Alumni Profile: Dr. Hong Sik (Peter) Park ’62 ’64


Half a century’s worth of changes evaporated as Hong Sik (Peter) Park (BS ’62 dairy industry, MS ’64 dairy industry) climbed the stairs of Iowa State’s Food Science Building. Here was the place he had called home for five years, a familiar façade amidst a transformed campus.

Originally from South Korea, Park’s path to Iowa State and the dairy industry seemed like a long shot. He grew up poor, the eldest son of eight children in his family. Park was just 13 years old during the Korean War and spent three months under communist control in Seoul. “There was no food, no freedom,” Park said. “Men were hiding, literally hiding underground because they knew if found they would be sent to the front lines.”

When General Douglas MacArthur and the United States soldiers marched though and liberated the city, Park recalled people pouring into the streets, crying and thanking them. “That’s why I did everything in my life,” Park explained, “To give back, to pay back everything the United States did for Korea.”

By 1959, Park was well on his way to giving back. He had completed two years of study in agricultural chemistry at Seoul University as well as a year of military service and qualified to study in the United States.

A heartfelt discussion with one of his professors convinced Park that he needed to study dairy industry. Korea’s dairy industry at that time consisted of less than 1000 head of cattle in the entire country. Park recognized that boosting dairy production could help bolster the Korean economy while also providing better nutrition to the county’s citizens. Iowa State’s dairy industry major, which ranked as one of the top programs nationally, was where Park landed.

“When I came to the US I hardly had any money,” Park said. He spent his first quarter as a student at ISU living on eggs, peanut butter and bread that he kept in his room. Those who knew him insisted that he needed to eat at least one hot meal a day and becoming a bus boy in Friley Hall made that possible. Park recalls sitting down to his first hot breakfast in months and feeling overwhelmed by the kindness of others.

Over the next four years Park threw himself into his studies and activities. He worked hard to improve his English skills and vocabulary. He completed internships and learned more about the production of milk, cheese and ice cream. He created a program called Calves for Korea in hopes of raising enough money to purchase a dairy herd for his home country.

Park agreed to add one additional activity to his already full plate when in March of 1963 he became the instructor for Iowa State’s newly formed judo club. He assumed he would have one student and was shocked when more than 200 students turned up for the club’s first meeting. Rather than turning students away, Park led three classes each day Monday through Saturday to meet the demand.

In the years after he left Iowa State, Park pursued his career in the dairy industry, ultimately becoming the vice president of research and development and quality control at Marigold Foods, the largest dairy company in the Midwest. After retirement, Park served as a technical advisor to the Seoul Dairy Coop where he was able to advance Korea’s dairy industry as he had always hoped. “That success was from my education, industry-wide,” Park said. “I was very lucky, the Iowa State campus did that for me; the foundation was here.”

This summer, more than five decades later, Park revisited campus for the first time. As a student, Park lived for five years in the basement of the Dairy Industry Building (now known as the Food Science Building) free-of-charge while providing security for the space. As he explored the building today, much has changed beyond that familiar façade. The rooms are different, the building has expanded, but Park’s emotions remain steadfast. “My main memory is people’s kindness,” Park said. “I met so many nice people who helped me when I needed it. This place did that for me.”

— Coreen Robinson

The cold truth


Over the last century, nearly all of the earth’s glaciers have shrunk, some of them dramatically. All of the glaciers in Glacier National Park, Mont., are expected to disappear in the next 15 years. New studies show that the Greenland ice sheet has lost 10 billion tons of ice per year since 2003 – 10 billion tons per year.

One professor at Iowa State has studied glaciers for more than 30 years. Neal Iverson (’83 geology), professor of geological & atmospheric sciences, is currently studying drumlins (streamlined hills that form beneath glaciers) and glacial movement. His fieldwork has taken him to the Alps, the Canadian Rockies, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland.

Iverson spent the spring semester as a Fulbright scholar in Trondheim, Norway. VISIONS spoke with him via email; the following is an edited transcript of the discussion.

