WISE Program

Meet the Women in Science and Engineering Staff


Chris Brus - Director of WISE 319-335-3511, Email Chris

Chris was born in Nebraska and is a true Midwesterner, having lived in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa; and yes, she LOVES snow! As the second director of WISE, Chris took the reins in October of 1998 and hasn't looked back. Having worked with underrepresented populations in K-12 and Higher Ed for the last twenty years, most notably women in STEM, student of color, and scientifically gifted rural youth, she is a passionate educator and advocate for equity.

Chris has an undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies (music and creative writing), a Master's degree in Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health along with certification and registration as a Cytotechnologist through the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. Among other things, Chris has worked in pathology labs, coordinated large federally-funded research grants, developed summer outreach institutes for K-12 students and educators, and served as the Director of Community Outreach and Education for the federally-funded Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, situated on the UI's Oakdale Campus.

Chris sees her primary responsibilities (and those of WISE) as:

  1. To implement timely and targeted programming for women in STEM to increase their retention from K-12, through college, and into the workforce.
  2. To educate parents, instructors, and administrators about barriers that still diminish women's genuine participation in STEM disciplines, many of which are built into the system (systemic) and not perpetrated by individuals.
  3. To act as a catalyst, bringing often overlooked issues to the administrative 'table' so they can be addressed in a visible and transparent way with all stakeholders at the 'table'.
  4. To provide individual advocacy for any member of the UI stem population as requested.

Please feel free to contact Chris for further information about WISE; to offer comments about how WISE is doing; to provide suggestions about what we should do next; or just to talk!


Angel Cheng - Coordinator, Grad/Post-Doc Professional Workshops

Hi, my name is Angel Yiting Cheng, and I joined the WISE staff in August 2010 as the Graduate Assistant for Grad/Post-Doc Programs. I am currently pursuing a PhD degree at the University of Iowa in Counseling Psychology.  My professional interests include diversity and social justice issues.

I am originally from Taipei, Taiwan. And I completed my B.A. in Psychology/ Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin in 2008.  Prior to coming to Iowa, l worked with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, serving children, the elderly, and the disabled with abuse or neglect history. During my time in Iowa, I have worked as a doctoral practicum counselor at University of Iowa Counseling Service, Iowa City Shelter House, Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA. and Iowa City VA Outpatient Mental Health Clinic. I am currently a counseling intern at Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC).

Outside of school and work, I enjoy taking road trips and exploring different regions of the U.S. (20 states and counting!) Other personal interests include yoga, movies, photography, and good food.

I am extremely honored to be able to work with the wonderful WISE women across different undergraduate and graduate programs. Please do not hesitate to email me regarding any questions you may have, or ideas that you want to share with WISE staff!


Samantha Vancel - Coordinator, Peer Mentoring Program / Ambassadors Program

Hi, my name is Samantha Vancel and I am the WISE Peer Mentoring and Ambassadors Coordinator! I am originally from Arizona. I graduated from Arizona State University in 2009 with a BAE in math education. I’ve been teaching middle school and high school math for the past three years. In addition to working with WISE, I am a first year PhD student in school psychology.

In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, seeing good movies, and spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy doing active things like playing sports, hiking, etc. I also have a dog named Sadie who keeps me very busy! I am very excited to be working with WISE.

My goal is to help you have the best possible experience, so please don’t hesitate to e-mail me or swing by during any of my office hours. I’m always here to help and answer questions!



Megan McDowell, Be-WISE LLC Program Coordinator

Hello! My name is Megan McDowell and I am excited to be working with the Be-WISE Living Learning Community this year. I am about to start my second year of graduate school, pursuing a Master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs and I love working with college students.

I am originally from Albany, OR and moved to Tucson, AZ to attend the University of Arizona. I graduated in 2008 with a degree in Chemical Education and taught high school math and science for four years before moving to Iowa. 

I love to play sports, read, cook, travel, and spend time with my family and friends. I love seeing new parts of the country by taking road trips with my partner and our dog.

I am happy to help WISE women in any way that I can. So, please feel free to email me with any questions, concerns, or humorous musings.



Kaitlin Glagola - Peer Mentoring Assistant and Ambassadors Student Liaison

Hi! My name is Kaitlin Glagola and I’m from Plainfield, IL. I started working for WISE in January 2012 as the Undergraduate Assistant. I am a second-year Psychology major and also a member of WISE Ambassadors!

In my free time, I like to ice skate, something that I have been doing since I was 4 years old. In high school, my synchronized skating team qualified for Team USA and I had the amazing opportunity to compete in France and Sweden with my team. I also really enjoy baking when I have free time. You can reach me any time of the year at wise@uiowa.edu. Please do NOT hesitate to email me if you have any questions about anything! I am excited to meet everyone!


WISE Organizational Chart (updated August 2013)


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