Kiara Roberts

Kiara Roberts majors in food science focusing on food insecurity

When Kiara Roberts participated in the World Food Prize in high school she found a new passion and career path.

“Whenever we were given a project or paper where we got to pick the topic, I chose food insecurity,” she said. “It’s always just sparked my interest because there’s so much you can do with it, and it really needs attention.”

Originally, Kiara had planned on studying dietetics at Iowa State, but after discussing career paths and resources at Iowa State with her adviser, Anne Oldham, she decided that food science was her best option.

“I decided on food science mainly because of the Cyclone Scholars program and everything they had to offer,” said Kiara.

Cyclone Scholars is a scholarship program for underrepresented students in the department of food science and human nutrition. Students in the program receive a four-year scholarship, a laptop, an internship and research experience, a funded study abroad experience, career planning and preparation services, and social and academic mentoring.

“Networking in our department has really impacted me,” Kiara said. “I’m an undergraduate research assistant and I was able to do that through networking in the Cyclone Scholars program.”

The social mentoring that she receives has also been an asset to Kiara.

“We talk about our achievements and also our struggles,” Kiara said. “It’s just a time to reflect on our academics and also our lives. The seniors have really shown me the ropes and we’ve become friends and I’m able to contact them if I need to.”

While Kiara doesn’t know exactly where her career will take her, she knows that her experiences at Iowa State and in the Cyclone Scholars program have been a solid first step towards making a difference in the food security field.

She encourages other students to find their passion and connect with it in the same way that she did.

“Definitely get involved. Find some faculty member and connect with them right away,” Kiara said. “Finding something that you’re interested in and sticking to it is definitely what I would say to do.”