News Briefs

  • Iowa academy inspires next wave of space researchers

    February 07, 2023

  • Professor of Bassoon Benjamin Coelho discusses growing up in Brazil’s “City of Music”

    February 07, 2023

  • University of Iowa hosts conference to empower women in physics, STEM

    February 06, 2023

    By Emily Delgado 

    Women in physics have been grossly underrepresented for decades, but a recent conference hosted by the UI Department of Physics and Astronomy, a program housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is working to help change that.  

    The American Physical Society selected Iowa to host a regional Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, or CUWiP. The January event brought dozens of undergraduates from the UI and other Midwest colleges and universities to Iowa City to learn about the industry, how to get involved in research, and best practices for applying to graduate school.  

    “We wanted to give students exposure, first and foremost, to a professional conference experience,” Sarah Henderson, a conference organizer and PhD student studying physics at Iowa, explains “Also allowing undergraduate women to participate in panels and workshops while developing a better understanding of what it means to be in physics.”  

    An image of a research poster presentation at CUWiP.

    The conference also explored tougher topics, like the reality of being a minority in the field—offering advice from experienced female professionals about how to respond to a challenge many female students are currently facing in the classroom.  

    “I walked into a class of 13 PhD Students, I was the only woman,” Henderson says, of her own experience. “It's intimidating, but I think we have a unique perspective to offer.”  

    This lack of representation is slowly changing in the field—thanks in part to events like this conference, offering support for future female physicists.   

    “As a discipline, we are missing talented scientists by either not recruiting them in the first place or failing to retain them in the field,” Casey DeRoo, an assistant professor in the UI physics department and conference co-chair says. “This conference is one step among the many we ought to take to ensure that we intentionally cultivate that talent.”  

    The three-day event included panels, discussions, and an opportunity for undergraduate students to present their research. Mary Haag, a second-year student studying physics at Iowa, showcased her work during the conference. She says in addition to the career development opportunities, she is grateful to hear from professional women who are currently making an impact in the field. 

    “I really liked learning from their experiences and hearing what they went through because they have trail blazed in the industry and have given us motivation as the next generation of scientists,” Haag says. 

    Undergraduate student Mary Haag presents her research during CUWiP.
    Mary Haag, an undergraduate student studying physics and astronomy at Iowa, shares her research during CUWiP. 

    The University of Iowa served as an exciting location for the conference, as it has a storied history in space physics, featuring a long line of UI astrophysicists who have led NASA missions. Including James Van Allen, who famously discovered the radiation belts that surround Earth and Don Gurnett who designed and built instruments for 35 space missions.  

    That momentum continues today with exemplary faculty members and role models like Allison Jaynes, who serves as a co-investigator on two NASA missions and is a member of the prestigious Solar and Space Physics Decadal Survey Steering Committee, as well as Mary Hall Reno, an internationally recognized particle physicist, Fellow of the American Physical Society, and current department executive officer. 

    In addition to housing talented faculty mentors and teachers, UI physics offers numerous research opportunities to its undergraduate students, says Rachael Filwett, a conference co-chair and Assistant Professor at Montana State University.  

    “There’s a lot of faculty who host undergrads over the summer, who are often paid to do the research—or they might do it for senior projects, they work over the school year,” Filwett, a former UI postdoctoral researcher, explains. “Undergrads regularly participate in research in the UI physics department.”  

    The overarching goal of CUWiP is to help undergraduate women continue in physics—and many participants felt that support during the event at Iowa.  

    “Physics is very homogenous right now,” Filwett says. “We want to bring all of these women from different races and ethnicities into the field and have them feel welcomed because they are all so talented.”  

  • A comprehensive guide to literary magazines at the University of Iowa

    February 06, 2023

    By Charlotte Brookins 

    Iowa has a long-standing reputation as one of the best universities for writing in the country, most recently passing Princeton and Harvard in the top-ten ranking for writing. As the Writing University, the UI offers eight literary magazines, supported by the Magid Center for Writing, which provide students with experiential learning opportunities and direct writing and publishing experience.  

    Cover images of New Moon magazine

    Eight literary magazines at the University of Iowa

    Ink Lit Magazine 

    Ink Lit Magazine is an undergraduate literary magazine made for first-years, by first-years and provides students with experience on both sides of the publishing industry. First-year student can submit material for publication, but anyone older must be an alumnus of the magazine. The magazine accepts nonfiction, fiction, poetry, drama, photography, and art.   

