV was among the media outlets covering this year's Dyscovry Foods New Product Development Showcase. Iowa State food science students handed out samples of food that they spent all semester creating. Watch video.


Students in food science and human nutrition showcased new and innovative food products that they spent the entire semester creating for the marketplace. See photos from the Dyscovry Foods New Product Development Showcase. 


Kathy Nervig, a 1973 Iowa State graduate in hospitality management, was interviewed by WHO-TV about a smartphone app launched by Southeast Polk High School, where Nervig is director of food nutrition services. The app lists school lunch menu options, calories, carbs, sodium, and protein content. Students have the opportunity to rate the food on a five-star scale. Watch video.


Alison St. Germain, a registered dietitian and Iowa State University clinician in food science and human nutrition, was interviewed for a story about diets that aired on WGHP, the FOX station in St. High Point, N.C. Watch video.