2024 Women Impacting ISU Calendar Honorees

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The 2024 Women Impacting ISU calendar.

Erica Beirman
Erica Beirman – Influential

“Her commitment to students, high-quality education, well-maintained facilities, engaging extra curriculars, meaningful networking, and impactful mentorship deserves to be celebrated.”

Erica Beirman, teaching professor and culinary food science coordinator in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, exemplifies what it means to be an influential woman within higher education and the food science profession. Her impact on the lives of students goes beyond their time at ISU. Beirman received a B.S. in dietetics and an M.S. in hotel, restaurant, and institutional management from Iowa State. She started her professional career as dining manager of residential dining, and then moved to her current position where she created the undergraduate Culinary Science Program and has served as its coordinator for the past 16 years. A gifted instructor, Beirman uses innovative teaching strategies, as well as enhancing her courses by inviting experts across disciplines to co-lead student experiences. She taught FSHN 115: Food Prep Lab for 21 semesters and has taught FSHN 104: Introduction to Professional Skills in Culinary Science for 19 semesters. She supervises FSHN 491: Supervised Work Experience, and in 2019 she developed and taught FSHN 220x: American Food and Culture. In addition, she served as collaborator for EARTH Service-Learning Program U.S. Virgin Islands from 2014-2020 and has co-led the “For the Love of Food and Italy” study abroad since 2016. Beirman’s impact extends beyond the classroom. She was instrumental in developing the internship program, and she serves as academic advisor for culinary food science students and as adviser to the Culinary Science Club. An advocate of cross-collaboration at Iowa State, Beirman served on the Student Innovation Center Demonstration Planning Committee and uses her network to connect many units across Iowa State University. A member of the Cardinal Women* program, she has led two cohorts of Cardinal Women* graduates.

Mia Kawamitsu
Mia Kawamitsu – Advocate

“Her actions are always filled with kindness, positivity, and determination to uplift those around her.”

Mia Kawamitsu, a senior in journalism and mass communication and international studies, is an outstanding student, Greenlee ambassador, and strong advocate for Iowa State’s multicultural community. She works to amplify the voices of international students, giving her energy and enthusiasm to creating a more welcoming campus climate for all. As a Greenlee School student ambassador, Kawamitsu assists the school’s academic advisors with prospective student visits. She volunteers to lead discussions, tasks, and projects, and generously shares her own experiences as a non-white student on campus. When serving in the Director of International Student Experience cabinet position for ISU’s Student Government and as the Student Government liaison between the International Student Council and the International Students & Scholars Office, Kawamitsu created numerous initiatives to enhance the college experience for international and multicultural students. She played key role in the launch of a Canvas course that provided a centralized source of information about events, opportunities, and announcements specifically for international students that received a CYtation Award from the university. She also worked with Student Government leaders to address a pressing issue for international students – lack of transportation. Thanks to her advocacy, Iowa State was able to provide free rides to the Des Moines airport for international students going to their home country over breaks but lacking transportation. Kawamitsu’s impact is felt beyond campus, including in a student exchange in South Korea, during Rotary Club visits in Japan, while serving as a Cargill Global Scholar and a World Food Prize intern, and through her selection as an “ambassador in sneakers,” for which she got to visit Germany and meet the U.S. ambassador at the embassy in Berlin as well as the German ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, D.C.

Lisa Lund
Lisa Lund – Integral

“While the volume and quality of Lisa’s work are remarkable, it is her approach to her work and the nature of her interactions with others that really makes her shine. She is a lifelong learner who is serious about her work in a pleasant, approachable, cheerful, and unassuming way.”

Lisa Lund, manager of information technology support for the College of Veterinary Medicine, provides remarkable support of the college’s teaching mission through faculty development and classroom technology support, and was an integral part of the launch and success of Bone Appetit, the college’s 24/7 food pantry. Lund serves on the college’s curriculum development committee, helping facilitate feedback from current professors and students on how to improve the educational experience. Lund has also made a strong programmatic contribution to the college, creating or co-creating two faculty certificate teaching programs, coordinating the college’s Teaching Development Seminar Series, and designing multiple online and hybrid courses. She has taken the initiative to pursue improvement of the college’s classroom technology services and led the trainings for the roll-out of multiple new technologies, including Canvas, Top Hat, Echo360, WebEx, and Interfolio. Lund was an integral part of the team that initiated Bone Appetit, a 24/7 food pantry for College of Veterinary Medicine students, faculty, and staff. She spearheaded expanding the food pantry’s inventory to include items that meet individuals’ dietary needs such as gluten-free, high-protein and non-dairy products, and added a Farmer’s Market with faculty and staff bringing in produce items from their gardens. She created reusable grocery bags with the Bone Appetit logo. Lund is also a regular volunteer at the food pantry.