    It is the only magazine that limits submissions to first-year students. “Ink is particularly important because it highlights first-year work,” says fiction editor Calvin Covington. “The entire magazine is almost entirely the result of first-year work, and that includes the staff. When first-year work might get drowned out elsewhere due to lack of experience, Ink provides freshmen with an approachable opportunity to be published or involved when other magazines might seem too daunting.” A cover image of Ink Lit Magazine


    Snapshots is an undergraduate literary magazine produced for children. Anyone can submit to this magazine. Accepted genres include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, picture books, learn-to-read, art, photography, advice and memoirs, and graphic novels. It is especially unique because of its connection to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The magazine works closely with the hospital to distribute publications to pediatric patients and other local youth. The magazine also staffs an artist who adds illustrations to accepted pieces.  


    After more than 40 years of publishing, earthwords is the oldest literary magazine on campus. An annual undergraduate literary review, the publication accepts fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and drama submissions. The magazine is dedicated to presenting student work and making it accessible while also emphasizing underrepresented voices and artists. In addition to its yearly publication, earthwords also collaborates with the English Department’s English Society in hosting events, like open mics, throughout the year.  

    Wilder Things 

    Wilder Things, an undergraduate literary magazine specialized in speculative fiction, a genre that pushes and blurs the boundaries between areas like science fiction, fantasy, horror, etcetera. It accepts and encourages uncommon and unconventional writing, providing a home for unique works while also sharing them with a wider audience and exposing people to new and exciting writing.  


    Fools is a workshop-based undergraduate literary magazine founded in the summer of 2016 and has been flourishing since. Accepting submissions in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art, Fools focuses on collaborating on and workshopping the pieces that are submitted. Unlike many magazines that require anonymous submissions, Fools does not have a blind submission process—this is done to establish active collaboration and contact with authors and artists who submit. The contributors to the magazine have an active role in the production of each edition, as opposed to only going so far as to submit their piece. Despite its name, Fools has no shortage of cleverness when it comes to creation. 

    New Moon 

    If you’re searching for a magazine with more frequent publication and submission opportunities, New Moon is a monthly undergraduate literary magazine. Published in the form of a one-page magazine, it embodies its name as it cycles through literature like the monthly phases of the moon. Given its size and publication frequency, the magazine prefers shorter pieces, like flash fiction, flash nonfiction, and poetry. Each edition is given its own theme, color, and texture to match the pieces submitted. With monthly releases, New Moon is the most frequently published magazine on campus, making it perfect for those who are always itching for the next read or the next submission opportunity.  An image of the cover of Wilder Things

    Boundless/The Translate Iowa Project 

    Boundless, produced by the The Translate Iowa Project, translates submissions into different languages before being published. It accepts fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry, and art. Boundless allows writers and readers to experience the written word in multiple different forms and dialects, giving them countless ways to interpret one singular work. 

    Co-President Kyler Johnson knows very well the impact that his magazine has. Johnson says, on the ability of words, “When we slow down, when we digest the ways words change throughout time and space, across country borders and cultural contexts, we understand that this deep, human way we are all connected—language—is a powerful force that changes and can also be used for change. The way we bend words in English or pull them across linguistic boundaries is a bit of magic. Through words, we give life to new ideas, new possible realities.” 

    Horizon Magazine 

    Horizon Magazine is a self-proclaimed “literary magazine for hope.” Anyone can submit to this magazine in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, but works must focus on hope and happiness. When times seem particularly stressful and daunting, the sight of the sun coming over the horizon can be incredibly encouraging—and that is just what Horizon emulates. Additionally, the publication is determined to give first-time experience to those without it, meaning that when they select staff members, it gives preference to those without prior experience in the publishing industry. This way, Horizon is spreading both ebullience and experience. 

    Each magazine can be found online with physical copies at the Magid Center for Writing. To learn more about each publication and how to get involved, visit each magazine's website or the publications section of the Magid website.  

  • Screenplays with an Iowa touch

    February 06, 2023

  • CLAS doctoral students invited to apply for graduate assistantships

    February 02, 2023

    A graphic promoting CLAS graduate assistantships

    Graduate students pursuing a doctorate in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences can apply for one of five graduate assistantships in the areas of writing, editing, community engagement, and performing arts marketing and communication. 

    The positions are part of a five-year pilot project that provides CLAS doctoral students with unique opportunities to gain diverse experience in outreach, engagement, and writing that will benefit career preparation.  

    Kelley Withers
    Kelley Withers

    "Knowing how to translate your fundamental research into something you can share with the community that isn’t complex or hard to digest is important—previously, I wasn’t really thinking about that, but now I feel more confident to use that skill in my own work.” 

    Kelley Withers
    PhD student, Biology 
    Community engagement assistantship, Iowa Sciences Academy  

    "I worked closely with the Magid Center staff to make sure (outreach, promotional, and newsletter) work is clean and polished. This experience has increased my skills and allowed me to get more in tune with general audience writing.” 

