Linnea Stephens

Linnea finds herself at Iowa State

In high school, Linnea’s involvements in sports and student council provided her with a sense of identity. After high school, she attended a college in St. Paul, Minnesota for elementary education but soon realized her unhappiness. St. Paul felt too confined and didn’t offer enough diversity. She dropped out of school and moved back home.

Most of her friends attended college, so at home Linnea felt alone and confused. She projected to her family she was all right, but inside she felt isolated.  

“In high school, I was an athlete and in student council, and it was all stripped away,” Linnea said. “It was like, who am I?”

Her family noticed Linnea’s unhappiness and suggested she look into attending Iowa State. She initially dismissed the idea because Linnea’s older sister graduated from here, and it was too close to home.  After agreeing to a campus visit with her father, however, she changed her mind.

Shortly after classes began, she attended The Salt Company, a religious organization for students. Her faith and college experience helped Linnea regain her confidence and identity, as well as develop meaningful friendships.  Even though her personal life felt under control, she still couldn’t decide on a major.

“I knew I wanted to help people, but didn’t know how,” she said. “After listening to my roommate talk about her classes in child, adult, and family services, I knew it was a fit for me.”

After taking the introductory course, Linnea’s professor recommended she become a teaching assistant to guide new students in the program. She instantly jumped at the opportunity. She wanted to help other students who may feel lost and confused.

Linnea’s involvement with the Salt Company and as a teaching assistant opened her eyes to the diversity at Iowa State, which she appreciates.

“Iowa State gives me community, and I love being around people who inspire me to grow,” she said. “Getting to be around people different than you makes your heart bigger and broadens your desire to help.”