VISIONS: Tell us about your current research projects.
iverson1IVERSON: We are studying the sediments that make up drumlins that have formed beneath the glacier Múlajökull in central Iceland. These drumlins are unusual because they have been shaped by a modern glacier over the last century, rather than having formed during a past ice age. We study the magnetic properties of the sediment, which tell us about the patterns of sediment movement under the glacier, and the degree of sediment compaction, which tells us about the stress at the bottom of the glacier that affected the sediment’s mobility.

We also do experiments in the laboratory that simulate the physics of glacier sliding – the process whereby glaciers slip over their beds and achieve high speeds, as high as 150 feet per day in extreme cases. The goal is to develop relationships that can be used in numerical models aimed at predicting increasing speeds of glaciers that terminate in the ocean – those rates of flow are a major factor affecting sea level rise.

What do you hope this research will tell us?
The fieldwork in Iceland is aimed at understanding how drumlins form. The work has been made possible by climate warming, which has caused the glacier to shrink and expose the drumlins for study. Results of the laboratory experiments, through their inclusion in numerical models of ice sheets, could help shed light on the extent of future glacier accelerations due to climate warming.

Why is the study of drumlins important?
Drumlins are elongate hills orientated in the direction of glacier flow. They occur in groups of as many as 10,000 individuals, hidden from view under glaciers. No one yet knows how they form, despite 150 years of study and more than 1,000 publications. Drumlins are also of interest these days because, by sticking up into the base of modern ice sheets and affecting resistance to glacier slip, they could affect how quickly parts of ice sheets move and shed ice into the oceans.

Do you include students in your research?
Many of my students have worked on glacial sediments in the Midwest because that is their interest, having grown up in the Midwest. Others have in interest in modern glacial environments, often stimulated by their love of hiking, climbing, etc. These students have worked on a glacier in northern Sweden called Storglaciären, studying its flow behavior; in tunnels beneath the Svartisen Ice Cap in Norway, studying its sliding mechanics; and most recently in Iceland studying drumlins and other landforms at Múlajökull. Students participate in all aspects of the research.

How long have you been studying glaciers?
Thirty-two years. In the spring of 1983 I graduated from Iowa State and joined a University of Minnesota field project for the summer – 80 days of camping in front of a glacier in northern Sweden, where we studied its mass balance (gain or loss of ice) and speed. I ended up doing my Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota and have been studying glaciers continuously since then.

How cold does it get where you’re working?
We work in August in Iceland, so it is not that cold. Temperatures have ranged in August from about freezing to 55 degrees F. The bigger problems are high winds (sometimes sustained winds of 60 mph) and rain, both of which are common and make working hard or sometimes impossible.

Describe your working conditions.
We camp in front of the glacier and have a cook tent that makes cooking and eating a lot easier than if we had only sleeping tents. Working consists of walking several miles each day to a particular drumlin, digging to expose fresh sediments not disturbed by slope processes, and then spending the day working in the resultant pit carefully collecting sediment samples. It is dirty work that is hard on aging knees and backs but quite enjoyable when the weather is good.

What do you wear for protection from the cold?
Most of us wear synthetic inner layers that retain most of their warmth when wet and an outer  shell that breaks the wind and is waterproof. On our feet we wear boots that are rigid to allow walking on loose stones and sufficiently waterproof to allow the many streams in the area to be crossed.

You got a B.S. at Iowa State – were you an Iowa kid? If so, how did you get interested in glaciers of all things?
I grew up in Ames until I was eight and thereafter in Sioux City, where my father worked for ISU Extension. My parents took us each year camping in the Rockies. It was seeing glaciers – and the spectacular Alpine landscapes they produce – on some of those trips, that got me interested in glaciers. Also, glaciology is rooted in basic physics (mechanics and thermodynamics), subjects that I really enjoyed as an undergraduate at ISU.

Gathering Storm


Partha Sarkar advocates that homes and buildings in tornado alley be designed to withstand EF3 tornadoes
By Mike Krapfl

The Iowa State University Tornado Simulator kicked up a thick and slowly spinning funnel cloud over a model of a small town, overwhelming the miniature streets, buildings, and homes.