Sara Marcketti
Sara Marcketti – Unwavering

“Her commitment to student success is a shining example of what it means to be a true mentor and leader in academia.”

Sara Marcketti, assistant provost, executive director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), and Morrill Professor in apparel, events, and hospitality management, has an unwavering commitment to supporting student-centered learning and teaching that benefits all Iowa State University students. Marcketti has authored or co-authored 67 peer-reviewed journal articles, 13 book chapters, seven textbooks (including Survey of Historic Costume, which has been adopted by over 230 institutions), four online learning resources, one technical manual, 125 published abstracts, three encyclopedia entries, five museum exhibit catalogs, 13 invited publications, and eight curated gallery exhibits. In her 21 years at Iowa State, Marcketti has taught seven undergraduate or graduate courses to over 1,800 students, supervised nine doctoral and 11 master’s students, and served as a committee member for 20 graduate students. Her involvement with the annual student-run Fashion Show, study abroad, and internships have provided students with opportunities for learning-by-doing outside of the formal classroom setting. She joined CELT as an associate director in 2013, was promoted to director in 2017 and to executive director 2022. She has been instrumental in a number of initiatives, including the successful transition between learning management systems, the shift to remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, the launch of the CyThx campaign, and the development of a program for faculty that promotes teaching strategies to improve student-centered learning. Marcketti has been a member and/or chair of 20 university committees and working groups and served in eight college or departmental leadership roles. One of her most enduring contributions to Iowa State has been her mentoring and professional development of the staff she has supervised.

Sara Nelson
Sara Nelson – Champion

“I consider her a master bridge builder—working to forge collaborations that benefit multiple entities throughout the university. Dr. Sara Nelson is a true servant leader who has had a profound impact on Iowa State University.”

Sara Nelson, director of the NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium, is an award-winning champion for STEM education. Nelson is also the 4-H STEM specialist for ISU Extension & Outreach and an adjunct assistant professor in ISU’s School of Education. Nelson chairs the STEM for All Working Group of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. She has secured nearly $6 million through state and national funds to support STEM educational programs and statewide outreach opportunities, including funds used to create STEM educational kits that can be checked out by youth, families and educators through community libraries across Iowa. In 2021, Nelson developed the curriculum for Nutcracker Ballet + STEM. She produced the Nutcracker Ballet Reader’s Theater at Stephens Auditorium, partnering with them to offer a free youth matinee performance that was also livestreamed to classrooms. As part of this project, Nelson sent student teachers to classrooms around the state to teach the Nutcracker Challenges, a program that was awarded the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s Seal of Approval in 2022. Just this past August, Nelson arranged for a performance of the reader’s theater version of the Nutcracker at the Iowa State Fair. In 2023, Nelson and the ISU Extension & Outreach team worked with Stephens Auditorium to bring 4-H clubs from across the state to Stephens Auditorium for a workshop with iLuminate, a company based on the fusion of technology and dance, who performed at Stephens Auditorium on October 21 as part of the 2023-24 Stephens Performing Arts Season.

Karen Rodekamp
Karen Rodekamp – Instrumental

“Whatever the need is, Karen answers the call.”

Karen Rodekamp, director of ISU Dining, has had an immeasurable impact on ISU Dining, the Iowa State campus, and the surrounding communities. From her time as an ISU Dining student employee to her current role as director, she has put the student experience at the forefront of everything she has done. Rodekamp took over as director on Nov. 1, 2023, after serving in a variety of positions with ISU Dining since 1999. She most recently had served as ISU Dining associate director for engagement. In that role, she oversaw the ISU Dining Student Staffing Office, which engages with 1,200-1,600 student employees per year across multiple campus dining locations; the ISU Dining’s Registered Dietitian and Special Diet Kitchen, an innovative operation for those with food allergies, health conditions, dietary restrictions, and accommodations; ISU Dining’s marketing, social media, and communications; and new and existing contracts with ISU Dining vendors and partners. A primary point of contact for students and parents, Rodekamp represented ISU Dining at New Student Orientation, Destination Iowa State, and other events. She facilitated and developed programs with academic departments and assisted with 40-50 coursework requests throughout the year. Rodekamp was instrumental in the development of ISU’s Farm to ISU Dining program and serves on the University Sustainability Committee, Zero Waste Planning Group, and AASHE/Stars Work Group. She was instrumental in the introduction of compostable single-use containers and has played a key role in multiple forms of recycling across campus. She was also instrumental in ISU Dining’s changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in response to emergency events such as the 2020 derecho and the 2023 power plant fire. In the Ames community, Rodekamp serves on the board of directors for Ames’ Food at First, a local non-profit organization serving Iowa State and the greater Ames community. She was recently appointed to the Local Food and Farm Program Council by the Iowa secretary of agriculture.

