Tanna Mafnas

Tanna Mafnas wants to improve people’s lives

Tanna Mafnas began her adventure at Iowa State as an engineer. After working in a factory, Tanna realized she wanted to help the people instead of solving the technical problems.

“I was more interested in my co-workers’ problems,” she said. “And I knew then that working behind the scenes at a computer solving crises wasn’t for me.”

Tanna started to teach a cycling class for employees. From there, she researched careers where she could continue helping others improve their lives through muscle movement. Now, she is on her way to becoming a pediatric occupational therapist.

Tanna worked with kids with learning disabilities and loved it. She enjoyed helping the kids through playing. One little boy she recalls only liked coloring socially and not alone. Tanna and other staff members worked with him one on one. It took a few stages from them holding his pencil with him to drawing a picture and asking him to color. Finally, they asked him to color a picture on his own, and he did.

“It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” she said. “Improving children’s writing and playing skills is important because it helps kids interact with their peers. That’s what a pediatric occupational therapist does, and I can’t imagine doing anything else in my future now.”

Tanna is a peer mentor and involved in many clubs on campus to help her reach her career goals, which she feels she discovered thanks to Iowa State.

“ISU taught me a lot about time management, but also to find your passion,” she said. “It is helping me become the best version of myself, and that’s how I want to leave here.”