Scholar Profiles

2021 – 2022

Ava Atkins

Mechanical  Engineering

Ava is from Saint Charles, Illinois.

Ava was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. She notes that after a year of limited social interactions and less opportunities to build relationships, she is looking forward to on-campus classes and activities. She places high importance on taking advantage of opportunities to gain extra skills and knowledge whether directly related to her career as a Mechanical Engineer or about general communication and leadership.

 

John Titus Barnett

Materials Science and  Engineering

John is from Richland, Washington.

John chose to study Materials Science and Engineering as he always enjoyed mathematics, science, and problem-solving. He was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. Fall semester 2021 he plans to work on a project at the Ames Lab with his research mentor, Dr. Paul Canfield, where he will participate in growing novel compounds. In addition to academics, he is active in the Salt Company Student Fellowship. (SALT), FarmHouse Fraternity, where he will be co-leading a SALT Connection Group of new FarmHouse members during the 2021 fall semester. He will also be a Destination Iowa State leader. Other activities in which he intends to participate include Dance Marathon, Movie Night with the Materials Science and Engineering Department and camping at the Ledges State Park. He plans to start graduate-level work during his Senior year, allowing him to graduate with a Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering, allowing him to complete his BS and MS degrees in five years. Following graduation, he wants to continue doing research at places such as the Ames Laboratory, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washinton or elsewhere.

 

Ashley Behrendt

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Ashley is from Boone, Iowa.

Ashley is majoring in the Pre-Medical track of Chemical Engineering. She was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list fall 2020 semester. In addition to academics, she is active in several student organizations. She is the Secretary of her residence, the Kappa Delta Sorority. She is also a member of the Society of Women Engineers and serves as the First Year Representative for SWENext, a program for high school students to get involved in SWE. Following graduation, she plans to attend medical school.

 

Annabelle Behrens

Aerospace Engineering

Annabelle is from North Aurora, Illinois.

Annabelle chose to attend Iowa State University because of its strong support system for students. She was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. She chose to major in Aerospace Engineering because of its balance between creativity and logic, her two favorite subjects growing up. In addition to academics, she is active in a variety of organizations at Iowa State University, including the Engineers’ Week Professional Relations committee, the Engineering Leaders of Tomorrow Marketing committee, and Freshman Leaders in Engineers. After graduation, she hopes to fulfill her goal of working for a company that continues to teach her new skills and strengthens her knowledge of Aerospace Engineering.

 

Nicholas Bivens

Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Nicholas is from Yorkville, Illinois.

Nicholas is majoring in Industrial Engineering. He was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. He is a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Once in-person activities resume he plans to become a member of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. He would also like to participate in activities such as Dance Marathon. Following graduation, he would like to work at Walt Disney World.

 

Grace Bjustrom

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Grace is from Eldridge, Iowa.

Grace is majoring in the power and machinery option of Agricultural Engineering. She grew up on a small farm outside of Eldridge, IA, where she had a passion for agriculture and enjoyed participating in 4H and FFA. She notes that with three older brothers, and everyone captivated with STEM activities/toys and good in math, it was only natural for her to want to pursue a degree in engineering. She was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. In addition to academics, she is serves as Secretary of the Iowa State chapter of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. And the SALT Company Student Fellowship. She has also maintained her membership in FFA ( Future Farmers of America). When she graduates, she hopes to work at John Deere doing testing on combines or tractors.

 

Wyatt Curtis

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Wyatt is from Cresco, Iowa.

Wyatt indicates that his passion for Iowa State University and agricultural engineering was derived from his family. His grandfather attended Iowa State for 1 year, but had to drop out after his first year when his father was killed in a tractor accident and he had to take over operation of the family farm. His grandfather often talked with him about his favorite experiences as a student at Iowa State. He excelled academically in high school, graduated as one of three valedictorians, and was assisted in attending college by Hixson Opportunity Awards Program and the Hagan Scholarship Foundation. His choice of majoring in the power and machinery option of Agricultural Engineering was also influenced by his family, through assisting his father in helping rebuild classic automotive and tractor engines. He was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters and was selected as a 2021 Hinson Peer Mentor. In addition to academics, he became a student member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers (ASABE) and joined the Cyclone Power Pullers Club. Following graduation, he hopes to work for a company like John Deere to advance and improve farming technology.

