Iowa State’s king of cotton
Iowa’s largest cotton farmer can be found in Iowa State University’s Bessey Hall, along with the state’s largest cotton crop. Distinguished Professor Jonathan Wendel is an internationally known plant biological researcher who has studied cotton for more than 25 years. Wendel helped map the genome sequence for cotton, which will have sweeping ramifications for cotton growers, plant biologists and producers who grow other cash crops, including corn and soybeans. He is also the principle investigator for the National Science Foundation’s Cotton Fiber Genomics project. Not surprisingly, Wendel was the 2012 winner of the International Cotton Genomics Initiative award for outstanding contributions to cotton genomics.
LAS’ own Williams sisters are a grand slam
Cassidy and Camryn Williams’ interest in computers has brought them front-and-center. The sisters – Cassidy a senior (pictured left) and Camryn a second-year student, both in Computer Science – are a special pair. As Hispanic women pursuing careers in a traditionally male-dominated field, they are easy to spot in their classrooms and, apparently, from across the country. The two were invited to speak at the 2013 White House Tech Inclusion Summit in Washington D.C., and Cassidy was later invited to participate in a San Francisco-to-London flight with 100 high-tech innovators. She was the only undergraduate aboard the “UnGrounded Innovation Lab in the Sky,” where she brainstormed solutions for the global talent crunch with leaders from Google, Intuit, Craigslist and other high-tech heavyweights.
Wells’ research is reforming eyewitness ID techniques
How good is eyewitness evidence? Not as accurate as we once thought, according to research by psychologist Gary Wells. His groundbreaking work to improve techniques for eyewitness identification and police lineups has led to reforms adopted by about 40 percent of the nation’s law enforcement agencies. Wells, a Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Wendy and Mark Stavish Chair in Social Sciences, said the techniques have led to fewer cases of mistaken identities and have helped identify the guilty. “It is a success story for social science research; an encouraging message about what social science has to offer in dealing with real-world problems.”
Sunny skies: Meteorology students No. 1 again
Not happy with the weather? Don’t blame Iowa State University’s American Meteorological Society student chapter, which has been named the nation’s best for the past two years and four times in the past eight years). With more than 70 members, the AMS student organization is equally active on and off campus with educational and service activities. Chapter members provide weather safety tips to children in Iowa schools, volunteer to help clean up towns devastated by tornadoes, coordinate relief for victims of global natural disasters, and provide weather reports for the Iowa State Daily and the student-run cable TV channel. Pictured are chapter president Kevin Smalley and vice president Makenzie Krocak.
Chapelle sharpens the pen for improved STEM writing
Carol Chapelle knows that writing for general purposes and writing for science are two different ballgames, so she’s spearheading a research project to examine the differences. Chapelle, Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of applied linguistics, is creating a national center of scholarship to conduct research on linguistic practices in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), improve pedagogy of writing in STEM fields, and develop computational methods for analysis and assessment. “It’s an important issue for both teaching and learning,” she said about the project called “The Language of Writing in STEM Disciplines.”
Melvin Ejim excels with books and Big 12 boards
He’s a top History student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, he’s a member of a collegiate honor society, and he dunks with the best of them in Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones’ Melvin Ejim was named the 2013 Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete for his academic prowess and for leading the league in rebounding and double-doubles in 2012-13. Ejim, a senior in the 2013-14 season, also was accepted for membership into the ISU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.
Army ROTC’s Cyclone Battalion among nation’s elite
Iowa State’s Army ROTC unit, the Cyclone Battalion, is consistently one of America’s best Army ROTC programs. The battalion has earned one of the nation’s eight prestigious MacArthur Awards for the second year in a row. The honor recognizes it as the best unit in the Cadet Command’s 3rd Brigade, consisting of 40 Midwest Army ROTC programs. The Cyclone Battalion also has attained the nation’s highest average score on the Army Physical Fitness Test for two consecutive years at the rigorous Leadership Development Assessment Course. ISU’s three ROTC programs are located in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.