Mica Magtoto, a junior in nutritional science, was selected to participate in the new Principal Community Scholars program. As part of her involvement in the program, she will complete a community service project that involves helping improve the Eastwood community garden in Ames.
Mica Magtoto, a junior in nutritional science, was selected to participate in the new Principal Community Scholars program. As part of her involvement in the program, she will complete a community service project that involves helping improve the Eastwood community garden in Ames.

Nutritional science student selected for new scholarship program

A junior at Iowa State University (ISU) was among the 20 college students from Iowa and California to be selected for the first class of the new Principal Community Scholars Program.

Mica Magtoto, a junior in nutritional science, received an email about the scholarship, which encourages students to complete projects that benefit the community. Wanting to do work with community gardens, she was put in touch with ISU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition University Professor Suzanne Hendrich, who has worked with community gardens. From there, Magtoto decided to focus her required project for the program on Ames’ Eastwood community garden as a way to give back to the community in which she grew up.

“It’s a way to combine my interests in nutrition and community engagement,” Magtoto said of her project.

“She’s someone who takes a lot of initiative to seek out leadership opportunities,” Hendrich said of Magtoto. “She’s very interested in community leadership. She’s definitely someone who’s thinking about it.”

This semester is a pilot of the Principal Community Scholars Program. Selected students will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Principal upon completion of a service project.

“We were impressed by the caliber of the community projects students will be taking on as a part of this scholarship,” said Iowa Campus Compact Executive Director Emily Shields. “It is clear they have a deep commitment to their communities and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”

Magtoto was notified in December that she had been selected for the program.

“I was really excited,” Magtoto said. “It’s a totally new project for me and it’s something I would do on my own, anyway.”

This semester’s scholars proposed projects designed to engage their peers and their institutions in meeting community needs. These projects tap into a variety of skills that can be offered by college students and will impact causes ranging from education to environmental sustainability.

Magtoto’s community garden project will focus on tackling poverty issues in Story County. According to ISU Extension, 17 percent of children under the age of 18 in the county do not have access to the nutritional food they need.

“My family was once food insecure, so my younger brother and I were part of that 17 percent,” Magtoto wrote in her project proposal. “As this issue hits close to home, my project seeks to help other low-income and food insecure children get free access to fresh, local produce.”

Magtoto will work with the manager of Eastwood’s community garden to make sure the garden is taken care of despite the frequent turnover of residents. Her goal is to get ISU horticulture faculty members involved in the project by having them provide materials and educational information.

The month of February will be spent applying for and hopefully receiving grants to help fund the project. Then in March, Magtoto plans to begin helping the residents start planting the garden.

Though her commitment to the project will end when the spring semester concludes in May, Magtoto’s goal by then is to have the residents and the garden at a point where the garden will continue and thrive.

“I’m really excited to see how this works out and to see what kind of impact it will make on the community,” Magtoto said.

The students participating in the scholars program will have the opportunity work with each other, Campus Compact staff, and their on-campus adviser throughout the semester as they complete their projects.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to bring our future leaders together,” Hendrich said.

CONTACTS:

Mica Magtoto, junior in nutritional science, mmagtoto@iastate.edu

Suzanne Hendrich, university professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, 515-294-4272, shendric@iastate.edu

Whitney Sager, communications coordinator, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, 515-294-9166, wjsager@iastate.edu

  • “I’m really excited to see how this works out and to see what kind of impact it will make on the community.”
    -Mica Magtoto

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