Five Things

Happy Monday to Cyclones everywhere. Here are five things to put on your Iowa State radar this week:

1) Last Friday the Iowa Board of Regents appointed the official search committee for the next ISU president. The committee will be co-chaired by Dan Houston, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group, and Luis Rico-Gutierrez, Dean of the College of Design. The ISU Alumni Association has two representatives: attorney Steve Zumbach (’73 ag business) and retired CPA Thea “Ted” Oberlander (’77 accounting & indus admin), both of Des Moines. Learn more about the committee and the search process online.


2) Also last Friday, the Iowa State softball team made history by notching its first-ever win against Texas. The Cyclones, who are set to start a six-game homestand Wednesday, won 4-2 on the road at McCombs Field.

3) Speaking of the Cyclones and Texas, the Longhorns were the only team the Cyclones couldn’t take down at this weekend’s Big 12 women’s golf championship in San Antonio; Iowa State finished a strong second at the league championship, marking its eighth-straight finish in the top half of the Big 12 and setting up the Cyclones to earn an eighth-straight NCAA regional bid this Thursday. The Cyclone men — who have won three tournaments this season — start play in their league championship today in Hutchinson, Kan.


4) In celebration of National Preservation Week, the experts at Parks Library are hosting a series of events this week called “Ask the Experts.” Preservation staff will be on hand to assist the public with handling, preserving, and archiving heirlooms and collectibles during events Tuesday morning, Wednesday afternoon, and Thursday afternoon in the Parks Library lobby.

5) We at the Alumni Association have extended the deadline for applications to be our next Assistant Director of Constituent Engagement and SALC advisor. You can now continue to apply online through April 30.

Five Things

Happy Monday! Here are five things to put on your Iowa State radar this week:

1) It’s a time of transition at ISU, and not just at the very top as we search for a new president. Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert has named John Lawrence as the interim replacement for Cathann Kress (’83 social work) – who is leaving ISU for Ohio State – as vice president for extension and outreach, and Pat Halbur as interim replacement for Lisa Nolan – who is leaving ISU for the University of Georgia – as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Lawrence (’84 an sci, MS ’86 ag econ), associate dean for extension programs and outreach in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and extension director for agriculture and natural resources, became acting VP March 31 and will become interim VP April 29. Halbur (DVM ’86, MS ’92 vet pathology, PhD ’95), professor and chair of the veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine department, will begin serving as acting vet med dean June 1 and interim dean July 1. National searches for both positions are expected to commence in the coming months.

2) HC2017_logo_186_142_whiteIn case you missed it, the 2017 ISU Homecoming theme has been announced: Sound the CYren. Mark your calendar for Oct. 22-28 and get all the latest info at

3) There are lots of great, timely and relevant lectures going on this week on campus, including the Greenlee School’s annual First Amendment Day celebration keynote address Thursday when Pulitzer Prize winner Glenn Smith will speak about watchdog journalism in the MU Great Hall. Other lectures on the agenda this week include tonight’s “GI’s and Jews after the Holocaust” (7 p.m., Great Hall), tomorrow morning’s College of Business CEO speaker series event with Union Pacific’s Lance Fritz (9:30 a.m., 1148 Gerdin) and tomorrow night’s “The History of Politics of Russian-American Hacking” (7 p.m., Great Hall). As always, ISU lectures are free and open to the public.



4) This Friday is the deadline for Iowa Staters to purchase discounted tickets for Iowa State Night at the Iowa Barnstormers April 29 at Wells Fargo Arena. The Barnstormers won their third-straight game Saturday night to move to 5-2; it’s definitely a great time to check out a hot team and have some fun with Iowa State friends next Saturday night.

5) From the “Hey! She went to Iowa State!” file: Readers of Real Simple magazine may have noticed an ISU College of Design alum featured in the April issue. Pamela Abalu (BArch ’01), chief architect and global head of design and construction at MetLife Inc. in New York City, is highlighted on pages 105-106 (go to 94-95 on the slider bar at the link provided).