Beate Schmittmann
Beate Schmittmann – Role Model

“Dean Schmittmann is a tireless advocate for creating and supporting an inclusive and welcoming climate on all levels, demonstrating her dedication with her public and private actions.”

Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been a positive role model in demonstrating the importance of women’s leadership in higher education. She promotes inclusion and uses her voice to influence policy and affect positive change for women – and for all – at Iowa State. Schmittmann was instrumental in developing a much-improved culture for intentional professional development in the college and has strengthened the college’s support for students and faculty. She created the college’s inaugural associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion position, working closely with the new associate dean to redesign the college’s BOLD Learning Community and the LAS STEM Scholars Program. Schmittmann has also been committed to broadening engagement with and responding to the needs of college stakeholders. She strengthened shared governance in the college to include term faculty, worked with the advising staff to create a new advising model that provides students with a more consistent advising experience, invested new donor resources in the Career Services office, and supported the creation of the student advisory group PULSE. Schmittmann has led a remarkable increase in donor-funded support for the college, including an anonymous $150 million gift used to create the Transforming Liberal Arts and Sciences Endowment. Under her leadership, student scholarship support has nearly tripled and resources to support study abroad, undergraduate research, entrepreneurial activities, unpaid internships, and student teaching have increased greatly. During the most recent fundraising campaign, more than 30 new named faculty chairs, professorships and fellowships were created. Skilled at facilitating connections and building community, Schmittmann wrote a series of letters to the college’s faculty and staff during the COVID-19 lockdown that helped create a community of sharing and human connection during a time of stress and disconnection.

Jodi Sterle
Jodi Sterle – Supportive

“She is supportive of all of her students and pours her heart and soul into making Iowa State a home away from home.”

Jodi Sterle, Harman Endowed Professor in Teaching and Learning and associate department chair for teaching in the Department of Animal Science, has had an impact on at least 10,000 Iowa State students in the classroom, on study abroad trips, and as advisor to students and student clubs. Sterle has received college, university and national recognition for her excellence in mentoring, teaching and advising. She has been or currently is the instructor of record for seven undergraduate courses, ranging from one that she taught once to meet a critical instructional need to those that she has taught regularly for 8-10 years. Her department had a near-doubling in the number of undergraduate majors during her tenure as the undergraduate teaching coordinator. She recently began a two-year administrative service in the Provost’s Office with a focus on developing and promoting the use of high-impact practices for the benefit of Iowa State’s students. She is advisor to 75-100 students each year, to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council, and to the Bacon Expo; is a senior advisor of the Block and Bridle Club, the largest student organization at Iowa State; and regularly hosts students on international trips. She is active with youth who show swine at FFA contests, collaborating with Extension on videos about preparing pigs for show and other topics, as well as serving as a swine judge at county and state fairs. Sterle is recognized for her ability to connect with students outside the classroom. When COVID-19 prevented in-person orientation events, she helped her department pivot to new ways to reach out to and engage new and returning students.

Alycia West
Alycia West – Genuine

“She is a sterling example of the benefits that derive when individuals believe their actions can influence the community around them and lend their talents to that goal.”

Alycia West, a doctoral candidate in higher education and former Helser Hall residence hall director, exhibits genuine caring, strong will, and boundless enthusiasm in championing issues important to herself and the people she serves, never missing a chance to lend her expertise in support of students. West served as a residence hall director for six years, serving the educational, social and safety/security needs of more than 600 residents and supervising a staff of 13 undergraduate resident assistants and a graduate student. Her success at building a strong community for her staff earned her several Hall Director of the Year awards. Committed to social justice, West and her staff developed a Women’s Empowerment Month that culminated in a panel of women leaders on campus sharing their leadership journeys at Iowa State. West has been actively engaged in ISCORE/NCORE and has served as a team leader several times, attending the conference and preparing a cohort of students to develop and present sessions at ISCORE. West’s doctoral research focuses on the experiences of transracially adopted Asian American students within institutions of higher learning. In her program, she continues to serve through her involvement in communication, social media platforms, and the development of resources that support the graduate student experience. In addition, she collaborated with the Office of the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs on the inaugural Welcome Week events for incoming and returning students. Through her work as an advocate in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), The American College Personnel Association (ACPA), and her time on the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), West has been able to lower some of the barriers that graduate students – particularly those from historically underrepresented groups – face in continuing their education.

