Tuesday, February 6, 2024

The Iowa Sciences Academy was featured in an article, "Supporting Student Success in the Sciences," in the Department of Biology 2023 Newsletter. The article reads:

The Iowa Sciences Academy (ISA), formerly known as the Iowa Biosciences Academy (IBA), serves as an umbrella for a range of programs that support the success of qualified University of Iowa undergraduate students interested in scientific research and communication. ISA supports freshman and sophomore students in research labs through the Science Alliance program, encourages and supports transfer students to participate in research through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, and provides NIH-funded fellowships for junior and senior researchers through the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) grant. Additionally, ISA offers the Latham Science Engagement Fellowship for students interested in science communication. Students in the Latham Fellow program complete two courses and design and implement capstone projects that are presented at the year-end Latham Showcase public event. All programs affiliated with ISA hold diversity and inclusion as core values. Across all programs, ISA supported 50 students during the fall semester of 2023.

ISA also offers a range of affiliated courses, professional development activities, and responsible conduct of research training, as well as a Peer Mentoring Program. Students in ISA programs have unique access to hands-on research, mentoring, professional development, and scientific outreach opportunities, recognizing that the role of one-on-one mentoring is critical. Maurine Neiman, Professor of Biology, has mentored multiple students across all ISA programs. Dr. Neiman says, "I am very fortunate to partner with ISA as a mentor. ISA provides a unique mechanism to connect with and support early-career scientists. The individuals I have mentored have consistently enriched my research program and my life."

To support the ISA programs, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) awarded three half-time Graduate Assistantships in 2023 as part of a pilot program supporting assistantships in writing, editing, and community engagement. The supported graduate students are Briante Najev, a Ph.D. candidate in the Integrated Biology (iBio) Graduate Program; Hailey Kingsbury, a student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Graduate Program; and Jacob Payne, a teaching assistant in the Physics and Astronomy Graduate Program. A fourth graduate student, Jahnavi Pandya, a research assistant in the Psychological and Quantitative Foundations Graduate Program, is funded by MARC and serves as the ISA Career Counselor.

ISA would also like to welcome the new Associate Director, Kristina Venzke, who started with ISA in January 2023, and Joan Aune, who joined ISA as the Administrative Services Coordinator in October 2023. Hailey Odell, an undergraduate student, was also hired in October 2023 to help with office administration, marketing, and communications. ISA looks forward to working with all the new staff and graduate students who joined the program this year!

ISA is administratively housed in the Department of Biology and is directed by Lori Adams, Associate Professor of Instruction in Biology and Director of Science Engagement with CLAS. Additional members of the leadership team include Tori Forbes, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the MATFab Facility and Co-Principal Investigator (PI) of MARC, and Vincent Rodgers, Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Co-PI of LSAMP.