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.

August 2016
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College of Human Sciences alumni relations director Dynette Mosher, a longtime judge of 4-H educational presentations, was featured in a portrait at the Iowa State Fair along with recent kinesiology graduate Evan Fritz and Shirley Stakey, who was superintendent of the 4-H Exhibit Building for 26 years. Read more.

The School of Education's Daniel Spikes (pictured) and Jason Salisbury shared their expertise on cultural proficiency at the Des Moines Public Schools' first Summit on School Climate and Culture. The assistant professors were among a national panel of experts speaking before 1,200 educators. Read more.

Tania Lee Xu Yar, a 2013 Iowa State University graduate who double-majored in dietetics and nutritional science, was the lead dietitian for Malaysian athletes at the recently completed 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. She's also a former intern with the Iowa State University Dietetics Internship. 

Top Stories

Jolly aims to connect people, broaden networks

Laura Dunn Jolly is a leader who works to connect people and broaden networks.

"I like to be around people," she said. "I want to get out there. I don't mind getting into the weeds. I can go from the weeds to the sky."

Jolly is the new dean and Dean's Chair of the College of Human Sciences. Her vision includes enhancing the college's research profile by broadening its networks across campus and with national initiatives. She will also advocate for Iowa State's top-ranked programs to have state-of-the-art facilities. Read more.


Why customers choose to eat healthy at restaurants

A person's decision to choose healthful foods when eating out is the result of complicated interactions between socio-demographic, psychological, and environmental factors.

But past exposure to a certain food also affects a customer's decision to eat healthy, according to a new study co-authored by an Iowa State professor and two former doctoral students.

"Female customers and customers who had eaten healthful low-fat or low-calorie menu items in the past had more positive attitudes and behavioral intentions toward those menu items," the researchers found. Read more.


Workshops aim to improve career advancement among graduate students, faculty of color

Five workshops to be held between September and April aim to assist Iowa State graduate students and faculty of color attain tenure-track positions, achieve tenure and promotion through the ranks, and prepare for academic administrative positions.

The series is a cross-campus collaboration between the College of Human Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Graduate College that is financed with a $5,000 grant from the ISU Women's and Diversity Grant Program in the ISU Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion.

The workshops, coordinated by five African-American women who are working to build and maintain community on campus, will focus on the experiences of scholars of color, but everyone is welcome. Read more.


College of Human Sciences fellowship to expand opportunities in entrepreneurship

A prestigious College of Human Sciences fellowship will soon be used to develop entrepreneurship opportunities for both Iowa State students and underserved populations in rural Iowa.

Linda Niehm, a professor in apparel, events, and hospitality management, is the second faculty member named a Dean's Faculty Fellow, an honor made possible by an anonymous gift to the College of Human Sciences.

As part of the fellowship, Niehm will receive $30,000 a year for two years to extend her well-known work in expanding entrepreneurship among students and helping rural, community-based, and family-owned businesses. Read more.


Iowa State study suggests 'use it or lose it' to defend against memory loss

Iowa State researchers have identified a protein essential for building memories that appears to predict the progression of memory loss and brain atrophy in Alzheimer's patients.

Auriel Willette, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition, and graduate assistant Ashley Swanson say the findings also suggest there is a link between brain activity and the presence of the protein neuronal pentraxin-2.

The research, published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, found a correlation between higher levels of the protein and better memory and more brain volume. Lower levels of the protein were associated with diminished memory and less volume. Read more.


Iowa State shifts focus to children in domestic violence cases

An Iowa State initiative is making a difference for thousands of domestic violence cases across the state by placing the focus on children's safety and needs.

The Child Welfare Research and Training Project in human development and family studies partners with David Mandel and Associates, a consulting group, to deliver the Safe and Together Program to all child welfare professionals in Iowa. The work is funded by the Iowa Department of Human Services.

"It's a philosophical change in how we're approaching families," said Leah Kinnaird, a human services specialist and domestic violence response coordinator. Read more.


Boomerang dads have positive effect on daughters' mental health

New Iowa State research shows it's not uncommon for fathers to come back after a separation, which can be beneficial for their daughters.

It's called "boomerang fathering" — a term that Cassandra Dorius, an assistant professor in human development and family studies, and her colleagues coined after detecting this pattern.

Dorius says the concept of relationship "churning" — a cycle of breaking up and getting back together — is common among young adults. Researchers were surprised to find it also happens with married and cohabiting couples well into middle age. Read more.


Iowa State helps couples improve their relationships

Iowa State will soon offer a new program that applies a national research-based training model to help couples have healthy relationships.

Elevate, a new curriculum offered by Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, is aimed at helping couples learn skills to improve their relationships.

The program is designed for couples in all types of relationships: dating, premarital, cohabiting, married, or married with blended families. It's based on the national Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education Training model. Read more.


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What's new

Laura Dunn Jolly installed as Dean's Chair of the College of Human Sciences


Two Iowa State career fairs coming up Sept. 21


Banners go up on MacKay Hall as part of college's environmental branding


Iowa State wins awards, assumes leadership positions in hospitality management


Sara Marcketti publishes book about the history of design piracy


Alum Yi "Leaf" Zhang named faculty fellow by Greater Texas Foundation


Doctoral student Manuel Del Real wins Sigma Lambda Beta's outstanding alumnus award


Eric Brown completes faculty internship with Hyatt Hotels Corporation



Iowa State students, faculty, and staff returned to campus Aug. 22 for the start of the fall 2016 semester. To kick things off, College of Human Sciences faculty and staff attended a welcome back event that included an introduction of new faculty and staff members, as well as a medallion ceremony to formally install Laura Dunn Jolly as the college's Dean's Chair. New students also enjoyed Destination Iowa State activities the weekend before the start of the semester. Watch video


Iowa Staters provided interactive science learning for kids at the "Mosquitoes and Me" summer camp, which is part of the Urban Ecosystem Project funded by the National Institutes of Health. Led by future and current elementary teachers and community educators, fifth to seventh grade scientists investigated mosquitoes and their links to public health in their community. This is one of several projects serving King and Moulton elementary schools in the ISU 4U Promise. Watch video and see photos.


Gale Seiler, an associate professor in the School of Education, on Aug. 15 talked about Iowa State's learning communities on KHOI community radio. Iowa State has more than 80 learning communities, which are small groups that help first-year students adjust to a large campus. The radio discussion included Carmen Flagge, the College of Human Sciences' diversity coordinator and multicultural liaison officer who coordinates the Connect Four learning community, and David Mena, a dietetics student and a senior peer mentor in the Connect Four learning community. Listen to the radio segment, which begins at the 2-minute mark. 


Iowa State is partnering with Rise, an app developer, to provide families with the ability to make healthier food choices and learn smart eating tips. Through the Partnership for a Healthier America, families with low incomes will be able to use the service for free. Emily Wisecup and Jill Schechinger, recent graduates in dietetics and current ISU Dietetic Internship participants, are two of 14 interns training to be virtual coaches. Read the story and watch WHO-TV coverage.

Schools can inform the civil rights decisions that communities and individuals make today through their teaching of history, says School of Education assistant professor Katy Swalwell. Listen to her interview with Charity Nebbe on Iowa Public Radio's Talk of Iowa. 


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