About Us

WISE Monthly Profiles

Each month (or two) throughout the academic year, WISE profiles an amazing woman who is connected to the WISE Program. We work closely with faculty, staff, post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students, alumni, the community, and corporate and individual sponsors - we appreciate your belief in and support for our program's goals, and we want to recognize you for your involvement. Thank you!


January/February 2009

Jan HollisJan Hollis
Math Teacher, City High School, Iowa City
K-12 Mathematics Coordinator, Iowa City Community School District

Hometown: Westminster, MD (but born in Gettysburg, PA)

Earned degrees:
B.A., College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA (Mathematics)
M.A., University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (Mathematics Education)

Role of math coordinator: Most of the curriculum coordinators in the Iowa City district have teaching responsibilities as well as duties coordinating curriculum and instruction for grades K-12. I teach 60% of each day and then during my coordination time, I provide support for all K-12 math teachers, provide leadership and chair the curriculum review team during the curriculum review process, supervise and provide leadership for the K-6 Math Area Resource Team (MARS), provide professional development for math teachers in grades 7-12, coordinate assessments of individual students, and serve on district leadership committees.

Why is it important for students to be involved in science & math learning? Almost any profession or career that someone chooses uses math and/or science as a tool. With the technological advances in the world over the past 25 years, it is critical that all students have the opportunity to compete in a global society. We want to ensure that all students become responsible, independent, lifelong learners.

Most rewarding part of this career: The knowledge that I have an impact on the mathematics education of all 10,000+ students in the ICCSD is a very humbling feeling but also very rewarding. To know that I indirectly help shape the future for all of our students is what drives me to do the best job I can do every single day. My direct contact and influence on the 90 students in the three classes I teach is also very rewarding.

Involvement with WISE: Collaboration on workshops for K-12 girls, individual financial sponsor

Words from a WISE woman: A favorite quote of mine comes from Charles Swindoll. "The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life if 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it."





November/December 2008

Sophie KrajewskiSophie Krajewski, Junior
Major: Biology
Minor: American Indian and Native Studies

Hometown: Iowa City, IA

Career goals: Veterinarian, small animal or equine.

Research position: Johnson Lab Research Technician - Johnson Lab is a fruit fly lab. I make fly food, transfer stocks, sort flies and collect virgins, and then set up different crosses of flies. We're studying genetics, looking at neurons in the brain.

Reason for pursuing a career in science: I am interested in science because I think it is fascinating how much is going on inside of a human or animal and how everything comes together to produce what we know as life. Animals are my passion, so I wanted a career where I could not only work with them, but help them to improve their quality of life.

Proudest accomplishment thus far at college: Making honors.

WISE involvement: Peer Mentor (2 years), former WISE Mentee

Words from a WISE woman: Find a career that you are truly passionate about, one that excites you every time you think about it, and then do everything in your power to get there. Live your life with no regrets, so you will never have to wonder what could have been.





September/October 2008

Madeline GodarAlesha NickesonWISE Student Assistants
Madeline Godar and Alesha Nickeson

Madeline Godar
Sophomore, Integrative Physiology and Psychology

Hometown: Marion, Iowa

WISE involvement: WISE Mentee (2007-08), WISE Mentoring Assistant (2008-09), WISE Ambassadors (2008-09)

Career interests: Medicine (M.D. or D.O.), Cardiothoracic surgery

Reason for coming to the UI: It's close enough to home - without being too close!

Favorite part about the first year of college: Finally becoming friends with my roommate, halfway through the second semester! We lived with each other the entire year, but never really became friends until late in the year. We're living together again this year!

Words from a WISE woman: Whatever it is that you want to do in life, make sure that you're doing it for yourself, and not for anyone else. You'll be happier this way.

Alesha Nickeson
Sophomore, Business

Hometown: Maquoketa, Iowa

WISE involvement: WISE Mentee (2007-08), WISE Learning Community (2007-09), WISE Learning Community Liaison (2008-09)

Career interests: Work in the science industry, perhaps in marketing

Reason for coming to the UI: I love the Hawkeye Spirit and the big campus! I also originally started as a Biomedical Engineering major, which is a good major here.

Favorite part about the first year of college: Dance Marathon

Words from a WISE woman: College is a great time to learn not only about school but about yourself. Remember, it's not about who you are, it's about who you become.




