May-June 2020

Cornell Appointed CALS Study Abroad Director

Jodi Cornell has been appointed the Director of CALS Study Abroad.  Jodi has served the CALS Study Abroad office for over 15 years in a wide range of capacities. For the last several years, he has provided senior leadership for study abroad through his commitment to faculty-led programs, as the coordinator for exchanges and in offering non-academic support to international students. Jodi succeeds Shelley Taylor who was named Director of CALS Global Programs in January.

COVID-19 Update

Due to global uncertainty related to COVID 19, ISU canceled all study abroad courses starting before August 15, 2020. For CALS, the cancelation of summer programs impacted 124 students who’d planned to travel to 18 countries and 2 US territories. These included students on 7 faculty-led programs, on international internships and summer semester programs.

Fall programs are still moving forward, however, as the safety of our students is our top priority, we will monitor the situation through the coming weeks and adjust our plans for future programs accordingly. Please contact Shelley Taylor with questions or concerns.

Please visit the ISU Campus Updates and Resources for the most up-to-date information on ISU’s response to COVID 19.

International Visitor Update

  • The Iowa State University International Students and Scholars Office advises choosing a state date of August 16, 2020 for incoming scholars.
  • The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is still advising that all Exchange Visitor (EV) Programs (J-1 status only) start date be pushed out to May 11, 2020 or later. Click here for DOS updates, and scroll down to the FAQs. 
  • The Iowa Board of Regents has not removed the international travel ban which also applies to incoming international visitor visitors (paid or unpaid), currently in effect until May 27, 2020. Click here for Board of Regents updates. 

Funding Available for Creation of Study Abroad Programs

The CALS Study Abroad office is pleased to announce a limited amount of funding for travel grants available towards the development and sustainability of study abroad opportunities in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Approximate amount of funding could be up to $3,000.  Click here for more information.

CSRL - Passing the Torch

The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) recognizes Dr. Max Rothschild’s 15 years of service as CSRL associate director for livestock development.  “Max launched and then led a truly outstanding livestock program in Uganda”, states CSRL Director, Dr. David Acker.

Recent data suggest that the ISU-Uganda livestock program has directly impacted more than 5,000 farmers and indirectly impacted nearly 17,000 through training, livestock distribution and improved food security. Through his leadership, new opportunities have also been created for children and youth to learn animal husbandry skills and develop personal enterprises to help support the food security and income for their families. Additionally, eggs from the school poultry programs have added valuable protein to school lunch ingredients. Dr. Rothschild designed, developed and raised the funds for a farmer-centered livestock demonstration and training facility in Kamuli.  Dr. Rothschild will retire from ISU in June. CSRL and the people of Kamuli District, Uganda greatly appreciate Dr. Rothschild’s dedicated service!

On April 20, Curtis Youngs took over as the CSRL associate director for livestock development. Dr. Youngs is a Professor of Animal Science at ISU and was recently named to replace Dr. Rothschild as the holder of the prestigious M.E. Ensminger Chair in International Animal Agriculture at ISU.  Dr. Youngs earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in animal science at the University of Minnesota. Throughout his career, Youngs has had international collaborations in research, teaching, and extension/outreach programs in 15 countries across four continents.  Dr. Youngs has worked with Dr. Rothschild leading up to this transition and has already made a number of trips to Uganda. CSRL gives a warm welcome to Dr. Youngs!

Uganda Service Learning School Garden Program Receives Team Award

The Team Award was presented to an interdisciplinary team dedicated to building the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s Service Learning, School Garden Program in Uganda.

For the past 14 years, the service-learning program has provided educational opportunities to more than 300 university students. ISU students live and work together in rural Uganda, alongside students from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. The school garden program, which annually benefits more than 3,000 children, is centered on teaching agricultural skills to youth while contributing to a school lunch program and working with area small-landholder farmers. 

