News Briefs

  • UI Mathematics marks 25 years of expanding access to doctoral education

    September 05, 2023

    By Charlotte Brookins 

    A program created to recruit underrepresented minority (URM) students into Iowa’s graduate program in mathematics has spread to 40 different institutions across the country.  

    The Math Alliance began at the University of Iowa with a GAANN grant from the Iowa Department of Education in 1995, when the department had no URM doctoral students. Since then, at least 50 URM students and counting have earned their PhDs at Iowa.  

    To put this in perspective, for each year between 2002, when the department began to award a significant number of doctorates to underrepresented students, and 2017, when the Math Alliance began to increase these numbers nationally, the UI Department of Mathematics was responsible for between 5-10 percent of all mathematics doctorates awarded to minority students nationally. The initiative also resulted in many awards for the University of Iowa. 

    Mathematics professor emeritus Philip Kutzko says the initiative began with only eight students.  

    “I was involved first as a mentor, and then I was asked to see if we could expand this,” he says.  

    Kutzko says he wrote a grant with four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) along with Iowa’s three public universities—from there the program expanded in the state.  

    “By then it was not only our math sciences departments here [at the UI] using the program, but also statistics and math over at Iowa State, and mathematics at the University of Northern Iowa. Together, we earned a grant to bring students [from HBCUs] to Iowa universities,” Kutzko explains.  

    The four HBCU’s involved in the creation of the initiative were Alabama A&M University, Benedict College of South Carolina, Florida A&M University, and Jackson State University. 

    As the initiative developed in Iowa, universities and colleges across the nation became interested, and the program grew into what is now known as the Math Alliance, which has since moved its headquarters to Purdue University and grown into a community of more than 1,660 faculty nationally. It continues to exist at Iowa as a mainstreamed part of the doctoral mathematics program. 

    “Through this initiative and its expansion to the Alliance, more people can appreciate the value of identifying and developing mathematical talents across people of all backgrounds in the U.S.  It has made a powerful positive impact on our departments, universities, and society at large,” UI Department of Mathematics DEO Ryan Kinser says.  

    Portrait of Rolando de Santiago
    Rolando de Santiago

    The fifty URM students who earned doctoral degrees at Iowa have gone on to become deans, department chairs, and to play other influential roles, including Professor Rolando de Santiago, who is currently a tenure-track assistant professor of mathematics at Purdue University. 

    "Almost immediately, I connected with other people who were from LA and were a part of the Alliance, and I slowly started to feel like I could not just survive graduate school, but thrive. An important part of that was Phil Kutzko, who I cannot thank enough for the advice that I received during grad school and beyond,” says de Santiago, who also went on to thank his former doctoral research advisor, Professor Ionut Chifan

    Santiago is just one of many students who benefited from the program at Iowa, including 2019 White House Presidential Innovation Fellow Nelson Colón Vargas and Cornell College assistant professor Melanie King, with others still to come through the program both in Iowa and across the nation. 

    “The faculty who were closely involved with the Alliance put in so much time and effort to identify students who should apply to Iowa, and then maintain a watchful eye on us students once we got to the university,” de Santiago adds. “It is possible to have an impact on your department if there is a critical mass of people who have the will to support their minority students.”

  • CLAS faculty member named an Institute of Mathematical Statistics Fellow

    September 05, 2023

    By: Emily Delgado 

    Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science professor Dale Zimmerman was named a 2023 Institute of Mathematical Statistics fellow.  

    Portrait of Dale Zimmerman
    Dale Zimmerman ​​​​

    The Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) is an international professional and scholarly society devoted to the development, dissemination, and application of statistics and probability—it currently has about 4,000 members across the globe. The IMS fellowship honors and recognizes outstanding contributions to the industry by its members.  

    This fellowship is a major recognition for members. All fellows have demonstrated distinction in research in statistics of probability by publication or independent work or merit. Between 10 to 25 fellows are elected each year through a competitive process.  

    Zimmerman was selected for his development of fundamental theory and methodology associated with complex spatial, spatiotemporal, and longitudinal data and applications to optimal spatial sampling, health data geoprivacy, and environmental statistics — and for outstanding editorial service to the profession.  

    “I was greatly honored to be named an IMS Fellow,” Zimmerman says. “My attainment of this honor improves the reputation and standing of the department nationally and internationally. I am the third member of our current faculty to hold the title of IMS Fellow.” 

    Zimmerman says the college and department have fostered his research over the years by reducing course loads early in his career and allowing him to teach the same courses, which helped reduce prep time for teaching. He’s also been able to take advantage of the college’s professional development awards to be released from teaching for focused research time.  

    Zimmerman has been a member of the IMS since 1986.  

  • CLAS mathematics faculty member creates Iowa City Math Club

    September 05, 2023

    By Charlotte Brookins 

    In the fall of 2020, Department of Mathematics associate professor Mohammad Farajzadeh Tehrani created the Iowa City Math Club, a regularly meeting organization with the goal of helping Iowa City-area middle and high school students improve their math skills and take a greater part in their community.  

