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.

November 2016
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Ben Gleason, a new School of Education assistant professor, studies how Twitter can bring about new literacy skills and enhance student learning. He sees a connection between social media use and the creation of authentic community. Read more.

Iowa State is ranked No. 1 nationally in family and consumer sciences, according to Great Value Colleges. Iowa State's family and consumer sciences education and studies program is the only accredited curriculum of its kind in the state. Read more.

Iowa State University will offer new opportunities for students in apparel, merchandising, and design to study in Taiwan and to learn from Taiwanese students who will travel here, under a new agreement with Fu Jen Catholic University. Read more.

Top stories

Researchers work to break down language barriers through text messages

Getting parents engaged in their child’s classroom isn't easy when mom and dad don't speak English. 

That's why Mollie Appelgate and Christa Jackson, both assistant professors of math education, are working to overcome language barriers with text messages that kindergarten teachers can send home to parents.

They focus each message on a simple math activity that parents can do with their child. The goal: To promote building math skills outside of school and to develop a connection between teachers and parents, especially those who don't speak English. Read more.

Gene mutation linked to early onset of Parkinson's disease in Caucasians

A defect in a gene that produces dopamine in the brain appears to accelerate the onset of Parkinson's disease, according to new research from Iowa State University. The effect is particularly dramatic for people under age 50.

Auriel Willette, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition, and Joseph Webb, a graduate research assistant, found on average that Caucasians with a certain version of the gene — guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase-1 or GCH1 — developed Parkinson's symptoms five years earlier, and had a 23 percent increased risk for the disease.

However, young-to-middle-age adults with the mutation had a 45 percent increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Read more.

Iowa State shares promises, vulnerabilities of families at national conference

More than 50 Iowa State University student, faculty, and staff researchers in human development and family studies recently shared their expertise in family health at a national conference.

They presented research on parental substance abuse, sibling tensions, and family finance at the National Council on Family Relations annual conference, Nov. 2-5 in Minneapolis. 

This year's conference theme was "Families and Human Rights: Promise and Vulnerability in the 21st Century." Participants discussed issues including poverty, hunger, education access, gender inequality, incarceration, and discrimination, and their effects on families and family policy. Read more and see photos.

School of Education research aims to drive systemic change in STEM diversity

Iowa State University is a leader in bringing more diversity to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

It does so not only through outreach, partnerships, scholarships, and conferences, but also with research aimed at systemic change across colleges in the Midwest and nation.

School of Education faculty and staff members Sarah Rodriguez, Lorenzo Baber, Brian Burt, Mary Darrow, Rosemary Perez, and Mari Kemis will for the next five years lead the research components of four National Science Foundation grants totalling $11.6 million, all aimed at increasing diversity in STEM. Read more.

Angela Shaw works to make produce safer

Angela Shaw, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition, uses her microbiology background to make fruit and vegetable production safer.

Shaw is leading the North Central Regional Center for Food Safety Training, an Iowa State-based center with the mission of helping fruit and vegetable growers across the Midwest improve their operations to make sure their products are as safe as possible.

She takes a science-based approach to food safety, grounded in her training as a microbiologist. Her research throughout her career has required her to predict how bacteria will respond to various stimuli, a challenge she finds thrilling. Read more.

Iowa State shares research about higher education policy and practice

Twenty-one researchers, largely from the School of Education, showcased their work at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) annual conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Iowa State presented research on topics ranging from international college students to low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities, and conditions impacting post-secondary student outcomes. The presentations all passed a competitive peer review process to be accepted at the conference.

ASHE is a scholarly society with 2,000 members dedicated to higher education as a field of study. Read more.

Bartholomae brings financial education, outreach to Iowans across the state

Suzanne Bartholomae researches interventions that assist people with financial stress.

"Stress around money keeps people up at night — it has physical implications," she said. "It impacts family life, parenting, and relationships."

Bartholomae is an assistant professor in human development and family studies and a state specialist in Human Sciences Extension and Outreach. 

She said with small adjustments, people can move from a position of struggle and stress to one of financial satisfaction. Read more.

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What's new

Nine from the College of Human Sciences receive 2016 alumni awards

Iowa State takes home 17 awards from international textile and apparel conference

CHS seniors David Moore III and Caitlin Theros crowned ISU homecoming king and queen

Teachers can apply by Dec. 28 for Fulbright seminars in Bulgaria, Chile, or Thailand

Pease Family Scholar Rodger Kram speaks on the science of running


Iowa State's fall 2016 commencement will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Hilton Coliseum. The College of Human Sciences will hold its fall 2016 convocation at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16 at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium. Watch video.

Iowa State University has one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country. Watch video to enjoy the fall colors on campus.

School of Education students recently visited at-risk first graders they are mentoring at Field Club Elementary School in Omaha. Iowa State students "adopted" the class as part of the "No Excuses University" program, which encourages all children to go to college. Watch video.

Ruth Litchfield is a human scientist who translates nutritional science into information that consumers can use to improve their lives. Litchfield is a professor in food science and human nutrition who is also a state specialist with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach. Watch video.

A video shown at the 2016 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo features Andrew Doherty, an Iowa State alumnus in food science and human nutrition. Watch video.

KHOI community radio recently featured Connie Hargrave, director of Science Bound, in a segment about the program's 25th anniversary. Listen to the radio segment.

WHO-TV recently featured Iowa State's donating more than 7,000 pounds of fresh produce to Iowa food pantries. The story included an interview with Christine Hradek, a state specialist with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach. Watch video.

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