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.

October 2014
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An Iowa State dietetics student who battled childhood obesity but has since lost 50 pounds appeared Oct. 23 on NBC's The Biggest Loser. Lansman appeared on the weight-loss show as one of four youth ambassador "change agents" from the National 4-H Healthy Living Management Team. Laura Meany, an Iowa State sophomore in agricultural studies, joined Lansman. Read more and watch a video interview.

Students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Iowa State University gathered Oct. 9 to celebrate the recently completed renovation of MacKay Hall. The event featured a ribbon cutting and self-guided tours through the Catherine J. MacKay Auditorium, visitor center, high-tech classroom, and vestibule. The $3.2 million renovation updated the historic building while preserving many of its links to the past. Read more.

The Iowa State University College of Human Sciences is proud to present this online guide to our 24 new tenured or tenure-track professors for 2014-2015. They provide expertise in a wide array of topics including food safety, intimate partner violence, effects of exercise and sedentary time on mental health, early intervention with language and literacy, and analysis of textile material and clothing performance. Read more.

Top Stories

New scholarship helps student teachers in STEM education

The newly established Myrna and Jon Hamann Student Teaching Scholarship helps future teachers when they need it most - when they're working for free to get experience in the classroom.

"Especially the semester when they are student teaching, they need the money at that point," said Myrna Hamann, who established the scholarship alongside her husband, Jon Hamann. "Then they don't have to worry about finding a second job or finding funds to complete their student teaching."

The scholarship designates $2,500 each year to a School of Education student planning to teach science, technology, engineering, or mathematics education. Read more.


Iowa State professor applies new intervention to reduce domestic violence

Amie Zarling began researching how to reduce domestic violence when her passions for family relationships and therapy collided.

"I've always felt that relationships are important in someone's mental health," said Zarling, a new assistant professor in human development and family studies who has a background in psychology. 

Five years ago, Zarling teamed up with the Iowa Department of Corrections to provide a new intervention for men arrested for domestic violence crimes. The program is called the Iowa Domestic Assault Project.

Based on Zarling's research, the project applies principles from acceptance and commitment therapy to help domestic abusers develop skills to better manage their emotions. Read more.  


McCracken gift empowers student to immerse fully in college experience

A couple's firsthand understanding of Iowa State University's impact — and continued commitment to making their own — have led the Iowa State alumni to fashion a first-of-its-kind scholarship for students majoring in apparel, merchandising, and design.

Ana Hays McCracken (B.S., fashion merchandising, 1984) and husband Ed McCracken (B.S., electrical engineering, 1966) have made a $200,000 gift to the College of Human Sciences that will provide four years of tuition support for freshman Sarah Waigand and three successive students who enter the AMD program from 2015 through 2017.

The McCrackens have designated the $12,500-a-year scholarship for incoming students with a demonstrated need for financial aid. Along with broadening the path to Iowa State, the couple said they hope the scholarship will afford recipients the richest possible college experience upon arriving in Ames. Read more.


Costume designer makes her way from Broadway to Iowa State University

The path that led Sara Jablon, a guest designer for ISU Theatre's "Spring Awakening," to Iowa State is far from typical.

Unlike her colleagues or other ISU students who may aspire to one day work on Broadway, Jablon spent 10 years there dressing actors for productions of the Lion King, Cabaret, and Rent.

But during that same time, she got a random chance to teach a college course, which led to other teaching opportunities and ultimately a big change.

"I packed up my life in New York and moved across the country in 2012," Jablon said. "I realized that I love teaching and that I want to pursue it full time." Read more and watch the video by WHO-TV


New kinesiology professor studies impact of inactivity on public health

Robin Shook comes to Iowa State University with plans to research two chronic diseases related to physical inactivity: obesity and cardiovascular disease.

"I am a physical activity researcher who explores the role of exercise and inactivity on a variety of health conditions," said Shook, a new assistant professor in kinesiology. "Specifically, I have demonstrated regular physical activity influences numerous physiological factors related to body weight."

Shook's research stands out because he focuses on the public health aspect of obesity by exploring energy balance, which is the relationship between how many calories a person eats, how many they burn, and how they store excess calories in their body. Read more.


School of Education has a new extension and outreach specialist

Constance Beecher is dedicated to providing young children across Iowa with quality early learning experiences.

Beecher joins Iowa State as an extension and outreach specialist in the School of Education. This position, created through the President's High Impact Hires Initiative, will help enhance education in all of Iowa's 99 counties.

"Her work will expand access to high-quality education for underserved children and families through literacy education opportunities, resources, and programs in local communities," said Debra M. Sellers, associate dean of the College of Human Sciences and director of Human Sciences Extension and Outreach. 

Beecher's work focuses on early literacy, language development, and community engagement. She will work to increase school readiness in children. Read more.


Iowa State professor studies safety of recycled plastic, food packaging

An Iowa State University professor is looking at how packaging can affect the safety of the food it touches.

"We utilize a lot of packaging materials which contain plastics that have additives and are subject to temperature changes," said Keith Vorst, a new associate professor in food science and human nutrition. "We don't really understand what leaches into our foods completely and we don't understand the effects those compounds have on the human body."

Vorst is studying whether food is still safe after being stored for a long period of time. He is looking to see if autism, Alzheimer's, and even weight gain are affected by the additives in food packaging material. Read more.


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What's new

Three finalists for director of the School of Education attend interviews, open forums


CHS alumni Carol Anderson, Brad Buck, Annice Fisher, Justin Moore, Christopher Duree, Daniel Hanson, and Beverly Kruempel win awards for outstanding service and achievements 


Thirty-seven event management and hospitality management students inducted into Eta Sigma Delta Honor Society

What do you think of the College of Human Sciences?

"Like" our Facebook page and answer online questions from Doreen Chung's consumer behavior class for a chance to win prizes.



Panteleimon Ekkekakis received a pie in the face during a homecoming lunch on central campus sponsored by the College of Human Sciences. Ekkekakis, an associate professor in kinesiology, won the CHS Student Council contest that raised $835 for United Way. See photos.


The fall leaves are beautiful on the Iowa State University campus at this time of year. It's the time when all the trees turn into Cyclone fans. Check out this Postcard from Campus from the ISU News Service. Watch video.


Iowa State University, the College of Human Sciences, and the School of Education co-sponsored a conference focused on the needs of Latina/o students in Iowa. This year's keynote speaker was Laura Rendón, a professor and co-director of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Texas-San Antonio. See photos.


Iowa State students, faculty, and staff - and even students from the Child Development Laboratory School - participated Oct. 8 in the Healthiest State Walk. Participants chose from one of nine campus routes. Iowa continues its quest to be the healthiest state in the nation by 2016. See photos.


Rey Junco, an associate professor in the School of Education and a national expert on the psychosocial impacts of social media use, is interviewed in this KCCI-TV story about sexting of nude photos by Boone High School students. Watch video interview.


Have you checked out the latest exhibit at the Textiles and Clothing Museum? "Textiles, Teaching, and Travel: The Life of Work of ISU Professor Agatha Huepenbecker Burnet" runs from Sept. 15 to Nov. 14. It's open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. See photos.