Solar food dehydrator battles food waste


“I came to Iowa State with an interest in development. I’ve always had a passion for helping others and I love to travel,” Mikayla Sullivan says. A senior double-majoring in global resource systems and administration in agriculture with a minor in political science, Sullivan combined her interests into one unique business venture: KinoSol.

KinoSol is a company and a product – one Sullivan helped co-found alongside other student entrepreneurs Elise Kendall, Ella Gehrke, and Clayton Mooney.

“KinoSol is a social-good startup focused on saving energy and decreasing post-harvest loss in developing countries,” Sullivan said. e team created a mobile, solar-powered food dehydrator for fruits, vegetables, insects, and grains that will increase food preservation and is currently being sold worldwide.

Yet, how does an Iowa State student go from cramming for tests to selling an invention around the globe? It’s the unique Iowa State student experience – one full of hands-on opportunities to succeed.

The KinoSol team was one of the first groups to participate in CYstarters, a 10-week summer student accelerator launched in 2016 by the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship for students or recent graduates to focus on their startup ideas. “CYstarters is the only accelerator program for students I have ever heard about that provides funding, housing, and mentoring to help get your idea off the ground,” Sullivan said.

Within the past year, Sullivan has also traveled to Ireland to attend a startup conference and to Thailand to complete needs assessments focused on food security.

Before KinoSol, Sullivan needed the space to truly pursue her passions. “Receiving scholarship support provided me the opportunity to spend my time figuring out what I’m passionate about. I could spend time in clubs, travel for internships, and hone my business skills instead of having to seek out a job in order to cover tuition,” she said.

“Starting a business while still in college is something most people don’t do, or don’t always understand. Life becomes a balancing act between the business and school, and many times I have to sacrifice extra social time in order to keep working on KinoSol. But knowing I could leave a big impact on the world puts a lot of things into perspective for me.”

If it weren’t for scholarship support in the earlier years of Sullivan’s college career, KinoSol may have never come to fruition. But because of the opportunities and support offered to her as a student, she can look ahead to tackling one of the biggest challenges to date: world hunger.

Student support – including scholarship funding and global opportunities – is one of the three main aspirations of the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign. To learn more about the campaign vision or how to get involved, visit

This article was originally published in VISIONS magazine. To receive the full issue delivered to your mailbox four times per year, become a member of the ISU Alumni Association.

Five Things

Happy Monday! Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:

1) We at the Alumni Association are continuing to celebrate Cyclones Everywhere with stories, events, and more. Be sure to visit our new Cyclones Everywhere website if you haven’t already. And if you want to know more about what “Cyclones Everywhere” is all about, be sure to check out our new video:

Share your own story by using the hashtag #CyclonesEverywhere or contact us directly at (877) 478-2586 or

2) Last Friday the Alumni Association and ISU Foundation teamed up to present their annual Distinguished Awards to alumni and friends. If you missed the opportunity to see these tremendous individuals honored in person, you can always catch the replay. Congratulations to 2017 honorees Susan Carlson, Larry Ebbers, W. Eugene Lloyd, Lora and Russ Talbot, Roy and Bobbi Reiman, Richard and Joan Stark, Steven T. Schuler, Danfoss Power Solutions, and William Hoefle.

Debbie Bergstrom, who was slated to receive the Honorary Alumni Award from the ISUAA, was unable to attend due to a family illness. She will now receive her award next April at the 2018 Distinguished Awards Celebration.


3) A boost to Iowa State’s already-impressive art collection is the latest big announcement coming out of Forever True, for Iowa State — the university’s $1.1 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. Fifteen Sculptures and 14 drawings by American artist Manuel Neri have been given to Iowa State from the Manuel Neri Trust of Benicia, Calif., with a total overall value of $1,275,000.

4) More hiring at the Alumni Association: Our digital communication specialist position was closed for applications last week, but now we have two new active job postings: Alumni Center Program Assistant and Assistant Director for Constituent Engagement and SALC advisor. Apply by April 21 and 23, respectively.