 

Emilee Evans

Aerospace Engineering

Emilee is from Greenwood, Missouri.

Emilee indicates she has been passionate about STEM, especially rocketry and space exploration for as long as she can remember. She is majoring in Aerospace Engineering and minoring in Mathematics. She was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. In addition to her academic studies, she is a member of the Iowa State University Symphony Orchestra, Society of Women Engineers, and intramural soccer. She is also a member of the Make to Innovate NASA challenge participating in the Micro-G group tasked with creating a device that dispenses bags to put lunar samples in for future Artemis Astronauts. The device was developed for testing at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in June 2021. Following graduation, she hopes to work as an aerospace engineer at NASA in the area of aerodynamics or spacecraft design and hopes to be a role model for female students that have a passion in STEM and inspire others to pursue engineering careers.

Shanna Fellows

Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

Shanna is from Albia, Iowa.

Shanna is planning to specialize in either environmental or structural engineering within her Civil Engineering major. She was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. During 2020-21, she was an undergraduate research assistant in the Civil Engineering Department and plans to continue with the research in 2021-22. She is in the Honors Program and a member of several student organizations. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and within the Women in Science and Engineering program she plans to be a Student Role Model traveling to schools to teach STEM activities to K-12 students. She is also a member of the Iowa State Archery Club.

 

Ricardo Herrera

Aerospace Engineering

Ricardo is from Algonquin, Illinois.

Ricardo recalls that as a child wanting to explore beyond earth and see the wonders that lie undiscovered in the cosmos. He remembers watching Atlantis blast off as the last launch of the space shuttle program and knew that I wanted to be involved with the next generation of space exploration beyond low Earth orbit. He notes that his parents immigrated to the United States, and he is the first generation of his family to attend college. He chose to attend Iowa State after visiting campus and learned more about the College of Engineering and the Aerospace Engineering program. He indicates that ISU faculty are highly supportive of student endeavors and willing to assist students in any way possible. He was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list fall 2020. In addition to academics, he has been an active member of the Freshman Leaders in Engineering and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He was also a member of the First Year Honors Program and has been accepted into the full University Honors Program. After graduating with his undergraduate degree, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. He then plans to enter the aerospace industry in the area of astronautics to help develop the next generation of spacecraft that will enhance humanity’s understanding of space exploration and the universe. He is determined to be a part of the workforce that gets humanity to Mars and beyond.

 

Kaitlyn Holtz

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Kaitlyn is from Lakeville, Minnesota.

Prior to moving to Lakeville, Minnesota, Kaitlyn lived in Algonquin, Illinois, where she attended and graduated from Harry D. Jacobs High School. She indicates that she knew she wanted to attend Iowa State University when she first visited the campus. Within Chemical Engineering she has not decided upon and specialization but is particularly interested in both fluids and pharmaceuticals. She was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. Outside of academics, she is a member of the Pay It Forward volunteer student organization at Iowa State University, which develop leadership skills through service, relationships, and action by undertaking multiple service projects locally and nationwide. She is considering attending graduate school following graduation.

 

Lydia Jaskowiak

Mechanical Engineering

Lydia is from Saint Louis, Missouri.

Lydia is planning to pursue a mechanical engineering degree with a minor in energy systems. She chose to attend Iowa state University because of its emphasis on choosing your own adventure, on pursuing your passion and creating new ones while a student. She noted that the university is known for cross-disciplinary research, classes, and culture, and thought ISU would be the perfect fit for her. She chose engineering because she has always had an interest in building things and making them better. In addition to engineering, she has a concern for the future of our environment and of the human impact on it and wanted to take advantage of both the strong College of Engineering and an equally strong College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She plans to learn as much as she can about engines of all kinds, from small vehicles to rockets, and to learn in both the classroom and the research laboratory about renewable and alternative energy systems. She is in the Honors Program and was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. In addition to academics, she is a member of the Martial Arts Club and beginning fall 2021 will be working as a peer mentor to freshman women in STEM fields through the WiSE program, and looks forward to being able to give back to the Iowa State community in that way. Following graduation her ultimate career goal is to create more sustainable engines through the use of renewable fuels, less resource-intensive engine designs, and reduced emissions, without sacrificing efficiency or power.