April/May 2008

Vicki GrassianVicki H. Grassian
Professor, Department of Chemistry, with appointments in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and Occupational and Environmental Health

Hometown: New York City, NY and Stony Brook, NY

Earned degrees: 
B.S., State University of New York-Albany
M.S., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Colorado State University
Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of California-Berkeley

Research interests: I have a broad range of interests, including heterogeneous chemistry of particles in the atmosphere with trace gases and understanding this chemistry on multiple length scales from molecular-level interactions to global impacts. I am also interested in the applications and implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology in environmental processes, trying to both understand how nanomaterials can be used (for example, in environmental remediation) and also trying to understand the potential impacts of manufactured nanomaterials on human health and the environment if they were to be produced in large quantities.

Teaching interests: I teach a number of lecture and seminar courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including physical chemistry, surface science, environmental science, nanoscience, and first year chemistry courses.

What motivated you to study science? I enjoy the quantitative nature of science, the challenges of scientific discovery and the excitement of making new discoveries first. I also think that science can be used in a very positive way to make the world a better place, and that has been a motivating factor for me since I was an undergraduate student.

Most rewarding part of your career: I really enjoy working with undergraduate and graduate students in the laboratory. It is often a first time research experience for many people and I want them to feel the excitement of that experience as I did when I started doing research as an undergraduate.

Words from a WISE woman: Be the best that you can be, that is all anyone can ask of you - and remember that science careers, like other careers, revolve around luck, native intelligence, and hard work. It is only with the latter that you have complete control.




March 2008

Missy RumpleMissy Rumple - UI Alumna, May 2007; Current MSN graduate student
Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Minor: Studio Art

Employment: University of Iowa Children's Hospital

Hometown: Casey, IA

Employment: Pediatric Staff Nurse, General Pediatrics Cardiology at the UI Children's Hospital; I work in the most amazing pediatric unit providing nursing care for incredible kids from neonate to 18 years who have cardiac, pulmonary, neurological, otolaryngological, neuromuscular, orthopedic, and genetic conditions as well as general pediatrics and children post-operative.

Current program of study: Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at the University of Iowa. My focuses: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Practice Nurse in Genetics. Anticipated graduation of August 2010 then potentially completing my PhD in genetics.

Career goals: Pediatric Genetic Counselor for children with neuromuscular diseases. I am considering teaching or research in genetics after graduate school.

Reason for pursuing this career path: Volunteering with kids with muscular dystrophy at MDA Summer Camp at Camp Courageous every June since 2002. If interested in volunteering, please contact me!

WISE involvement: Learning Community at Iowa State University ('02-'04), University of Iowa WISE Mentor ('05-'07), WISE Panelist for a volunteering workshop (represented MDA Summer Camp)

Words from a WISE woman: Always make time for yourself because if you cannot care for yourself, you will not be fully dedicated. Remember to smile, be polite, and say thank you.





February 2008

Marcy ReinekeMarcy Reineke - UI Alumna, June 2007
Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.)
Visiting Clinical Instructor, UI College of Dentistry

Hometown: Elysian, MN

Employment: Visiting clinical instructor at the College of Dentistry, with a focus on clinical implant research. I see patients as a general dentist, see patients that are participating in clinical research, work with dental students in the implant clinic, and work on my current implant research project.

Career goals: I would like to own my own dental office.

Reason for pursuing this career path: I have always had an interest in dentistry. I love to work with my hands and be creative. Dentistry is the perfect mix of art and science.

Undergraduate education: I attended four years of undergraduate school at UI before dental school, but never got an undergraduate degree. I have decided to return for the one undergraduate class to get my BLS degree.

WISE involvement: WISE Mentee ('99-'00), WISE Mentor ('01-'02, '02-'03)

Words from a WISE woman: "Don't let what you can't do get in the way of what you can do." - Author unknown




January 2008

Shameika WilmingtonShameika Wilmington, Senior
Major: Biochemistry

Hometown: Davenport, IA

WISE involvement: Active involvement in WISE (2003-current); WISE RA (2004-2006); WISE Liaison (2006-2007)

Career interests: Going to graduate school to obtain my PhD; do research with an emphasis on molecular biology and human disease

Reason for pursuing this major/career path: I chose Biochemistry because I am very curious, and I love the idea of being able to solve problems and discuss the unknown.  The idea of studying biological and chemical process in humans really appealed to me, so with the help of a high school teacher, I chose to major in Biochemistry. 

Proudest accomplishment (thus far) while in college: Winning two National Awards for presentations on my research project

Words from a WISE woman: Anything that you really want to do, you can do.  It may sound cheesy, corny, or cliche, but it is very true.  Nothing is impossible. There will always be challenges and obstacles ahead, that is a part of life.  The prize is already yours, you just have to go out and get it.