5) From the “Hey! She went to Iowa State!” file: Bloomberg News White House correspondent Jennifer Jacobs, the journalist credited with breaking last week’s news that presidential advisor Steve Bannon was being removed from the principals committee of the National Security Council, was all over the television and radio news programs late last week and over the weekend talking about the story. The 1993 ISU English graduate is a former Des Moines Register reporter.


Five Things

Happy Monday and Happy April, Cyclones! Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:


1) April is National Volunteer month, and we at Iowa State are in the swing of things with Cy’s Days of Service. Whether you’re participating in a regular volunteer activity, organizing a project just for Cy’s Days, or looking for an opportunity to engage with a group, we have the resources you need to get started, find existing group volunteer opportunities, and log your hours on our website at Last year Iowa State alumni and friends volunteered 2,781 hours in the name of ISU — let’s try to top 3,000 in 2017.

cdos_dfwBe sure to send us your photos or share them online by tagging @isualum and/or #CyclonesEverywhere.

The Iowa State Alumni of Dallas-Fort Worth (pictured, right) and the Iowa State Alumni of Phoenix are among the local groups that have already completed group service projects this weekend. More opportunities are listed on our website.

2) We have two deadlines coming up this week at the Alumni Association: the last chance to apply for our brand-new Digital Communication Specialist position is this Wednesday, and the deadline to register for our complimentary April 13 alumni reception in Omaha is this Thursday. No more time to procrastinate!

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3) The spring 2017 issue of VISIONS magazine hit mailboxes late last week, and we’ve already received positive feedback on the special “Global Hunger” issue, which includes a feature on ISU’s Sustainable Rural Livelihoods program in Uganda. Editor Carole Gieseke and photographer Jim Heemstra traveled to Uganda for the story — and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Oh, and they have the photos to prove it. To see even more images from Uganda beyond what was published in the magazine, you can view our Adobe Spark gallery online at

portraits4) Here on campus, we’re right in the thick of an exciting 9-day artist residency during which Rose Frantzen is live-painting portraits of prominent Iowa State faces in the lower gallery of the Christian Petersen Art Museum, 0003 Morrill Hall. All portrait sessions will be open to the public to display Frantzen’s artistic process as it unfolds. Learn more about the project, as well as about the subjects that have been and are yet to be painted, online.

5) Today is National “Find a Rainbow” Day. We have the rain part covered here in Ames, but we’re just missing the necessary sunshine. After several days of gloomy weather, it’s expected to rain again all day on campus. The good news? Warmer, dryer weather is coming in later this week and the current forecast calls for a high of 66 degrees and likely dry conditions for Saturday’s Cyclone Gridiron Club Spring Game at Jack Trice Stadium. We’d take that. Keep your fingers crossed.

Have a great week!


Creating a sustainable future

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Iowa State program is improving the lives of rural Ugandans, one person at a time

Since 2004, Iowa State’s Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods has made an impact on nearly 60,000 people in Uganda’s Kamuli District – one of the poorest regions of that East African country – by improving access to clean water, nutrition and health for mothers and infants, school gardens, livestock and entrepreneurial activities, and crop and livestock extension programs.

Last summer, VISIONS editor Carole Gieseke and photographer Jim Heemstra spent six days in Kamuli District, visiting schools, farms, homes, and nutrition centers. Their timing allowed them to shadow Iowa State service-learning students and attend local-level planning meetings. Here’s just a glimpse of this truly remarkable program.

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BETH BALWANA’S YOUNG SON, SIMON, was failing to thrive. At a year old, he was thin, malnourished, ill.

The future for this small boy living in Uganda’s rural Kamuli District was uncertain. And then Beth learned about an organization that changed his life – and hers.

The ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods had  established eight Nutrition Education Centers (NECs) at homes throughout the district. A friend told Beth the NECs would provide services that could help Simon and the rest of her children: nutrition education, healthy food preparation, and other tools that could improve the family’s health and sanitation.

After 6 months, Simon’s health improved. Today, he is a healthy, happy, active boy. During our visit to the family’s home, Simon climbed on the photographer, gleefully touching the cameras and running barefoot through the yard.

