Human Sciences students are making strides in their career preparation that would make etiquette expert Emily Post proud.
More than 50 students participated Thursday in an etiquette dinner, a collaboration between the college’s career services office and the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Student guests represented every College of Human Sciences department and school.
“Multiple alumni have come back saying they had interviews over dinner,” said Caitlyn Greenspan, a senior in athletic training. “I had no experience with professional dinners, so I wanted to gain some valuable skills in that regard.”
Students were treated to a free 30-minute lesson and formal meal in the Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom during its spring dinner hours. The event allowed them to attend a “dress-up” affair in a supportive environment and practice their newly gained knowledge among their peers.
Tammy Stegman, the director of the College of Human Sciences’ career services office, said that the dinner is just one way that the college develops global citizens and a strong workforce by helping students present themselves in a professional manner.
“We work with students at all levels — it’s our job and our mission,” Stegman said. “It’s all under the realm of developing yourself professionally. That doesn’t just mean résumés or interview preparation, or negotiating a job offer. It means also presenting yourself professionally and not embarrassing yourself.”
Ardyce “Ardie” Roehr, a 1957 graduate in home economics education who led the lesson, stressed the importance of a professional presentation. She’s a former executive director of the Iowa Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
“Ardie understands the stage where college students are,” said Erica Beirman, a senior lecturer in food science and human nutrition who coordinates the culinary food science program. “She understands their natural lack of experience with formal business settings — so she relates everything back to an interview or a professional networking gathering.”
Roehr said that a person’s poise at a meal is indicative of other character qualities.
“Body language can often speak louder than actual words,” Roehr said. “How you conduct yourself while eating can also share how you might work as a team player or how you might serve others.”
Sophomore nutritional science major Toluwani Awokoya said that one’s qualifications for a job only go so far, and that first impressions count.
“It is really important for students to take advantage of programs such as this to prepare themselves for future careers,” he said. “Even though you might have really good qualifications, etiquette can play a big role in job selection. You don’t want it to take away from your scholarly achievements. First impressions go a long way.”
Matt Ocheltree, a senior in hospitality management, has seen the importance of strong etiquette skills firsthand during his work experiences at the Iowa State president’s residence.
“I work at The Knoll, so I have knowledge about serving in a fine dining environment and using proper etiquette,” he said. “It’s all about professionalism. I’m soon to be an ISU alumnus and I want to present myself as a business professional when the opportunity arises.”
Attending a low-pressure, yet formal event with friends can open the door into the career services office for some students. Amanda Schickel, the College of Human Sciences recruiting and career coordinator, said that some students are more comfortable with people they know.
“At the dinner, students could come with their friends,” she said. “During appointments with us, they come meet with us one-on-one — which is great for them, but it can be a little more intimidating. Participating in an event like this with a group of people makes some students more comfortable.”
Natasha Gomez, a junior in kinesiology and health, said she is thankful for all of the opportunities the career services office provides.
“Career services programs are a great way to get involved with your college,” she said. “They also teach such valuable skills that you might not get to learn in any college classes.”
Tammy Stegman, career services director, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-3708, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erica Beirman, senior lecturer, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, 515-294-4361, email@example.com
Amanda Schickel, career services recruiting and career coordinator, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-0626, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ardyce “Ardie” Roehr, graduate in home economics education, Iowa State University, email@example.com
Caitlyn Greenspan, senior in athletic training, Iowa State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Toluwani Awokoya, sophomore in nutritional science, Iowa State University, email@example.com
Matt Ocheltree, senior in hospitality management, Iowa State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Natasha Gomez, junior in kinesiology and health, Iowa State University, email@example.com
Kent Davis, communications specialist, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-1326, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sixteen College of Human Sciences students, including one from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, were among 59 from Iowa State University who spent their spring break doing service projects aimed at helping those in need.
Through the university’s Alternative Breaks program, students engaged in service learning in six states by working with children and animals, preparing meals, helping to renovate homes, and rebuilding trails and habitats.
This year’s trips took teams of students to Colorado, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Georgia, and Louisiana.
All six graduate site leaders of the trips — Alexa Bueltel, Ricky Calderon, Amanda Oller, Morgan Sanders, Lindsey Sheets, and Alex Young — are graduate assistants in the School of Education.
“I have always had a passion for service learning and want to be able to share my passion with other ISU students and see the impact this experience has on them,” Bueltel said.
Working on the farm in Colorado
Five human sciences students — Bueltel and Dawn Thompson in education, Hannah Zulk and Zach Kaufman in kinesiology and health, and Megan Slattery in nutritional science — were among those who traveled to Wellington, Colorado.
There, they worked with Harvest Farm, a 209-acre farm and nationally recognized rehabilitation program that provides jobs and housing for those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. The farm accommodates up to 72 men who participate in a long-term program with the goal of breaking the cycles of addiction and homelessness.
