Dr. Alexis Campbell began her role as Science Bound’s first full-time director on October 2, 2017. Born and raised in Des Moines, she is a graduate of Iowa State University, where she received a B.S. degree in biology and Ph.D. in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology.
As a post doctoral student, Dr. Campbell was named a National Science Foundation Graduate STEM Fellow in K-12 Education and served in a year-long collaboration at Meredith Middle School. Her most recent role was serving as an Associate Scientist and Graduate Faculty member within the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology. She also served as the Director for Teaching-as-Research projects for ISU.
Dr. Campbell took time from her busy schedule recently to answer a few questions about her transition into the new role and to share what she envisions for the future of the program.
What attracted you to a career in STEM, and what are some of the greatest takeaways you’ve had thus far?
When I came to ISU I thought I’d be a medical doctor; since the time that I was young, I wanted to be a doctor. I even participated in medical missions trips in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. But when I came back my sophomore year, I started an NSF REU (research experience for undergraduates). I was paired with a faculty member in the biochemistry department, and I enjoyed doing the research. I then started my Ph.D. in his lab and kept going. I learned that within research you can give back to the community, just as I wanted to do as a medical doctor.
What has surprised you the most about working with Science Bound?
All of the different pieces that make up Science Bound. It takes passionate people to be able to make it happen. It’s beautiful and different than what I’ve experienced before. Science Bound is what makes Iowa State special.
What do you envision in terms of Science Bound’s future?
I think right now my primary focus is really understanding the whole program. Science Bound is very well-established. I’m the first full-time director, so probably the biggest change is that I’m able to be available all the time. Also, for the undergraduate program this semester we’ve really incorporated more STEM concepts, as well as within our high school leadership program.
What is one quote you live by?
I like being able to look at things that give you a sense of empowerment. The first [mantra jewelry band saying] I’ve got says, “she believed she could so she did.” Now I have, “let your light shine.”
What advice would you give to students as they take their “next steps” in STEM?
Be open to opportunities and communicate. Make sure that you go into any situation studied. Before you email or reach out to somebody, make sure that you know them and you’ve done your due diligence. In having those conversations, know who you are and believe in yourself as a scientist or engineer. Keep swimming.
Any final thoughts?
I think it’s important to know who you are and make sure that you’re doing what you need to do to make, or create, new and better situations for yourself. I’m excited to see what the next few years bring.
Senior Animal Science major Melissa Garcia Rodriguez has been awarded the 2017 American FFA Degree. The National FFA Organization says that the American FFA Degree “is awarded to FFA members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA and is awarded to less than 1% of FFA members. Garcia Rodriguez is also the first Latina in Iowa to receive this award.
She will be traveling to Indianpolis in October to receive her honors during the Eighth General Session of the 90th National FA Convention and Expo.
Video Profile: ISU Senior Jacqueline Williams: Engineering her Future
On Thursday, April 27, Science Bound celebrated the graduation of 33 high school and 14 Iowa State students from Des Moines Public Schools as part of its annual Honors Banquet.
DuPont Pioneer hosted the event again this year at their Carver Conference Center in Johnston, Iowa. The program highlighted the accomplishments of the 2017 high school and college graduates, as well as the research work done by a number of high school juniors.
More than 220 students and family members gathered for an inspiring keynote address by Dr. Nadilia Gomez Raboteaux, a research scientist at DuPont Pioneer. After the meal, students and families gathered for a welcome address given by Dr. Thomas Ahart, Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. Recent Iowa State graduate Yadira Cano Camacho provided the student keynote address.
Also honored at the banquet were the Science Bound Students of the Year, Nawadir (Nosa) Ali, Danielle (Abby) Espinosa Gonzalez Bellolio, and Joseph Murdock. The three were recognized for their high GPAs and participation in extracurricular STEM-development activities.
Denison and Marshalltown
Ten Denison and Marshalltown seniors and seven Iowa State students were honored at the Marshalltown Crossover and Honors Banquet on May 11 and Denison Honors Banquet on May 17.
Alma Marquez, Iowa State Class of 2016, was the keynote speaker for the Marshalltown Crossover and Honors Banquet. More than 170 gathered for the evening to celebrate the accomplishments of the students. Stephanie Armstead, a laboratory manager with Smithfield Foods in Denison, addressed a crowd of more than 150 during her keynote for the Denison event. Marilin Rodriguez received the Student of the Year Award for Denison.
The Seal is bestowed on successful STEM programs and events that occur organically around Iowa and align with and support the STEM Council’s goals. According to the STEM Council, Science Bound “exhibits the key components and critical aspects of exemplary STEM education and strongly contributes to the STEM Council’s mission to inspire and prepare the next generation of innovators for Iowa.”
More information can be found on the official website for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s website.
In this edition of the Science Bound Senior Spotlight, Iowa State University chemical engineering graduate Yadira Cano Camacho shares her Science Bound story. The photo above features Cano Camacho (center) with her father and mother.