 

Elena Knops

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Elena is from Menasha, Wisconsin.

Elena is majoring in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Sustainability. She is very pleased she chose to attend Iowa State University indicating that ISU is doing a great job supporting students and helping them be successful, and that she has found her classes challenging and incredibly interesting. She was member of the First Year Honors Program and was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. Spring semester 2021, she was the recipient of a Honor Program Student Grant and undertook undergraduate research focusing on finding a cheaper, safer, and more sustainable adhesive for use in the production of wood particle boards. In 2021-22 she plans to be a Freshman Honors leader, creating and delivering lesson plans for incoming Honors students. She is also a student member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Crew Club. During the summer 2021 she worked for Amcor as a summer intern in their extrusion department. Spring semester 2021, she hopes to study abroad at the University of Limerick, Ireland in their engineering college. At the present she has not decided what she wants to do following graduation.

Clayton Kramper

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Clayton is from Overland Park, Kansas.

Clayton is majoring in computer engineering and hopes to complement his engineering degree with and an MBA. He was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters and is a member of the University Honors Program. In addition to academics, he is active in his fraternity house serving as Vice President of Recruitment and in this regard is spending the summer in Ames. Following graduation, he hopes to work for a large technology company.

Alisa Marin

Chemical and Biological  Engineering

Alisa is from Farley, Iowa.

Alisa is studying Environmental Engineering, the new major within the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department. She enjoyed her studies during her first year at Iowa State and is excited to take more of her major based classes during the coming year and into the future. She was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she plans to pursue a career in Environmental Engineering and hopes to help promote and provide clean and accessible drinking water to as many people as possible.

Peter Micksch

Materials Science and Engineering

Peter is from Wadsworth, Illinois.

Peter was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. In addition to his academic studies, he was the recipient of a First Year Mentor Program Grant concerning the stabilization of a Cu-based shape memory alloy for air-less tire applications, working under the guidance of faculty mentor: Jun Cui, Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering. He is a member and officer of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, serving as the Brotherhood Chairman.

Huy Nguyen

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Huy is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Huy is majoring in Chemical Engineering with a biomedical engineering minor. His parents immigrated to the United States from Vietnam, and he is the first member of his family to attend college. He was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list fall 2020. His goal is to complete a PhD degree related to medicine or medical appliances and have a career that would benefit his family and community.

Adriana Patino

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Adriana is from Lemont, Illinois.

Adriana was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list the fall 2020 semester. Following graduation, she hopes to continue her education as a Chemical Engineer and use the knowledge, skill, and expertise she gained during her time at Iowa State University to contribute to the engineering community.

 

Laura Paul

Mechanical Engineering

Laura is from Johnson, Iowa.

Laura is majoring in Mechanical Engineering, but in addition to her academic studies is active in undergraduate research and student organizations. During the 2020-21 school year she served as Vice President of the Society of Automotive Engineers International Student Chapter at Iowa State University and was elected to be Project Director for the Clean Snowmobile Challenge. She also worked as an undergraduate research assistant participating in a study of biomechanical movement and its various applications.

 

Sergio Perez-Valentin

Electrical and Computer  Engineering

Sergio is from Grinnell, Iowa.

Sergio is pursuing a degree in Software Engineering and Cybersecurity within the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. He indicates he is extremely happy with his choice to attend Iowa State University and that his first year of college was amazing despite all the hardships from the Coronavirus. Following graduation, he hopes to get a job working at Boston Dynamics.

 

Braden Petree

Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Braden is from Mason City, Iowa.