“This facility takes in men who are struggling with addiction and they go through a step-by-step program to lead them back on the right track,” Bueltel said.
The Iowa State team worked on the farm, prepared meals, and worked on restoration projects and upkeep. They also interacted with the men living there, listened to their stories, and heard about their future goals.
“I’m coming back more educated on addiction and the impact it has on individual lives,” said Zulk, a sophomore in kinesiology. “I hope to incorporate these experiences into my future work as a doctor and know that the world is so much bigger than me and my problems.”
Rebuilding homes and trails, working with youth and animals
Young and Anna Ferris, a junior in elementary education, worked with animals at the Kansas Humane Society in Wichita, Kansas. They walked dogs, socialized with cats, cleaned kennels, helped to repair facilities, and assisted with group classes.
“I helped the team to make decisions, work together, and build leadership skills,” said Young, the graduate site leader. “The trip also provided reflection opportunities on the importance of service.”
Sanders led a team to Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn, Georgia, where students rebuilt trails and did park maintenance.
“I love the outdoors and wanted to do something to give back to state parks,” Sanders said. “The work we did on this trip was trail rehabilitation, which aids hikers like me continue to do what we love.”
Four human sciences students — Calderon, along with Kylee Joiner in kinesiology and health, Mary Tong in hospitality management, and Amber Ford in elementary education — were among those who traveled to Eagle Butte, South Dakota.
There, they worked with the Cheyenne River Youth Project, an organization that provides care, support, and education to youth on a Native American reservation. The Iowa State students helped with after-school care and center upkeep, and presented information on the college admissions process.
Adriane Frauenholtz and Trisha Langenfeld, both undergraduates in child, adult, and family services, were in the group working with Rebuilding Together in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The organization helps to rebuild and renovate homes of those in need. Students stayed in a church in Wilkinsburg and spent the week boarding up a house, plastering another, and drylocking a basement.
“I’ve learned so much from the Alternative Breaks I have been on,” said Frauenholtz, a junior who previously went on the Colorado trip and served as a site leader this year for the Pennsylvania trip. “I believe I will be able to take my experiences to help benefit others in the future.”
Preparing for careers working with people
The Alternative Breaks program at Iowa State began in 2008. For the past decade, teams of students have spent their spring and winter breaks traveling to other states to perform short-term projects for community agencies, and to learn about various social issues.
Human sciences students on this year’s Alternative Breaks — whose career goals include becoming teachers, physical therapists, coaches, doctors, substance abuse counselors, and hospice workers — all said the experience will help prepare them for their future careers working with people.
“I think anytime I have the chance to work with other people, compromise, be challenged, and live outside of my comfort zone, it grows my character and will help me instill the importance of service to my future students,” said Thompson, a senior who hopes to become an elementary school teacher.
“I believe it’s critical for doctors to not only be knowledgeable about the human body and the various systems of the body, but to also have the skills and communication to create an atmosphere that their patients feel comfortable in; basically, good bedside manners,” said Slattery, a sophomore in nutritional science who plans to attend medical school to become a family physician.
The practical, global, and leadership experiences provided by Alternative Breaks and other service learning projects contribute to the social good and improve the quality of life of others. They also help Iowa State students become more well-rounded citizens who are exceptionally prepared to lead in a global society and make a difference around the world.
“After graduation, I plan on going into the Peace Corps,” said Langenfeld, a sophomore in child, adult, and family services who was on the Pennsylvania trip. “It has been my dream for a few years now and I know that serving in Alternative Breaks will help prepare me for serving in another country. Alternative Breaks is just a smaller scale of exactly what I want to do with my life.”
Amanda Oller, service programs graduate assistant, Student Activities Center, Iowa State University, email@example.com
Alexa Bueltel, graduate student in higher education-student affairs, School of Education, Iowa State University, 515-294-3265, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Young, graduate student in the School of Education, Iowa State University, 515-294-4821, email@example.com
Ricky Calederon, graduate student in the School of Education, 515-294-3265, firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan Slattery, sophomore in nutritional science, Iowa State University, email@example.com
Hannah Zulk, sophomore in kinesiology and health, Iowa State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dawn Thompson, senior in elementary education, Iowa State University, email@example.com
Zachariah Kaufman, sophomore in the pre-physical therapy option of kinesiology and health, Iowa State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Trisha Langenfeld, sophomore in child, adult, and family services; Iowa State University, email@example.com
Morgan Sanders, graduate student in higher education student affairs, School of Education, Iowa State University, 515-294-6624, firstname.lastname@example.org
Adriane Frauenholtz, junior in child, adult, and family services; Iowa State University, email@example.com
Lynn Campbell, communications specialist, College of Human Sciences, Iowa State University, 515-294-3689, firstname.lastname@example.org