The Iowa State team includes from left in back row:
Lee Burras, professor in Agronomy; Dorothy Masinde, associate teaching professor in Global Resource Systems; Richard Schultz, University Professor in Natural Resources Ecology and Management;  Julie Blanchong, associate professor in Natural Resources Ecology and Management; and Kevin Duerfeldt, assistant teaching professor in Global Resource Systems.

Front row from left:
Catherine Swoboda, assistant teaching professor in Horticulture; Gail Nonnecke, University Professor and Morrill Professor in Horticulture; Shelley Taylor, director of Global Programs; and Tom Brumm, associate professor in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.

CALS Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Helps Supply Food to Uganda Partners During Pandemic

The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods is helping supply much-needed food to rural Ugandans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like the rest of the world, Uganda is now coping with COVID-19. As of April 24, the Uganda Ministry of Health reported 74 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and no deaths in the country.

Recently, Ugandan staff of the Iowa State University-Uganda Program, who work every day to carry out the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods’ programs in the Kamuli District, have pivoted from their normal job responsibilities to ensure hunger doesn’t get a stronger foothold because of the pandemic. Read more

Graduating Senior Organizes Club to Support Ugandan Women

Selling handmade baskets to support Ugandan families doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for the women receiving the funds, it’s life changing.

After spending her 2019 spring semester in the Semester Along the Nile program, Katie Stringer, a graduating senior in global resource systems, looked for ways to expand market opportunities for the women of the Tusubila crafts group in Uganda.

“My goal was to increase market access for the Tusubila crafts group, and we found the best way to do that was to market to Iowa State and Ames,” Stringer said. Read more

COVID-19 Ends Uganda Internship:  Enhances Desire to Fight Future Pandemics

Hannah Heit was disappointed when her internship in Uganda ended abruptly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Heit, a junior in animal science, had traveled the rugged African roads to the Iowa State University Uganda Program (ISU-UP) campus in the Kamuli District in Uganda, where she was studying and volunteering on a semester-long internship.

“I was heartbroken,” Heit said. “There were still many things I wanted to accomplish and experience in Uganda, but unfortunately my trip was cut short.”

Even as Iowa State students in European countries were ordered to return home, Heit felt safe. At the time there were no reported cases of COVID-19 in Uganda.

During the week of spring break, Heit had taken time from her internship to go on a safari and that’s when she learned that the United States was no longer accepting flights from Europe. After learning this she had to quickly get ready to leave Uganda. Read more

Marketing Your Study Abroad Workshop

On March 25, Jessica Boertje, Program Assistant in CALS Global Programs, presented a webinar to assist students on marketing their study abroad experience.  The webinar reflected on the professional benefits of studying abroad, discussed how to format international experience on a resume, and how to incorporate study abroad into behavioral based interview questions. View the recording below:

CALS Study Abroad Program Director Q & A

Dr. Richard Schultz, is a University Professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management and Global Resource Systems in the Department of Horticulture. Dick is a seasoned programs leader that has led programs to Korea, China, Greece, Turkey, Norway, Uganda, Thailand, Ecuador, Peru, Virgin Islands, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia since 2004.

Why do you lead programs?

  • I lead programs because I love to travel and meet new people and old friends. More importantly, I like to expose students who often have a very limited view of the world to a different culture and a different environmental landscape.  Most of my study abroad experiences have focused on developing countries because students are likely to travel to developed countries as adults and may never have an opportunity to visit developing country where more than 1.2 billion people live and where global population growth is and will continue to be the greatest.

What would you say to faculty that are considering leading a program?

  • I would recommend that faculty who are considering it to jump in and do it.  The awesome staff in the CALS Study Abroad office can help with logistics, ordering tickets, etc and help develop itineraries.  I would suggest that interested faculty contact an international peer that they work with, or a former visiting professor or former graduate students to get started.  I have also worked with former students who did internships or Peace Corps overseas to get started with in-country contacts.

What have you learned by leading programs?