Partha Sarkar turned from the laboratory vortex and explained, “That’s an EF3.”

Most tornadoes (about 90 percent of them) are EF3 or less in intensity. And so Sarkar advocates that homes and buildings within tornado alley across the middle of the U.S. be designed to withstand EF3 tornadoes and their top wind speeds of 165 mph.

Sarkar, an Iowa State professor of aerospace engineering, knows something about the biggest tornadoes. He walked the debris fields of Parkersburg in 2008 and Joplin, Mo., in 2010, and has seen what the 200-plus mph winds of EF5 storms can do to cities, buildings, and people.

To study the interaction of tornadoes with man-made structures, he designed and built a tornado simulator that can create and move a tornado-like vortex back and forth over a test bed. He, his coworkers, and Iowa State students have worked with the simulator for a decade, studying the loads and pressures caused by laboratory storms passing over models of homes and buildings.

But, Sarkar said, there’s still a lot engineers don’t understand about tornado winds: How, for example, do nearby structures and terrain affect those winds? How do building codes, building ages, structure shapes, roof types, and even construction quality influence tornado damage? How do internal pressures inside buildings influence tornado damage? And, how are the wind loads distributed and shared by a building’s components, such as roof sheathing, roof trusses, walls, studs, and nails?

To find these answers, the National Science Foundation has awarded a pair of three-year, $250,000 collaborative research grants to Sarkar and to Texas Tech University researchers Daan Liang, an associate professor of construction engineering and engineering technology, and Xinzhong Chen, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering.

As part of this new project, “We will try to quantify the uncertainties in estimating tornado winds and the corresponding structural damage,” Sarkar said.

To do that, Sarkar said his research group will use the latest advances in tornado simulation, data acquisition, and computer modeling to answer engineering questions about tornado winds and their effects on buildings.

One result of this research could be refinements to the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale that considers storm damage to measure the strength of tornadoes. Another result could be new provisions in building codes and construction practices for tornado-resistant buildings.

“The overarching goal of this research is to enhance society’s resiliency to tornadoes through innovative design and construction of building components and systems in tornado-prone regions,” the Iowa State and Texas Tech researchers wrote in a project summary.

At Iowa State, Sarkar said the grant will support experiments and data collection with the tornado simulator. One experiment, for example, will study actual buildings damaged in tornadoes by creating computer and physical models of the buildings and their structural failures. The computer models will be refined and verified by running lab tornadoes over the physical models. The computational models – called finite element models – will help researchers understand and predict the damage caused by tornado winds.

Data from the experiments and models will also be shared with the Texas Tech construction engineers who will study building performance in tornado winds.

“In the long run,” the researchers wrote in their summary, “the research is expected to contribute to methods and strategies that can be implemented for preventing tornado hazards from becoming disasters.”

Career Corner: Don’t Forget the Questions

By Katie Lickteig, Assistant Director of Outreach & Events

Recently, I’ve been sitting in on some interviews for an open position we have in the office, and it’s reminded me about an aspect of interviewing that sometimes gets overlooked: asking questions! No, not from the interviewer’s side of the table, but from the interviewee.

It’s usually common for an interviewee to ask about the office culture or what the organization is looking for in a candidate (although I’m sometimes surprised at how many candidates don’t ask any questions). And that’s all great information to gather. What impresses me more and what makes candidates more memorable to me is when they ask questions that show they’ve done some research and have already pictured working with the staff and what would that be like and what challenges would that present. Whether it’s accurate or not, candidates who ask several specific questions related to the job seem like they want the job more than candidates who don’t ask any.

Cy’s Suitcase Travel News: June 2015

Cy's Suitcase Web Banner - SIZED

Travel Tips

1) Make sure your cell phone number is on your luggage tag. If someone grabs your bag by mistake and discovers it before they leave the airport or the parking ramp, they can call you before you get too far.

2) If you have a copy of a valuable document, it’s easier to replace the original. In fact, make two sets of photocopies of your passport or driver’s license. (For debit and credit cards, just record the numbers, rather than photocopy them.) Pack one copy and leave the other with a friend at home to be faxed or emailed to you in case of an emergency.