Beth and her husband, also named Simon, have much to be grateful for. Trainers at the NEC not only provided cups of thick, nutritious porridge to feed to their malnourished son, they also provided the seed needed to grow the ingredients for the porridge. Beth returned to the center each week for training and was accepted into a livestock extension program to learn to raise chickens. The resulting poultry project has added much-needed protein to her family’s diet, and income from the sale of eggs and birds has allowed them to pay school fees and repay the poultry loan.

Through a translator, Beth told us she is grateful for the support from the ISU-Uganda Program. “There is a change in our livelihood,” she said. “We were not well. ISU-UP gave us trainings and knowledge. Our children are healthy.”

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Establishing a sustainable presence
The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) has been working together with the people of the Kamuli District since 2004. The center and its partners have addressed hunger and poverty through agriculture, nutrition, and youth education. As a result, the lives of thousands of families have been improved.

The project began in 2000 when Gerald (’62 agricultural business) and Karen (’08 honorary) Kolschowsky encouraged Iowa State to get involved in grassroots antipoverty and sustainable agriculture programs in the developing world. The couple funded start-up activities that included visits by College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty and staff to countries in Africa and South America, with the goal of developing a system for improving food security for the local people that could be readily replicated elsewhere.

The country of Uganda and its impoverished Kamuli District was chosen because of its potential for great impact and its relative lack of attention from Western aid workers. Uganda exhibited significant signs of poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition. Its overall human development was among the lowest in the world.

First initiatives in the fledgling program included Ugandan farmer case studies, food security in communities affected by HIV/AIDS, animal breeding and production, and a Ugandan school garden program. Through the years, the Kolschowskys’ program funding has allowed Iowa State flexibility in ways the project could advance, and it has since expanded to include a service-learning program for Iowa State students (along with students from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda), community boreholes to provide a fresh and convenient water source, school lunch programs, expanded nutrition education, and youth entrepreneurship.

In October 2011 Iowa State began to explore the idea of registering as an independent non-governmental organization (NGO) in Uganda in order to reduce bureaucratic complexity. The NGO, officially named the Iowa State University-Uganda Program (ISU-UP), was approved in November 2013. The program is staff ed year-round by Ugandan professionals and administered by Iowa State faculty and staff .

Healthy and proud
Like Beth Balwana, smallholder farmer Madinah Nabirye began her connection with ISU-UP when a prenatal nurse at the local health center suggested that she would benefit from the services of a nearby NEC. A nutrition trainer there told her that, as she was in the early stages of pregnancy, she was “in the right position to take porridge,” and she continued to consume high-calorie porridge throughout her pregnancy and as she breastfed her newborn. When the baby turned 6 months old, he also began taking the nutritious porridge and is currently a healthy, curious 2-year-old.

Madinah showed us her farm, a garden filled with cassava plants, maize, orange-flesh sweet potatoes, and other diverse crops. She received seed from the NEC to grow ingredients for the porridge.

As we walked down the red dirt path separating her family’s land from the neighboring farm, Madinah exuberantly shouted greetings to people on the road – friends and neighbors traveling by foot and by bicycle. The translator – ISU-UP staffer Moureen Mbeiza – told us Madinah is happy to show us her farm. She is proud that people came all the way from Iowa to visit her.

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Life-changing experiences
Not long aft er the launch of their sustainable livelihoods project in Uganda, Iowa State leaders and their Makerere University counterparts folded an undergraduate service-learning component into the program goals. In 2005 when the service-learning program was developed, higher education experts observed that many study-abroad opportunities for U.S. students focused on Western Europe or other developed countries; however, an estimated 95 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in less developed areas in the next 50 years. Especially for students in agriculture and global resource systems majors, an opportunity for a hands-on experience in a developing country would be invaluable.

“The Makerere/ISU student collaboration is very intentional,” explained Tom Brumm, the Mary and Charles Sukup Global Professor in Food Security in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering. Brumm, who serves as associate director of the CSRL, is a faculty leader for Iowa State’s student service learning program in Uganda, and he’s been traveling with students to the Kamuli District for the past eight years.

