September 2012 -- From Cathann Kress
Extension and Outreach builds capacity. We strengthen partnerships across the university to enhance connections with communities throughout the state. This work takes commitment — from campus faculty and staff; specialists throughout the state; our staff, volunteers and elected council members in every county; and the citizens of Iowa. That’s why we’ve completed two public town hall meetings, in Ames and Atlantic, and next week we head to Storm Lake, Oskaloosa and Waterloo. It’s important that we have these conversations, so Iowans can tell us what’s on their minds.
What are Iowans’ concerns regarding economic development, food and the environment, K-12 education, health and well-being and other pressing issues? We’re having these town hall meetings, because we want to listen. With more engagement from Iowans, Iowa State can become the university that best serves its state.
On Sept. 4 Lynne Campbell of Grimes started work as the first manager for the North Central STEM Hub at Iowa State University. She will lead efforts to increase opportunities for student achievement in science, technology, engineering and math, and create a stronger STEM workforce through the hub network of public-private partnerships.
Iowa State is one of six Iowa STEM hubs selected by the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council in May. Each STEM network hub will work with business, education institutions, nonprofit groups and others in their region in a way that best fits local needs, interests and resources. The hubs will provide more equitable statewide access to outstanding Iowa STEM education programs.
Thanks to business assistance from ISU Extension and Outreach and the Community Vitality Center, along with an Iowa MicroLoan, José Rodas’ dream came true. In March the Ottumwa entrepreneur opened his own business and sold his first tortillas. Since then, Tortillería Los Twins has created three jobs and is currently reporting strong sales to daily customers.
Without the extension assistance and the Iowa MicroLoan, Rodas said he never would have opened his doors. Himar Hernández, an ISU Extension community and economic development specialist, is currently helping Rodas with expanding the business, packaging and additional marketing. See the complete story in the Community Matters newsletter.
Extension and Outreach specialists who work with families typically focus on nutrition and health, family life or finance. However, Iowa families face issues that aren’t easily divided into academic subject areas. In a new position that reflects the interdisciplinary nature of family issues, Cindy Thompson is serving as a family life/family finance program specialist in northeast Iowa.
“I will train and work with the university to provide the communities I work for with the family life and finance expertise they need,” the new extension specialist said. “I am looking forward to being on the front end of things related to children and families in the state.”
Many Iowa businesses are looking for opportunities to make their processes more eco-friendly while improving their bottom line. That’s why CIRAS now offers two fast-paced workshops that combine classroom-style learning with interactive “live” simulations: Green 101—Green Generalist Training; and Dumpster Dive—Materials Use and Solid Waste Management. Training is available at public workshops; companies also may schedule training at their location.
Seminar participant Marty Fox, president of Decker Manufacturing, said the seminars were a great tool for implementing green practices. “We learned how to use materials more efficiently and how to reduce our amount of waste,” Fox said. For more information, contact Mike O’Donnell, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Farm Progress Show is known for its extensive array of information and technology for today’s farmers. Iowa State University has a permanent presence at the show for one reason – to deliver on our land-grant mission of serving and educating.
The theme of Iowa State’s main exhibit, working together to care for the land, provided faculty, researchers and extension specialists with a platform for discussing Iowa’s landscape. Visitors learned about the relationships between soil and water, how soil and water interact with plants and people, and how the actions they take influence the landscape beyond their own farms. Watch videos to see some of what you missed. More information about the Iowa State display topics is available online.