  • Leading programs has taught me about different cultures, how people in different environments and cultures address challenges in different ways than we do.  I have also learned that that people all over the world have the same basic concerns of providing families and friends with safe and prosperous lives and that most people around the world like Americans as individuals despite what they may think about our government, etc.  I have also personally experienced how successful trips can be for massively changing students’ perspectives of the world and how they fit into it.  Our students’ outlook on what they have and the world in general is changed forever and I believe that makes them better global citizens.

What has been your favorite program that you have led?

  • My favorite trips are service-learning trips where students get to work with and live in or close to the communities where they work.  I have been going to Uganda once or twice a year for more than 10 years and because of the friends I have made there and the positive results of the work that the students have done there is probably my favorite.  However, our hike to Machu Picchu on the Inca trail at elevations up to 14,000 ft and our climb up Cotapaxii mountain, the highest live volcano in the world in Ecuador, or the work with elephants in Thailand, etc. all could be classed as favorites for different reasons.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

  • I love to travel and as an ecologist/forester I love to spend time in forests, prairies, etc. – when I travel I enjoy spending time with small groups of people that include both locals and our students.

Why should students study abroad?

  • Students should study abroad to learn about themselves and others in the world, to appreciate what they have but learn what others also have, to get out of their comfort zone, to leave something of themselves behind in a service learning trip, etc.

Student Spotlight

Ross Cady

Major: Agricultural Business • Study Abroad Experience: Edinburgh and London

Ross Cady, a junior in agricultural business from Tampico, Illinois applied as a freshman to the CALS Study Abroad Brexit Spring Break 2018 program and was accepted. Ross applied for the program with doubts of being accepted as a freshman, but much to his surprise was accepted and committed into the program. Ross returned from the travel course with a new outlook and goal to study abroad in the future. Ross was also a recipient of the Behrens Scholarship for Study Abroad, which made a huge impact on his decision to study abroad, “The scholarships available through the college and CALS Study Abroad Office demonstrate how much value the college sees in helping students become global citizens through study abroad.” Ross is now considering a semester long study abroad program that would allow him to spend more time abroad, giving him the opportunity to become more immersed in a new culture, study and learn from a new system and grow more as an individual. Ross’ advice for students that are considering an opportunity abroad is to, “Just go for it. The application is rather simple to complete and even if you aren’t accepted, there are always other programs available.” Ross is active in his fraternity Alpha Gamma Rho, CALS Ambassadors, Agricultural Business Club and National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA).


Katherine Kilmer

Major: Animal Ecology • Study Abroad Experience: New Zealand (Massey University)

“Massey University's classes have allowed me to further expand upon my knowledge on the native fauna of New Zealand. The global pandemic of COVID-19 has actually further strengthened my learning experience. I was able to obtain an exemption to allow me to remain in New Zealand. Massey University set a four-week break in classes during the country-wide lockdown, providing me with lots of time to explore various topics and set new routines. I was able to learn some HTML code, gain a better understanding of OneHealth, analyze COVID-19 responses in a OneHealth manner, and more. When classes started back up on April 20th, I felt more prepared than ever due to learning more efficient study methods and having better time management due to the lockdown. My entire study abroad experience has been amazing, and has continued to be a wonderful learning experience.

I would like to thank the donors, as studying abroad is an amazing experience. Without donors, most college students would be unable to go on these amazing, life-changing experiences. I would like to thank the faculty, administration, and staff, because someone needs to run or organize these study abroad experiences. Keep up the good work! And for any future students, I would highly recommend considering some form of studying abroad. Even if it is just for a week, studying abroad leads to amazing experiences that you will never forget.”

Katherine is a Dean's Study Abroad Leadership Scholar.


Global Update, a newsletter to keep Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty and staff informed of international activities and initiatives, is prepared bi-monthly. To subscribe, send your name, e-mail address and the message "Global Update subscribe" to gap@iastate.edu.  To unsubscribe, send "Global Update unsubscribe."