Branden chose to attend Iowa State University because of its excellent engineering program, and I chose to major in Industrial Engineering because he likes to refine processes to make people’s lives better. He was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. In addition to his academic studies, he was a member of the Sales Engineering Club and the Iowa State Running Club. He also joined the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Following graduation, he hopes to find employment as an Industrial Engineer close to his hometown of Mason City.

 

 Kennedey Reiling

Electrical and Computer  Engineering

Kennedey is from West Des Moines, Iowa.

Kennedey indicates that she knew from a very young age that she wanted to be an engineer and that Iowa State would be the perfect school for her after visiting the campus. She appreciates that the Iowa State’s community is so welcoming and encouraging. Her major is Electrical Engineering with an emphasis on mechanical engineering. She plans to take technical electives that focus on mechanical engineering and hopes to also complete a Cyber-physical systems minor. She was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. Fall semester 2021 she plans joining Digital Women and Critical Thinker student organizations. Following graduation, she hopes to get a job related to robotics to utilize her knowledge of both electrical and mechanical engineering and create products that will better humanity.

 

Rachel Schnepf

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Rachel is from Omaha, Nebraska.

Rachel is majoring in computer engineering. She indicates that throughout high school she took science and engineering related classes and in her senior year a coding class introduced her to the intricacies of computer technology, which she very much enjoyed. Her decision to attend Iowa State University was influenced by family members having attended ISU and 3 cousins who are current students. She was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. In addition to academics, she was active in her residence hall, serving as the treasurer of Geddes house in Geoffroy Hall. She hopes to get an internship the summer 2022 and after graduation get a job that would allow her to travel around the world and immerse herself in different cultures.

 

Sarah Stewart

Mechanical Engineering

Sarah is from North Liberty, Iowa.

Sarah chose to attend Iowa State University because of the quality of its engineering
programs and opportunities offered to engineering students to participate in engineering student organizations and specialized classes as well as hands-on design experience, which is essential for a successful engineer. She chose Mechanical Engineering as her major because she has always been interested in using her knowledge to help others and mechanical engineering provides the opportunity to design machines and systems to solve global problems and aid in scientific discovery. She is a member of the Honors Program at Iowa State, and this program was also a major factor in her decision to attend ISU. In addition to her academic studies, she is involved in undergraduate research and several student organizations. She was a Freshman Honors Program Undergraduate Research Assistant and during the summer 2021 she was intern for NASA’ s Goddard Space Flight Center, working with an astrophysicist to develop an instrument to study the formation of stars and galaxies and create a three-dimensional map of the universe. Fall semester 2021, she plans to work as an undergraduate research assistant for a Mechanical Engineering professor. Through the Department of Aerospace Engineering’ s Make to Innovate course, she participated in the NASA Micro-g NExT Challenge with a team of other engineering students. The team spent the 2020-2021 school year designing and manufacturing a lunar tool that was tested by NASA officials at the Johnson Space Center in June 2021. As a member of the Society of Women Engineers and Women in Mechanical Engineering organizations, she networked with other female engineering students to promote women in engineering. She also participated in Engineers Without Borders her freshman year because of her interest in international development and was the project manager of the group designing the water and waste management systems for the health clinic the group designed for the village of Ullo in Ghana. Following graduation, she is currently most interested in pursuing an engineering career at NASA designing satellites, rovers, or other scientific instruments because of her passion about space and space exploration.

Thomas Youhn

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Thomas is from Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

Thomas is majoring in Electrical Engineering within the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list both fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. Spring 2021 he was inducted into the Iowa State University chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – Eta Kappa Nu and plans to join the Robotics Club fall 2021. Following graduation, he wants to pursue an electrical engineering job in the aerospace industry.

 

Kaya Zdan

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Kaya is from Swisher, Iowa.

Kaya is majoring in software engineering. She chose to attend Iowa State University for all of the opportunities offered both within engineering and outside the classroom through student organizations and extra-curricular activities. Student organizations to which she belongs include Digital Women and the Society of Women Engineers. She is also a member of the Iowa State University Symphony Orchestra. She was on the College of Engineering Dean’s list fall 2020. Following graduation, she hopes to find employment as a computer programmer.