Embracing diversity to shape distinctive career trajectories

Student News Diversity and Social Responsibility News
By Lynn Meadows and Cathy Curtis

Natalie Nelson, a senior in kinesiology and health, studying abroad in Ireland. Contributed photo.

To thrive in a fast-changing world, students must understand the many facets of diversity, which stem from a wide range of life circumstances and experiences. Catch a glimpse of just a few of the thousands of students who are embracing various aspects of diversity to develop their own unique and promising career paths.

Preparing students for a global workforce

“Research shows that most recent college graduates who have studied abroad believe their international experience contributed to a job offer,” said Erin French, director of the college’s international programs. “Students also report increases in skill sets, from intercultural competence and curiosity to self-awareness and flexibility.”

Studying abroad in Ireland, “opened my eyes to how other people live, and showed me that what is normal to me, isn’t necessarily someone else’s normal,” said Natalie Nelson, a senior in kinesiology and health. “I was forced to be independent, which helped me grow as a person.”

In the five years since 2012-13, the number of human sciences students participating in study abroad has more than doubled, from 60 to 146, thanks in part to generous alumni.

“Scholarships help make these opportunities more affordable — and therefore more accessible — to students,” French said. “They really make a difference.”

Accommodating diverse dietary needs530417790

Alumna Kallen Anderson learned how to meet the dietary needs of people with diverse food allergies and other medical conditions when double-majoring in family and consumer sciences education and studies and dietetics. Knowing how to modify food ingredients to protect and improve the health of each unique individual opened doors for her after graduation in 2014. Now, as a registered dietitian in the Special Diet Kitchen at ISU Dining, she serves more than 40 students with distinctly different nutritional needs.

Supporting veterans and military families

956729762Denise Williams-Klotz, Iowa State’s assistant director of multicultural student affairs who received her doctorate from the School of Education in 2015, is an advocate for student success. She’s focused her research on the experiences and academic success of student veterans, military personnel, and their family members who face unique challenges transitioning to a university setting. Many of the 957 Iowa State students receiving military education benefits find 360-degree support at the Veterans Center in the Memorial Union.

Helping older adults stay wellhelping older adults

Age diversity is a key consideration when promoting health. From birth to life’s end, our wellness needs constantly change. Ryan True, a senior in kinesiology and health, is preparing to start a business called “Full Circle Wellness,” to provide health services for older adults focusing on eight dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational, intellectual, financial and environmental. True spent his summer in CYstarters, Iowa State’s 10-week accelerator to help him grow his startup.

Opening opportunities for underrepresented groups

Kennesha Woods3Iowa State’s 2018 NSCORE-ISCORE Brenda Jones Change Agent Award went to Kennesha Woods for improving understanding of race and ethnicity and creating positive change in the community as a parole officer, a youth residential officer, and a special education teacher. The first-generation college student graduated from Iowa State in 2011 in child, adult, and family services. She is now working toward a doctorate in the School of Education and preparing to further influence systems and policies in ways that open up opportunities for underrepresented groups.


Key contacts

Cathy Curtis, communications director, College of Human Sciences, ccurtis@iastate.edu, 515-294-8175.

Isaac Sinclair, communications assistant, College of Human Sciences, hswriter@iastate.edu, 515-294-1326.

By Lynn Meadows and Cathy Curtis