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.

June 2015
CHS Home Page | News | Alumni | Faculty and Staff | Multimedia | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | YouTube

Joyce Knock's new book, "I am not dumb and I am not a stinky butt," aims to help children in kindergarten through the second grade understand the pain caused by bullying and name-calling. Knock is a retired teacher and an Iowa State University alumna who received her master's degree in home economics in 1986. Read more.

Sara Marcketti, an associate professor in apparel, merchandising, and design, recently co-authored the 25th anniversary edition of "Survey of Historic Costume." More than 200 colleges and universities worldwide use the book for courses ranging from theater to history to textiles and fashion programs. Read more

Adults often avoid talking about race with children, but young people notice similarities and differences among people. Parents should not be afraid to discuss the subject of race with their children — even young ones, says Malisa Rader, an ISU Human Sciences Extension and Outreach specialist in family life. Read more.


Top Stories

College of Human Sciences supports students during unpaid internships 

New scholarships are reducing the financial stress for some Iowa State students with unpaid internships and allowing them to focus on learning this summer.


Students graduating in human sciences play critical roles in the community — from teachers to school administrators and social services providers. But many lack compensation as they train to work in these positions. 


The College of Human Sciences recently awarded scholarships of up to $2,000 each to 21 students in unpaid internships. Sixty scholarships are expected to be awarded to students over the course of the next year — including those who are student teaching. An anonymous gift to the college helped to make it possible. Read more.


First Dean's Faculty Fellowship supports crucial food safety research

A new College of Human Sciences fellowship will support efforts to detect and eliminate foodborne pathogens like salmonella and listeria.

Byron Brehm-Stecher, an associate professor in food science and human nutrition, is the first Dean's Faculty Fellow, an honor made possible by an anonymous gift to the College of Human Sciences.

He will receive $30,000 a year for two years to support his research in food safety, including a cutting-edge effort to develop applications for functional food ingredients that will help protect against dangerous microbes. "We have only scratched the surface in our exploration of this phenomenon," he said. Read more.


Iowa Concern serves Iowans in crisis for 30 years

As Iowa Concern marks its 30th anniversary, it continues to look for new ways to improve its reach and connect with new populations.

"We're here to help people," said Margaret VanGinkel, the Iowa Concern hotline coordinator. "They can talk to a person seven days a week, all night long, and it is a person."

Iowa Concern — a free, confidential hotline that answers up to 1,000 calls a month — originated during the statewide farm crisis 30 years ago and has been administered by ISU Extension and Outreach since 1985. Iowans can call 800-447-1985 at any time of the day or night to discuss tough issues. Read more.


Change agent: Amy Popillion

The future Amy Popillion envisioned as a kid growing up in small town Iowa could not be more different than the life she is living today.

The senior lecturer in human development and family studies never imagined pursuing a career in academia. Her aspirations as a child did not reflect an expectation to go to college. She saw herself graduating from high school and working as a waitress or secretary.   

It's not that Popillion lacked confidence in what she could achieve, but an environment of abuse and alcoholism severely limited her view. Popillion credits a handful of people — including a favorite high school teacher —for helping her see that her vision of the future did not need to become her reality. Read more.


Extension and Outreach helps families struggling with avian influenza

ISU Extension and Outreach is working with extension staff at South Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota to provide research-based information and resources to families in response to the recent avian influenza outbreak. 

"By leveraging our resources and strategically sharing information with families throughout Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota, we are able to provide daily updates and recommendations," said Debra Sellers, director of Human Sciences Extension and Outreach and associate dean of the College of Human Sciences. 

Extension staff from the three land-grant universities will provide families with information on everything from food safety education and stretching food dollars, to implementing strategies to manage a family's finances and stress during tough times. Read more.


Making a difference: Heddleson intern Morgan Bahl

As one of three Heddleson interns this summer, Morgan Bahl is gaining first-hand experience in nutrition education and community wellness. 

The Heddleson Internship Program allows College of Human Sciences students to work with ISU Extension and Outreach specialists throughout the state on projects and everyday activities. 

Bahl is working with Sarah Francis, an associate professor and extension specialist in food science and human nutrition, and Mary Krisco, a field specialist in Human Sciences Extension and Outreach.

She is giving presentations this summer for programs such as "Preserve the Taste of Summer" and "Wellness and Independence through Nutrition," as well as teaching classes and lessons on nutrition. She will also be writing and doing research for the "Words on Wellness" newsletter. Read more.


Decision to remove artificial ingredients a challenge, says Iowa State professor

The move by several major food companies to remove artificial ingredients from their products will be a challenge for the industry, says Lester Wilson, University Professor in food science and human nutrition.

The switch may change the flavor, taste, color or texture of the product, as well as the price. That's because artificial colors are more heat stable and hold their color longer. Natural pigments are more sensitive to environmental conditions. In addition, natural ingredients are often more expensive. 

"The challenge for these companies as they switch from artificial colors is trying to find the right natural pigments that fit and withstand the process for making those products," Wilson said. Read more



Send us your comments...

Do you have any suggestions? Do you like what you see? Is there anything missing?

Send us your comments. We are always looking for ways to improve our e-newsletter. Email us at

What's new

Nearly 1,000 high school students to attend Iowa 4-H Youth Conference


Hospitality management program hosts international workshop


College of Human Sciences fall convocation, Aug. 20 in Alumni Center


School of Education graduate students Amy Oberfoell, Seth Gilbert among recipients of Research Excellence Award


School of Education graduate students Jessie Christensen, Yi Jin, Jennifer Farley receive Teaching Excellence Awards



Rising Stars Interns launched a new blog this summer as they work to make an impact on northwest Iowa local foods. They're working in two- to three-person teams, using research-based findings and outcomes to develop a model program for Iowa. It's the second year of the program through ISU Extension and Outreach. The focus this summer is regional food systems. See the blog by the students.


Iowa State kinesiology and health students this month helped several youth with disabilities to get up on two wheels. Those attending the iCan Bike camp started on a roller bike, graduated to a tandem bike, and were ultimately outside riding on two wheels with support from Iowa State students. The camp ran from June 1 to 5 at the All Iowa Attack Fieldhouse. Watch WHO-TV news coverage and see a photo album.


NBC Washington looks at Iowa State kinesiology professor Greg Welk's research on fitness bands. The research tested four popular commercial fitness monitors: Fitbit Flex, Nike+Fuelband SE, Jawbone UP24 and Misfit Shine. Watch the NBC video coverage.


Vanessa McNeal, a recent Iowa State University graduate in child, adult, and family services, is filming a documentary called "33" that will be released next month. She's a courageous young woman who overcame sexual abuse, poverty, and estrangement from her family. She now finds success in helping others. Watch a preview of her documentary.


Iowa has a 90 percent high school graduation rate — the best in the nation. National Public Radio takes a closer look at how Iowa overcomes challenges with this look at Scavo Alternative High School in Des Moines where Iowa State alumnus Rich Blonigan is principal, alumna Mary O'Hearn is a SUCCESS case manager, alumnus Daryl Miller is a physics teacher, and current Iowa State distance education graduate student Sarah Smith is a teacher. Read and listen to the NPR story.


Harvest Public Media visits Iowa State food science and human nutrition's capstone class. Students have one semester in which they conceive a new food product for mass distribution and consumption. Students must develop the product, scale production up to industry standards for mass production, test their product on the shelf and with consumers, and design packaging. Watch the video.