By providing experiential, outside-the-classroom learning opportunities, whether in the form of research projects, internships or study abroad programs, Iowa State is inspiring students like Karine Holmes to gain the knowledge and skills needed to improve lives.
“I never thought I’d fall in love with a stalagmite,” Karine Holmes says.
As an undergraduate research assistant in Professor Alan Wanamaker’s Stable Isotope Paleo Environments Research Group, she spent hours looking for long-hidden secrets in a 100,000-year-old Columbian stalagmite, a search that has become her passion.
“You can see the progression of climate change in them,” she says. “They show evidence of changes in rainfall amounts associated with warming and cooling events that we can compare with data from today. It’s amazing that this stalagmite can help people halfway across the world prepare for coming changes.”
—Karine Holmes, 2022 graduate in geology
Experiences that set career courses
The complex work Karine is involved in is among the numerous learning experiences offered to Iowa State students.
For Karine, that means getting to drill into stalagmites from caves in Portugal or spending a summer internship on a National Science Foundation research vessel learning how rising ocean temperatures could impact regions a thousand miles from a coastline, such as Iowa. The experiences affirmed “the importance of this research setting the course for my future career in paleoclimatology,” she says.
Hearts, minds and horizons expanded
Karine is just one example of a student who’s getting perspective-expanding experiences at Iowa State. For Grace Jakes, a “town kid who dreamed of working with animals on a farm,” a study abroad trip to Uganda broadened her world – and goals. “I want to work at the nexus of animal health, economic development and environmental sustainability,” says the 2022 graduate in animal science and global resource systems.
Always interested in politics and advocacy, Natalia Rios Martinez honed these skills through on- and off-campus experiences. The senior in political science, international studies and public relations has interned with the Iowa House of Representatives and in the civil rights division at the Iowa Department of Transportation. Her goal is to be a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice and to represent her native Puerto Rico in Congress on a platform of alleviating social injustices in the territory and helping to restructure its healthcare system.
— Grace Jakes, 2022 graduate in animal science and global resource systems
Prepared for the deep dive
By providing experiential, outside-the-classroom learning opportunities, whether in the form of research projects, internships or study abroad programs, Iowa State is inspiring students to gain the knowledge and skills needed to improve lives.
As for Karine, a spring 2022 geology graduate, “I’m looking forward to immersing myself in my doctoral program in biogeochemical oceanography to understand how our climate today is still affecting the ocean and all of its processes.”