In addition to learning about the human and agricultural challenges in sub-Saharan Africa, for six weeks each summer students from the two universities work together, live together, travel together, and learn about each other’s cultures. Together, the students teach school children in classrooms and work with them in school gardens. They form bi-national teams and work together on a variety of projects.

The following fall semester, ISU students spend time on presentations and reflection.

Brumm said, “The first session when we get back, when classes start in the fall, we do a ‘go-round’ and ask the students two questions: ‘What do you do differently than you did before you went on this trip?’ And ‘What do you notice about American society that you didn’t notice before?’

“I cry, listening to these young people talk about how their perspective has changed, what is now important or not important, how they’re acting differently and trying to live their lives differently because of this experience,” Brumm continued. “It is so profound. And it happens every year. If I didn’t have any other reason to be involved in this program, that would be enough.”

The ISU service learners we met in Uganda last summer were hard-working, articulate, and grateful to be part of the program.

“A lot of times people go to countries that are underdeveloped and do what they call ‘voluntourism,’ where they volunteer to help out with certain things but they don’t really know the culture. They don’t know the importance of why they’re there,” observed Allie Wilson, a senior in animal science and global resource systems. “It’s easy to find a program that’ll take you to Africa, but it’s difficult to find a program that introduces you to the people living there and lets you live with them and learn with them.”

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School gardens cultivate food, knowledge
The symbiotic relationship between the school garden program and the school lunch program is a joy to behold.

As ISU and Makerere service learners are heaping dirt mounds with African hoes and planting orange-flesh sweet potatoes in the mid-day sun, primary school pupils are harvesting amaranth from a nearby field. The amaranth leaves will be cleaned, boiled in an enormous
pot over a wood fire, and served to students for lunch this day, along with orange-flesh sweet potatoes from an earlier harvest.

Later this afternoon, when classes dismiss for the day, many of the pupils will join the service learners in the field.

“I think the school gardens are amazing,” said Shana Hilgerson, an ISU junior in animal science, “because when we get the pupils out there to be involved, they’re running back and forth hauling water and they’re smiling and they’re happy and they’re just so excited to be out there working with us.”

And they’re learning, too: They’re learning about agriculture, and they’re taking that knowledge home to their parents to apply to their own small farms.

For some, the lunch they’re served at school – with many ingredients coming from the school’s own gardens – is the biggest, or perhaps only, meal of the day. So the nutritional quality and caloric content has to be high. Program guidelines ensure it will be. And, to come full circle in the process, school children participate in the harvesting of the vegetables, the preparation of the food to be cooked, and the cleanup of the dishes.

Boreholes (deep wells) are located near schools and throughout the district, thanks to funds donated by Iowa Staters to the CSRL. Boreholes provide a safer, more convenient alternative to fetching water from the river. Water is used for cooking, drinking, and hand-washing. The boreholes also ensure that the school gardens will survive in times of drought.

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The students are gone, but life goes on
When the university service learners go back to their own homes, schools, and jobs at summer’s end, the projects they have directed and observed during the summer months are still going on, thanks to the work of the year-round ISU-UP staff.

Nearly a dozen staff members, with skills ranging from community nutrition to agronomy to security, maintain each of the programs and reach out to the people of the Kamuli District much like ISU’s county extension specialists in Iowa.

Yvette Nikuze is a livestock extension specialist for ISU-UP, where she works to integrate livestock production, health, and market access for smallholder farmers. Yvette has a bachelor’s degree in animal health and production from Busoga University and worked with another agricultural NGO before joining the ISU-UP staff.

She introduced us to Rebecca Kyewankamalileku, another mother who initially connected with ISU-UP through the nutritional services she acquired for one of her children at a NEC. She subsequently began a poultry project that has improved her family’s health and finances.

“We didn’t used to eat eggs,” Rebecca said through our interpreter. Rebecca and her husband have nine children, with another on the way. The family’s small chicken facility was spotless and filled with healthy, noisy hens.

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Working together
Two of the key practices of the ISU-UP are its focus on partnerships and its sensitivity to understanding local culture and issues.

