May Highlights

State Hygienic LaboratoryThe State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa held dedication ceremonies for its new building on the UI Research Park Campus in Coralville. The three-story, 113,900-square-foot facility houses Iowa's environmental and public health laboratory. Funded by federal and state appropriations, the $37.75 million, state-of-the-art laboratory replaced the lab in Oakdale Hall, which was built as a tuberculosis hospital in 1917. The Hygienic Laboratory moved to this location in the mid-1970s.

Five distinguished guests received honorary doctorates from the University: world famous television reporter and author Tom Brokaw; Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. poet laureate Robert Hass; John Pappajohn, one of the University’s most influential entrepreneurs and philanthropists; popular and trailblazing former University of Iowa women’s head basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer; and Gregs Thomopulos, an Iowa engineering leader.

Georgina DodgeGeorgina Dodge, an assistant vice provost for the Office of Minority Affairs at Ohio State University, was named The University of Iowa’s chief diversity officer and associate vice president. In her new position, Dodge was also appointed an adjunct associate professor of English.

 

Ford Motor Company acquired the services of Santos, a creation of the Virtual Soldier Research program at the University of Iowa Center for Computer-Aided Design, allowing Ford to improve quality, safety, and ergonomics in factories before an assembly line is built. Santos, created for the U.S. Department of Defense to study physical strain on soldiers, is designed with a complete biomechanical muscular system to provide feedback on fatigue, speed, strength, and torque.

University of Iowa President Sally Mason and 14 other college and university leaders called on Congress and President Barack Obama to rewrite the nation's transportation policy so that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is made a top priority. Mason and her colleagues were members of the Second Nature National Transportation Task Force, a national, Boston-based nonprofit organization that serves and supports senior college and university leaders in making sustainability the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.

Using on-board, event-triggered video recorders to document the driving activities of new teenage drivers and sharing the videos with teen drivers and their parents can greatly reduce the number of potentially dangerous driving events. That was the finding of a study by Daniel McGehee, director of the Human Factors and Vehicle Safety Research Program at the University of Iowa Public Policy Center, and his colleagues. The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Hancher, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the College of Public Health took Robert and Rebecca Bluestone, nationally recognized artists dedicated to exploring the role of creativity and the arts in health care, on a “Journey Through Iowa.” They visited Spencer, Algona, Des Moines, Grinnell, and Davenport, visiting cancer centers and hospitals, performing and working with patients, family members, doctors, and medical care providers.

The University of Iowa Foundation received a $1 million gift from the estate of Herman J. "Herm" Schmidt of Greenwich, Conn., to support an endowed chair in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The gift established the Herman J. and Eileen S. Schmidt Chair. Schmidt, a native of Davenport, Iowa, who received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University in 1938, desired that the chair be awarded to a faculty member in any CLAS department who demonstrates a priority and emphasis on teaching undergraduates.

Thousands of infants and preschoolers in Iowa have received the eye care they need, thanks to Iowa KidSight, a joint project of Lions Clubs of Iowa and the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at University of Iowa Children's Hospital. The program celebrated its 10th anniversary on May 20. Since its inception, Iowa KidSight has provided more than 171,000 free screenings for children ages 6 months to 6 years. The assessments check for eye problems related to misaligned eyes, cataracts, and problems that can be corrected with eyeglasses.

John W. and Mary Ann Colloton of Coralville, Iowa, offered a gift of $100,000 to help advance the University of Iowa College of Public Health and position it for further growth and development. At the request of the Collotons, the funds are to be used at the discretion of College of Public Health dean Sue Curry. The College of Public Health's ongoing $15 million capital campaign, Building Today for a Healthy Tomorrow, is focused on financing a new building that will be the college's first academic home, as well as providing funds for student and faculty support and other programmatic development.

Signal pathways regulate biological processes, including those related to human physiology, and understanding them is fundamental to learning how cancers arise. David Soll, professor of biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and his colleagues opened a unique window into this area of research by examining a newly evolved pathway in the cells of the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. The way in which this pathway evolved may be similar to the way in which comparable pathways evolved in human cells.

Stacey Walker

Our People

STACEY WALKER
Mentoring takes UI political science student beyond rough neighborhoods and childhood tragedy to a national spokesperson role for the Boys and Girls Club of America.

After losing his mother to violence and growing up in a tough neighborhood, Stacey Walker recognizes in his background what early social awareness and ambition can do to shape a life, and fully understands the power of mentorship.

Walker, a University of Iowa senior studying political science, hopes his interest in public policy and his continuing involvement as a spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) will help inspire the next generation.

“Relationships are what life’s about,” he says. “People will say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Inherent in that is what kind of relationships you have with the people around you.”

Walker and his younger sister moved in with their grandmother, Shirley Martin, after their mother was murdered when Walker was 4 years old. It wasn’t long before Walker recognized that he had company in his circumstance in the rough-and-tumble Oak Hill neighborhood of Cedar Rapids.

Walker and his friends avoided the circle of drugs and violence by participating in an afterschool program at the Jane Boyd Community House, just blocks from where they lived. Later, the management relocated and started the Cedar Rapids chapter of the BGCA, which received its charter in 1993.

There, Walker’s interest in sports took hold. He became a three-sport athlete in high school, and still managed time for mock trial and debate. Walker also settled into a mentoring role with BGCA. He served as a national spokesperson for the club, a role that took him to many domestic and international forums. He met and developed relationships with such notables as Sen. Orrin Hatch and actor Denzel Washington in the process. He recently participated in a health and fitness event held by the BGCA to fight childhood obesity. Other panel members included Olympians Shawn Johnson, Dominique Dawes, and Dr. Tenley Albright.

“We looked at everything from why Americans aren’t active enough to issues of self-esteem and image with women,” Walker says. “This is what I enjoy most: seeing people come together, trying to get genuine results.

“It seems like every other month I’m getting called to do something cool. I’ve been given the opportunity to meet and be influenced by some of the greatest thinkers and minds.”