November/December 2007

Cornelia LangCornelia Lang
Assistant Professor
Department of Physics & Astronomy

Hometown: Grand Forks, ND

Earned degrees: 
BS (Physics and Astronomy), Vassar College
PhD (Astronomy), University of California, Los Angeles

Research interests: I am interested in understanding the astrophysics of the very central regions of our Milky Way galaxy. In particular, I am interested in the interactions between the stars and gas in this region and the magnetic field. Ultimately I want to try to understand our Galactic Center in the context of other nearby galactic centers.

Teaching interests: I believe it is very important to bring relevance to the classroom, no matter what type of students I am teaching:  non-majors, majors and graduate students. Putting the material into a larger, broader context and showing students how to use the knowledge are crucial aspects of my teaching. I like students to leave my classes really feeling like they have learned something that they will remember (and possibly use) down the road.

Who/what motivated you to study science?  Without really knowing it, my father, who is a biologist (studying crocodiles, alligators, turtles), was the motivator in getting me interested in science. I grew up with it and I learned about the hard work and rewards involved with research.

Most rewarding part of your career:  The interactions I have with my colleagues, collaborators and students are the best parts of my job. Many people think that scientists work in isolation and that simply isn't true. I am continually amazed by the degree to which I communicate what I am doing (through teaching and at conferences) and get valuable feedback from other scientists and students alike. It's a real joy! 

Words from a WISE woman: Don't forget to become well-rounded as a person!  This is true at many levels: as a student, don't forget to take courses outside of science: history, politics, classical studies, social sciences, music, art and other scientific disciplines. And after college, don't forget to take time out for activities that you enjoy - hobbies, sports, family, travel. This brings vitality back to your scientific work!




October 2007

Lauren WilsonLauren Wilson - UI Alumna, May 2007
Bachelor of Science - Engineering
Design Engineer, CIVCO Medical Solutions

Hometown: Naperville, IL (now residing in North Liberty, IA)

Employment: CIVCO Medical Solutions, Kalona, IA

Position: Design Engineer - I use computer design programs such as Pro-Engineer to design and develop products for the medical industry. I work on a project starting at initial development through manufacturing, testing, FDA approval, and release.

WISE involvement: WISE Mentee, WISE Mentor (3 years)

Other UI involvement: SWE Past-President, Treasurer, and Committee Chair

How I stay connected to the U of Iowa: I am a member of the professional section of the Society of Women Engineers. We are centered in East Central Iowa and part of our responsibility is to help the student sections at the local campuses. I am serving as the liaison between the students and the professionals. I am on campus quite a bit and try to attend as many of the student section activities as I can.

The biggest difference between college and career: The FREE TIME, of course! After working an 8-5 schedule there is not much, however not having homework at night really makes a difference.

Words from a WISE woman: Find something that interests you and go after it, no matter the obstacles. I have always thought that something you have to fight to achieve makes it that much more important in the end.




September 2007

Disha DayalDisha Dayal - 5th Year PhD Student, Radiation Oncology

Hometown: Delhi, India

Career interests: Cancer Biology, Oxidative stress, Mitochondrial functions, Radiation-induced genomic instability

Earned degrees:
MS (Biotechnology): Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India
BS (Chemistry): St Stephen's College, Delhi, India

WISE involvement: Dr. Eunice Beam WISE Travel Grant Awardee

Reason for pursuing PhD: Researching a cure for a disease is scientifically challenging, but at the same time, emotionally very gratifying. Having seen cancer patients very closely in my family, I felt this could be my small contribution towards fighting this terrible disease.

Favorite part about Iowa City: My favorite part about Iowa City is definitely its people....friendly, helpful and full of enthusiasm!

Words from a WISE woman: Never be scared to stand up for what you believe is right, irrespective of what the ultimate result might be.




August 2007

Kendra MeyerKendra Meyer - Senior,
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Minors: Mathematics, Spanish

Hometown: Ankeny, IA

Career interests: Business Consulting, Field Engineering

WISE involvement: Ambassadors Secretary, Peer Mentor (3 years), former WISE Mentee, former WISE Learning Community member, End-of-year WISE Party Planner

Favorite part about college: Being able to take the opportunity to do the things that I want to do.

Favorite part about Iowa City: Having a great hospital be a part of our community and college, and being able to walk around our beautiful campus!

Words from a WISE woman: Be sure to take time to find out who you are and what your dreams are. Then follow them!




Undergrad dinner

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