“We meet regularly with the leaders, residents, and beneficiaries of the programs in Kamuli – at all levels and in all programs,” said Gail Nonnecke, Morrill Professor, Global Professor in Global Resource Systems, and an associate director for the CSRL. “The overall goal is to make sure that the programs have valuable input from the participants. This participatory approach has been an excellent method to determine the needs, what works, and if there are any challenges.”

Having NGO status provides flexibility in adapting to local situations and responding to local needs, says Denise Bjelland, managing director for the CSRL.

“The NGO allows us to enjoy good rapport with people so that we can render assistance to those who are most in need and tailor assistance to their needs. It gives us the ability to communicate at all levels, from the neighborhood leaders to the top levels of government. It also facilitates the recruitment of experts and highly motivated staff .”

Registering as an NGO has provided greater ease in conducting business in Uganda – think banks, auditing firms, accountants, architects, and attorneys.

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Empowering women and youth through entrepreneurship
Lydia Abwin has her future mapped out: attend professional school, grow vegetables, rear chickens and pigs, start a beekeeping business, make and sell high-quality handcrafted items for extra money. Nowhere in her future plans does she mention getting married or starting a family. Lydia is an independent 18-year-old woman living in Kamuli District.

Her entrepreneurial spirit may have come, at least in part, from her participation in the Entrepreneurial Club at Namasagali College, another program of the ISU-UP. Some of the money she has raised from her activities has already allowed her to continue her schooling.

The Entrepreneurial Club trains secondary school students with life skills they’ll need after they graduate: skills such as money management, gardening and larger-scale agricultural pursuits, producing and marketing craft products, creating business plans, beekeeping, and more. In the group’s garden, located adjacent to the Nile, students are growing eggplant, tomatoes, grain amaranth, and other high-value crops. Right now, 45 pupils are members of the club, and it is growing in popularity. With the money they earn, some pupils are able to buy shoes and school materials.

One of the club’s graduates, David Waiswa, received training on raising poultry from the youth entrepreneurship program. From his sales, he was able to purchase a “lawn mower” – what we would call a weed-whacker – with which he can make additional money by helping other farmers manage their weeds.

“I managed to buy this machine and run my activities all with one flock of birds,” David told us. “I will get a second flock of birds soon.”

Entrepreneurial activities are also encouraged through the Nutrition Education Centers. Every Wednesday at the Naluwoli Field House, women gather to make crafts with brightly colored beads, patterned cloth, and natural raffia. The crafts program aims to provide life skills for mothers who arrived at the NECs seeking nutritional advice, and the outcome is additional money for the family’s budget. The crafts are sold at a local market in Kamuli.

“The mothers feel they own this – it’s theirs,” says Laura Byaruhanga, a community nutrition specialist with ISU-UP. Each woman contributes a fee for materials and receives a percentage of the profits.

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Saving lives
If there’s one program that is the heart and soul of the CSRL, it’s the Nutrition Education Centers. Eight centers scattered throughout Kamuli District have offered life-saving nutrition education to hundreds of mothers and infants.

“When you see the babies come in half dead and they come back to life, you’d never believe they’re the same child,” said Dorothy Masinde, senior lecturer in Global Resource Systems, associate director of nutrition education for the CSRL. “You can’t believe babies can be so malnourished. When we opened the first NEC, we had more than 100 people.”

The porridge served at the NECs is nothing less than a miracle cure. And the ingredients are sustainable. Masinde explained that the NECs don’t off er a ready-to-use powder but instead emphasize that the ingredients can be grown at home.

“We teach that the solution to your children’s problem is in your garden,” she said.

For Beth Balwana, Madinah Nabirye, Rebecca Kyewankamalileku, and so many other women in Kamuli District, the NECs were not just a solution for their children’s nutritional health but became a jumping-off place to learn about livestock projects, family planning, entrepreneurial activities, and more. The NECs are a community gathering spot where all families are welcome to train and learn.

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‘This is why we’re here’
A new residential training center is currently under construction in Kamuli District, representing a strategic decision to make a longterm investment in the area. In addition to providing an important new venue for Iowa State and Makerere student and staff activities, the facility will also serve as a community training and demonstration center, allowing the program to better serve its stakeholders in Uganda.