    Adare Smith
    Alyssa D. “Adare” Smith

    Alyssa D. “Adare” Smith
    PhD student, English 
    Writing research assistantship, Magid Center for Writing 

    "It was nice to have an editing assistantship after a teaching assistantship—this is an important skill set. In academia, you’re teaching, but also working in research and publishing.” 

    Cody Norling
    Cody Norling 

    Cody Norling 
    PhD student, Musicology 
    Editing research assistantship, Dance Research Journal 

    For summer 2023, CLAS will award the following assistantships: 

    For academic year 2023-24, CLAS will award the following assistantships: 

    All positions are 50 percent effort, or 20 hours per week. Current students in years one through four of a PhD in addition to a DMA, or AuD degree program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are eligible to apply. 

    Online applications must be submitted by Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023

    For questions, please email

  • Department of Theatre Arts opens spring season with Braided Sorrow

    February 02, 2023

    The Department of Theatre Arts is pleased to announce its production of Braided Sorrow by Marisela Treviño Orta (MFA ’18), presented February 3-5 and February 8-11 in the David Thayer Theatre at the UI Theatre Building.

    Braided Sorrow is set in the Mexican city of Juárez (the border town of El Paso, TX), where sixteen-year-old Alma works 12-hour shifts in an American-owned factory to help financially provide for her family. Alma quickly learns the dangers of the city–the hundreds of femicides and disappearances–lurking outside of the factory’s walls.

    Alma is set on a treacherous journey, calling on her bravery to end the unnatural nightmares of Juárez. Treviño Orta infuses magical realism into this work through the non-linear timeline and in the misconception of the Mexican folklore legend and Aztec goddess, La Llorona.

    La Llorona is an ancient deity, an omen, and a grieving mother; she is La Virgen. She is seeking justice for her lost daughters,” explains director and UI Theatre MFA student Natalie Villamonte Zito.

    This mysterious woman with a tragic past tries to protect Alma from danger and asks her to take on a mission in the hopes that it will protect the women of Juárez and give voice to those who have already been lost.

    Treviño Orta’s poetic Braided Sorrow shines light on the horrors that have been happening in Juárez for decades, of which many U.S. citizens are unaware. This rendition is especially impactful as the cast is largely made up of Latinx Theatre students. “We are proud of our Latine’ cast for sharing their authentic perspectives, and for embracing the vulnerability it takes to portray this story. The importance of their voices around this topic is indescribable,” says Theatre Arts Chair and Head of Directing Mary Beth Easley. “I am especially honored to feature the work and collaboration of Latina artists Marisela Treviño Orta, Villamonte Zito, and Alex Casillas (MFA ‘17) as their work on the issue of femicides is notably poignant.”

    Student tickets are only $5. Performance times are February 3 at 8 p.m. (Opening), February 4 at 8 p.m., February 5 at 2 p.m., and February 8-11 at 8 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit or call Hancher Box Office at 319-335-1160.

    View on Arts Iowa calendar 

  • Kochanska named AAAS Fellows for 2022

    February 01, 2023

  • CLAS Professor receives fellowship to support research in dance studies

    January 30, 2023

    By Charlotte Brookins

    Rebekah Kowal, professor and chair of the University of Iowa Department of Dance, is advancing research in the area of dance studies as the recipient of the May Brodbeck Humanities Fellowship from the UI Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.  

    Rebekah Kowal
    Rebekah Kowal

    This is a competitive award designed to encourage and support the study of language, linguistics, literature, philosophy, history, jurisprudence, criticism, and theory of the arts as well as humanistic aspects of the natural and social sciences at the University of Iowa.  

    “This is the largest financial award I’ve ever received for my research,” says Kowal. “Receiving the award will give me more time to spend on research amidst my other duties and motivate me to get the work out into the world via publication.” 

    Kowal, who has worked at the university for more than two decades, teaches dance history and theory, but also has a strong interest in the relationship between dance and social, cultural, and political change. A widely published researcher, Kowal previously received an award for her work The World Dances Through Manhattan: Dance Imports in a Globalizing World, 1945-1960. 

    Her proposal, Dancers at War: Dancing the State and Citizenship, won her the award and will explore the relationship between dance and citizenship, especially during and after World War II. 

    “It is a great honor to be recognized by the University of Iowa for my research in dance studies,” Kowal adds. “It is a goal of mine to write for an interdisciplinary readership and I’m excited that this research is resonating with a broad audience.” 

    The $15,000 that accompanies the award will allow her to buy out of teaching one class this coming semester, allowing her time to further support her research. 

    Kowal says she is appreciative of this fellowship and opportunity to advance her project.  

    “I am deeply grateful to CLAS, the Office of the Provost, and the University of Iowa for the support for my research and this vote of confidence in its impact.”

    Past recipients of the award can be viewed online.  

  • OVPR selects faculty for fall 2022 AHI Awards

    January 30, 2023


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 73 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.