Emily Wilcox
Emily Wilcox – Pivotal

“Emily Wilcox is a Cyclone, an agent of change, and a force to be reckoned with. In short—she is someone who makes a lasting impact.”

Emily Wilcox, assistant director for First-Year Programs in the University Honors Program, plays a pivotal role in shaping and enriching the educational experiences of countless Iowa State students. Her leadership, mentorship, and unparalleled ability to connect with students make her a role model for aspiring leaders. Wilcox’s contributions encompass curriculum development, team leadership, community building, and orientation and recruitment. She oversaw the development of a dynamic curriculum for the First-Year Honors Program that integrates elements such as service-learning projects; theme-based courses; diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; common reading programs; and off-campus class experiences. She mentors 75 student leaders each year, empowering them to grow both personally and professionally. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilcox developed a program to maintain the spirit of community that has been the hallmark of the First-Year Honors Program. She adapted the annual FHP retreat into an on-campus format in three different buildings to allow for social distancing. For the fall 2021 semester, she collaborated with 70 honors peer leaders to establish a safe, in-person seminar experience, doubling the number of HON 121 seminars offered to ensure that students could experience at least one in-person class. She also fosters a sense of community among ISU’s honors alumni through engaging social media posts, keeping them connected with the university. Wilcox maintains the social media accounts and holds multiple admission-related meetings throughout the semester. Her orientation and recruitment sessions and oversight of the Honors Ambassadors have significantly contributed to the university’s admissions and outreach efforts.

Cyndi Wiley
Cyndi Wiley
Cyndi Wiley – Passionate

“Dr. Cyndi Wiley contributes to existing events and programs with approachable, yet well-argued, and thoroughly researched explanations demonstrating that accessibility is essential to great public universities.”

Cyndi Wiley, digital accessibility lead for Information Technology Services and assistant teaching professor for the Human Computer Interaction Program, has a passion for breaking down barriers that prevent Iowa State students, faculty, and staff from achieving their fullest potential. With degrees in graphic design (M.F.A.) and human computer interaction (Ph.D.), Wiley has developed a comprehensive program to address inequities in access to digital resources at Iowa State. Wiley has worked to procure and employ technology tools to ensure that web-based resources are accessible and designed for those with visual, audio, movement, and cognitive disabilities in mind. Wiley developed a policy to ensure that digital resources will be available to certain standards, advises technology contracts and purchases on adherence to accessibility standards, and participates in grant proposals across campus to add or enhance accessibility. Wiley secured funding to create the Digital Accessibility Lab, a space for students with disabilities to use assistive technology for learning and collaborative work. The lab also supports instructors in optimizing instructional materials for digital accessibility, and ISU’s teaching-focused researchers frequent the lab to test user interfaces, websites, apps, games, and other digital products. Wiley also partners with staff at the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching to develop tools and resources that enable faculty and staff to create and deliver accessible learning spaces and content.Beyond Iowa State, Wiley serves on the Leading eAccessibility Advisory Council of Iowa, works with TeachAccess to develop strategies to include digital accessibility in educational programs, and is an active member of the Association on Higher Education and Disability.

Svitlana Zbarska
Svitlana Zbarska – Collaborative

“Dr. Zbarska has been an outstanding ISU citizen, promoting and representing the true meaning of ‘Science with Practice’.”

Svitlana Zbarska, campus-wide undergraduate research program coordinator, has influenced thousands of students to appreciate the importance of research as a part of their undergraduate experience. She collaborates across the university to support students in their research endeavors and helps faculty to advance their research programs by connecting them with passionate students. Zbarska works with multiple university units related to undergraduate research and has initiated several programs that have advanced and impacted undergraduate research training and experiences across campus. Through the Undergraduate Research Ambassador Program, Zbarska recruits, trains, coordinates, and supervises approximately 25 ambassadors each year. She also has developed and run a series of professional development workshops focused on helping students engage in research on campus, to secure summer internships or research programs, and to get the most out of their research experiences. Zbarska initiated the Undergraduate Research Alumni Board, a diverse group of professional mentors for current ISU undergraduate researchers, and started to promote undergraduate research to prospective students at the Experience Iowa State Fairs. Her work with the University Honors Program to match freshman Honors students with faculty has created what is now the largest faculty-student matching program for first-year students in the United States. Zbarska promotes ISU undergraduate research at the local, regional, and national levels. Since 2016, she has organized and supervised all aspects of the annual ISU Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression, the Research in the Capitol undergraduate research symposium, and the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium. Each year for the past seven years, between 25 and 90 ISU undergraduates have presented their research at the annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, with Zbarska’s assistance in procuring funding to support student participants attending the conference.