“[The new construction] signals to Ugandan citizens that we intend to be a long-term partner in development, and it will enable us to attract the very best people to our program from Uganda and Iowa,” Bjelland said.

On our last night in Kamuli District last summer, we sat outside with a group of Iowa State students and talked about their experiences in the service-learning program. As our discussion meandered from the surprisingly difficult field work to cultural differences to breeds of Ugandan cattle to the ease of making friends with Makerere students, one name kept coming up: Simon.

Some of the students met Simon, the young boy who had been severely malnourished as a 1-year-old, at the beginning of their stay in Kamuli District.

“When we met Simon, it was the first time everything really clicked for me,” Hannah Schlueter, senior in global resource systems, said. “It was like, this is why we’re here. This little boy. His family. The fact that we were able to help him and do all this. It’s incredible.

“On days when you’re working in the field and you think, ‘I could have studied abroad anywhere else and I chose here’ – and then you go and see these little kids and you see the smiles on their faces and the food in their hands, you know that we played a part in that and I think that’s just really special.”

KI0A3003 copyBONUS: View more beautiful photos from Jim’s and Carole’s travel to the Kamuli District at

This article was originally published in VISIONS magazine. To receive the full issue delivered to your mailbox four times per year, become a member of the ISU Alumni Association.

Five Things

Happy Monday, Cyclone Nation! Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:

1) Shortly after we published “Five Things” last Monday, the Iowa State campus was hit with a really major thing: President Steven Leath is leaving the university this spring, bound for a new role as president of Auburn University.

Leath, who has served as ISU’s president since January 2012, has grown the university in significant ways over the past four years: Enrollment has climbed to more than 36,000; the ISU Research Park has doubled in size; and a $1.1 billion fundraising campaign was launched this fall. Leath has, however, spent the academic year facing public scrutiny over what a recent Associated Press report describes as a potential “penchant for mixing personal and professional interests,” questions about which began largely in October when the AP reported that Leath had damaged a university airplane he was piloting.

Despite the criticism he has faced, Leath says he leaves Iowa State proud of his accomplishments, filled with fond memories and goodwill:

“Janet and I have made lifelong friends here in Iowa and have had many great experiences,” Leath said in a letter to the campus community. “We will always consider ourselves Cyclones and have great affection for this university and its beautiful campus; it is a very special place. Our appreciation for the Cyclone family is beyond words, and we found this extended family of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to be the greatest joy of our time at Iowa State.”

The Iowa Board of Regents is expected to name a search committee for Leath’s permanent successor today.

allen2) Permanent successor is a question mark, but the interim successor may already be determined. Pending approval of the Regents today, former ISU provost and former president of the University of Northern Iowa Ben Allen will begin leading the university as interim president on May 9. Allen, a former dean of ISU’s College of Business, was a popular figure at ISU before he left to become UNI president in 2006. In his seven years at UNI, however, he was forced to make a number of tough budgetary decisions that made him less popular in Cedar Falls.

3) While there is about to be a major change at the top for ISU, athletics director Jamie Pollard is hoping there won’t be any changes coming soon at the top of ISU’s men’s and women’s basketball programs. Steve Prohm and Bill Fennelly have recently agreed to contract extensions through 2022, Pollard announced Friday.

“We have two of the premiere college basketball programs in the nation, and each is led by a very successful and talented coach,” Pollard said. “Securing contract extensions with Steve and Bill solidifies the future of both programs for our institution, fans, and student-athletes.”

rotunda4) Twenty-five Iowa State undergrads will be at the State Capitol tomorrow to showcase their research during the annual “Research at the Capitol” event — 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Rotunda. The event is designed to highlight the importance of research to the undergraduate learning experience, as well as the depth and variety of research being done. See a list of the project that will be on display here.

5) We need a digital communications professional — a videographer and photographer with social media experience — to join our staff team at the ISU Alumni Association! Is it you? Is it someone you know? Check out our latest job opportunity, share the link, and apply online by April 5.