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NSF Fellowships

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Three graduate students—Abigail Berkebile, Edmarie Guzman-Velez, and Caitlin Hilliard—have each secured a 2012-13 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship to pursue graduate studies at the University of Iowa.

Berkebile joins the Ph.D. program in biosciences in 2012-13; Guzman-Velez and Hilliard are both Ph.D. candidates in psychology. Each of the scholars will receive three years of support from the NSF, including a $30,000 annual stipend and a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance.

Ralph Hazlewood

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. Sometimes called the silent thief of sight, glaucoma can damage your vision so gradually that you may not notice any loss of sight until the disease is at an advanced stage.

Elizabeth Catlett

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Watch a video of Elizabeth Catlett.

A six-foot-high bronze sculpture of an elegant woman in high heels graces the entrance lobby of the Iowa Memorial Union. Since 2007, the sculpture has dignified this space, exuding confidence among University of Iowa students who study there.

“I suspect that people walk by and don’t realize what they’re seeing,” says Susan Boyd, Iowa City art supporter and wife of former University of Iowa President Willard “Sandy” Boyd.

ACT Scholars Program

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Find more information on the Graduate College website.

The ACT Scholars Program, co-directed by ACT and the University of Iowa’s Graduate College, provides academic and professional development opportunities for qualified students pursuing graduate degrees at the UI.

ACT, founded in 1959 as the American College Testing Program by UI education leaders E.F. Lindquist and Ted McCarrel, committed $5 million to the University of Iowa Foundation in 2009 to endow the ACT Scholars Program. While pursuing graduate degrees at the UI, recipients simultaneously obtain on-the-job training at ACT that supports professional development and learning.

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"Combined Efforts" engages all in community outreach

By David V. Henderson, Graduate College writer

Janet Schlapkohl gets impatient when people try to praise her for being “so patient.”

“I’m the least patient person I know,” says Schlapkohl, who 10 years ago founded Combined Efforts, a local non-profit theatre group.

stef shuster

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Visit Transcollaborations, a site on working toward (trans)gender justice in Iowa City.

By Lois J. Gray
University Communication and Marketing

stef shuster recalls the frustration experienced when filling out the Institutional Review Board (IRB) application to conduct graduate research.

“It was very formulaic, and so many of the questions were constructed in a binary way,” says the 29-year-old University of Iowa doctoral student in sociology who is conducting research on transgender communities and identities—and whose name is intentionally lowercase.

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Graduate Genetics faculty win Diversity Catalyst Award

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Juan Santana

Juan Santana

Juan Santana, a Ph. D. candidate in the University of Iowa’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics, is doing exactly what he wants to do.

Professors at the University of Puerto Rico-Humacao impressed on Santana what the study of genetics as a discipline meant for all living things.

“It really fascinated me,” says Santana, who majored in microbiology as an undergraduate. “I knew genetics was the route I was going to take.”

Pursuing this fascination has led Santana on a journey from his hometown of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico to Iowa City.

While considering Ph.D. programs, a friend talked to him about her positive experience as a summer research student at the University of Iowa. He applied and was invited to interview and meet faculty members.

“They treated me incredibly well, and after that interview I was completely sure that if I was accepted I was going to come here,” says Santana. “I had interviewed at other universities, but this one was a really incredible experience.”

Santana appreciates the interdisciplinary approach of the UI program, which exposes students to the true breadth of the genetics field. “In the Genetics program, all of the faculty are part of different departments, so you can rotate through labs when you are starting out, and you get to experience many different fields that have genetics as the base.”

After his second year as a Ph.D. student at Iowa, professor Eberl suggested Santana return to the University of Puerto Rico Humacao to let other students know about opportunities at Iowa (the Genetics program sponsored the visit).

“I graduated from there two years before, so I still knew a lot of the students there. I gave a talk about what I was doing here at Iowa and about the program and the university,” Santana says.

Visit the Interdisiciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics online.

Working to make the highest reaches of science more inclusive, Daniel Eberl and Michael Anderson, faculty members in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics, want to attract the brightest underrepresented students to study at the University of Iowa. But even more importantly, they want those students to have a positive experience that translates to success after college.

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Shane McCrae

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Hear Shane McCrae reading at "Live From Prairie Lights"

Read more about the Whiting Foundation's 2011 Award Winners

Learn more about what inspired McCrae to become a poet by listening to Sylia Plath's reading of her poem Lady Lazarus.

By David V. Henderson

An “ABC Afterschool Special” inspired Shane McCrae to begin writing poetry.

McCrae, a University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate and Dean’s Graduate Research Fellow in English, believes writers find inspiration in mysterious ways. As he watched the TV program years ago, McCrae was fascinated by a character who recited Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus.”

Writing about personal experiences

With poems that touch on complicated emotional experiences, including matters such as love, divorce, race, racism, autism, and disability, McCrae’s work lays bare personal biography, but he says doesn’t think about it much.

Noting that many poets draw material freely from their own life experiences, McCrae believes that remaining open to the richness of autobiographical material can be a potent catalyst for writers.

“You have to be careful what parts you close off,” says McCrae. “You need to have space to range around, and if you won’t touch certain subjects because they’re too personal for you, I think that’s really limiting.”

Balancing his word craft with personal topics, McCrae’s poems take the reader through formal writing devices into human experience. He hopes readers find it easy to make a connection with his work.

“I try to write poetry that I don’t think you necessarily need to read a lot of poetry to get,” says McCrae. “Even if it looks bewildering on the page or if it sounds weird when you start up with it, if you just read it out loud, you can hear that it’s actually in a lot of ways relatively straightforward.”

McCrae originally wrote the divorce-themed “Are Roses Are” as a counterpart to an earlier poem. “I felt like I needed a poem of equal weight to the marriage poem to sort of balance the book out,” says McCrae.

But by the time he got to the final draft of “Mule,” he disposed of the long marriage poem as not quite up to snuff. “Weirdly, the poem I wrote to balance the book wound up eliminating the thing that made me think I needed it in the first place,” McCrae says.

It’s relatively simple to write about his own life, he says, because the material is readily available. But to be able to write in the first place, McCrae tries to stay in a state or condition of receptivity. Sometimes this leads to less linear, more associative, collage-like results.

“When I’m writing a poem like ‘Are Roses Are,’ it requires me to be a little bit more detached from an idea of any particular story,” he says. “It’s more like I want to write about a subject or a time, rather than a particular thing that happened on a particular day. That allows me to be more open to disparate things related to that subject or that time, so it makes the poem come out of that process more collage-like. I have more freedom to range.”


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