3) Get your shut eye: Some people have trouble sleeping in a hotel room because the drapes won’t stay overlapped enough to keep the sunlight out. If you don’t have anything to keep them shut, head for the closet and a pants hanger that clamps together, and stick them on the drapes.

Time to Shop!

Upcoming trips

  • Passage to the Patagonia & the Antarctic
    (Jan. 26-Feb. 15)
  • Mystical India
    (Feb. 14-March 1)
  • Tanzania Wildlife Safari
    (Feb. 22-March 4)
    Shellie says: “I was fortunate to host this trip last year and it was amazing! We slept in luxury tents, heard the sounds from the African plains at night, and had elephants visit us at our camp! The guides were so amazing. They truly love their country and what they do. They are knowledgeable, considerate, and have a great sense of humor! Seeing all the animals, including the big five, was beyond words. Truly the trip of a lifetime. I recommend this trip highly!
  • Atolls & Islands
    (March 25-April 4)

Please go to for a complete listing of our trips.

Community Planning


Jake Stodola of Cedar Rapids, a third-year landscape architecture student, and Maclaine Sorden of Creston (’11 community and regional planning / environmental studies), a graduate student working toward a master’s in sustainable agriculture and landscape architecture, present their design to transform the Des Moines Social Club courtyard into an edible landscape.

The ISU Community Design Lab’s Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit provides a framework to help communities improve their local food systems
By Carole Gieseke

In the heart of downtown Des Moines, teams of Iowa State students are presenting their unique visions toward a singular goal: growing food in the city.

The designs, presented at the Des Moines Social Club at 9th and Mulberry last fall, take advantage of urban spaces like courtyards, rooftops, and alleyways. These “public edible landscapes” are just one small part of a growing movement to create holistic food systems that assist in community redevelopment, revitalization, and sustainability.

“It’s important to work with communities,” says Courtney Long (’10 landscape architecture, MS ’12 sustainable agriculture), design fellow in the ISU Department of Landscape Architecture. Long facilitates the Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit, a project of the College of Design’s Community Design Lab.

Funded by a grant from Iowa State’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and launched in 2014, the Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit, by design, has a lot of moving parts. Three pilot communities in Iowa – Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Cresco – were selected to go through a process of developing agricultural urbanism tactics with the goal of promoting local food system revitalization.

Each community is unique, with a different overarching focus and a distinct set of tactics that will be implemented in 2015. Following an initial look at policy changes, for example, the Des Moines workgroup will create neighborhood networks including food hubs, edible landscapes, and a food box pilot program, with a long-term goal of creating an urban farm.

Cresco, a rural community that has the potential to serve as a year-round regional food hub, is partnering with local food co-ops, rural producers, and community programs to establish community orchards, a school garden/faith garden partnership, and an educational farm.

Community planners in Cedar Rapids envision a comprehensive city food system plan, and they aim to direct projects at the human scale that residents can learn from and use at home and around the city. Catalyst projects include an urban orchard, partnership for a shared kitchen, and demonstration sites of agricultural urbanism practices.

In addition to these communities, three new Iowa towns will be selected for the project this year. The Leopold Center recently extended the Toolkit funding for two additional years.

“A local food system needs to include both rural and urban agricultural activities,” Long said. “The Toolkit helps these activities work together to meet the needs of a broader community.”

She said that local leaders in and outside the state of Iowa are encouraged to view the Toolkit model online at to garner ideas for their own communities.

Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit tactics
• Edible residential gardening
• Faith gardens
• School gardens
• Public edible landscaping
• Community-supported agriculture
• Urban farming
• Community gardens
• Farmers markets
• Local markets / public markets
• Food trucks
• Restaurants
• Rural & sustainable farming
• Processing facilities
• Food hubs
• Food box programs
• Shared-use kitchens
• Food-enterprise centers
• Education centers
• Marketing & awareness campaigns
• Food policy councils

Outside of the Box

Iowa State University boxer Olivia Meyer of Dyersville is the first ISU female boxer to compete and win a title in the National Collegiate Boxing Association National Championships. (Photo by Christopher Gannon)

Iowa State University boxer Olivia Meyer of Dyersville is the first ISU female boxer to compete and win a title in the National Collegiate Boxing Association National Championships. (Photo by Christopher Gannon)

Dyersville native Olivia Meyer, a kinesiology major, discovered the sport of boxing while attending ISU’s annual “Clubfest” showcase her freshman year. She played soccer in high school, she says, and wanted to find a collegiate pursuit that would allow her to keep up her fitness and perhaps give her a chance to compete. Today, Meyer is president of the ISU Boxing Club, the club’s lone female competitor, a National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) national champion, and a Glamour magazine “Phenomenal Woman of the Year Who is Making a Difference.” VISIONS recently caught up with Meyer to find out what drives her in the sport of boxing.

With all the clubs and activities available on campus, what made you choose boxing?
A lot of people ask me that question, and I don’t have a fantastic answer. I think I was inspired by the movie “Million Dollar Baby,” because I love Clint Eastwood. So it was just an itsy bitsy spark – not a huge flame. But I went over to the practices and just kind of hit it off.

What was it like walking into the boxing club as a novice?
Initially, it is intimidating. But once you figure out you’re surrounded by a whole bunch of other people like you who just want to learn how to box, and everybody is really nice about it, everything is okay. Some people are just there for the workout – and that’s okay, too, and a lot of people drop out. But eventually you actually have to work with partners and spar – that’s the whole point of boxing, you know. We have maintained about five people who officially compete, and I am the only woman. The first couple of times you’re sparring, it’s awful. After the first time I got into the ring I didn’t want to do it again because I just felt like, “Wow, I’m awful. I’m terrible.” But it just takes practice.

So, if you’re the only woman in the club who spars, does that mean you practice against men who are larger than you are?
Yep; I have to. Sometimes you have to tell them to slow down or stop, but they’re pretty good about it. If you tell them to step off, they’ll step off. But I’ve ripped my eardrum several times, had a bloody nose, lip, you know – what you’d expect.

What does it take to train as a competitive boxer?
You have to come two hours a day, six to seven days a week, and then you also have to train outside of practice with high intensity cardiovascular training, muscle training, and endurance training. I’d say I put in about three to four hours a day just training for boxing, and that’s a significant amount. It’s demanding, but if you like it I think it’s worth it.

Tell us about winning the NBCA title.
Well, I competed against the same girl at regionals and nationals because there aren’t many girls in the sport. So just realize that, compared to the guys who had to fight four or five guys to get there, I didn’t have to do as much. The competition was held in Eisenhower Hall on the military base at West Point, so everything was high security and intense. They had videocameras and CBS television there and they interviewed me after – which was good, because my family was able to watch it on TV when it aired.

How does your family feel about you boxing?
My dad has four girls and is the only guy in our family, so I think he’s happy about it. But obviously, none of them like to see me get hurt. I don’t think Mom could ever watch it; she’s still supportive, but she doesn’t want to watch it.

How did you end up in Glamour magazine?
I got an email from the freelancer, who was looking for women from each state to feature. I immediately called my mom. She laughed and said, “Well, Glamour’s not really your magazine – but go for it.”

You have said it is difficult to find fights. Do you wish more women would enter the sport?
I would love to see more women enter the sport. It’s upsetting to see so many people sign up and be super excited and come to practice but eventually fade away. It’s like, “Nooooo! Come back!” But we see the same number of men get excited, too, and drift away for the same reasons. While I think women leave the sport at the same rate as men do, I do think because of male physiology it’s a little easier for [men] to work at the high intensity without going through muscle atrophy. You definitely have to put in a lot of work.

What do you love about boxing?
I actually really like training for it. But I also do like the moment before you get in the ring and have all the adrenaline rushing through you. I get scared before every fight. I get nervous. Once you step in the ring, you just get tunnel vision. It’s you and the opponent; everything else around you is a blur for that 10 minutes that you’re in there. It’s a really cool experience.”