    Portrait of Mohammad Farajzadeh Tehrani
    Mohammad Farajzadeh Tehrani

    Three years later, Tehrani was nominated the 2023 CLAS Outreach and Engagement Award for his work on the project.  

    “We intended to start the club in the Iowa City Public Library, where students could learn some math, talk to each other, and even eventually participate in math competitions,” says Tehrani. “But then COVID disrupted everything, and I decided to start it over Zoom instead.” 

    During the height of the pandemic, the club held 90-minute online meetings every Sunday. However, as the community began to reopen in the fall of 2021, the Iowa City Math Club returned in-person and masked to the library, where students from as far away as Cedar Rapids met every two weeks for two hours. 

    In the meetings, Tehrani would instruct the sixth- through tenth-grade students on various subdivisions of mathematics, walking them through problems according to experience and skill level. Through instruction and collaboration, club members would build on subjects they were struggling with and hone the skills they already had as well as learn new material to challenge and improve their abilities. 

    In its three years, the Iowa City Math Club has had a major impact on students and families from all across the Iowa City area. Not only has it aided community youth in mathematical endeavors, but it also provides volunteer opportunities for older high school students and connects its members with math competitions to test their skills. 

    “Some students previously in the club are helping to run it now,” says Tehrani. “And one of our students recently advanced to the final stage of the International Mathematic Olympiad, which is the most prestigious math competition in the country.” 

    The Iowa City Math Club was funded by multiple grants awarded by the university, such as one from the National Science Foundation. As a result of this financial support, Tehrani is able to keep the Iowa City Math Club running and continue supplying Iowa City-area students with valuable learning opportunities. 

    Tehrani’s dedication to community service and his determination to provide a safe and inclusive learning space for students are abundantly clear in the work he puts into the Iowa City Math Club. 

    For more information on the Iowa City Math Club and how to join, check out their website or contact Tehrani directly at to be added to the mailing list.

  • CLAS faculty member Tom Folland receives five grants in 2023

    August 31, 2023

    By Charlotte Brookins 

    Tom Folland, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has earned five grants totaling more than $2.8 million to help advance his research in condensed matter and materials physics.  

    A photo of Tom Folland, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
    Tom Folland

    “I was delighted to win these awards,” Folland says. “I was quite shocked at so many grants coming within the year. While some of this is luck, I think this can be attributed to my group’s growth over the past couple of years.” 

    Read on for more details about each of Folland's five awards. 

    “CAREER: Photonics in the Lowest Symmetry Crystals” 

    In March, Folland received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award titled, “CAREER: Photonics in the Lowest Symmetry Crystals.” The award carries $604,691. The research focuses on how certain classes of crystals can be used to control both the orientation and direction of light waves. As a result of this, key advances can be made in the creation of optical technologies such as quantum optics, laser imaging, and more. 

    Twist Optics 

    In April, Folland received a five-year grant from the Office of Naval Research’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative. The grant provides up to $1.5 million annually and is run by Vanderbilt University’s Josh Caldwell — it is also shared by the University of Minnesota and Stanford University. The funds will be put toward the study of twist optics—the interaction of two stacked crystals and the unique properties that result from their combination; this will allow for the better prediction of emergent properties created by the crystals. 

    Quantum Sensor Development 

    In June, Folland received a $235,000 grant from the University of Iowa Office of the Vice President for Research for the development of a quantum sensor that would detect polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and hydrogen molecules. The sensor and its ability to detect hydrogen molecules and PFAS is of the utmost importance, as asserted by current federal administrations; the detection of hydrogen leaks is significant for the evolving hydrogen economy, and PFAS molecules, also known as forever chemicals, are known to build up in the human body and cause a variety of health issues. 

    "Phonon Polariton Based Infrared Optoelectronics” 

    In July, both Folland and Professor John Prineas received $411,378 in a second grant from the National Science Foundation, this one for the development of long wavelength infrared light detectors with the ability to measure atmospheric chemicals. These detectors allow scientists to complete such tasks as non-contact temperature imaging, detecting chemical changes in the atmosphere, and more. 

    “Ultrafast, Nano-Optic and Temperature-Dependent Infrared (IR) Probes for Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Characterization” 

    Folland’s most recent grant comes once again from the Office of Naval Research, this time providing $434,814 for the development of nano-optic infrared probes. The project intends to demonstrate the importance and potential of infrared probes for the imaging and quantification of electrical, optical, and phonon behaviors of wide band gap semiconductors. 

    Folland, who has been part of the faculty in College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for three years, says that the University of Iowa has provided him with the facilities and resources necessary for the accomplishment of these grants. With these achievements, alongside the continued support of the university and college, Folland is confident in his ability to continue to expand his research and continue to pursue ambitious goals. 

    “I think it’s an exciting time to be at Iowa,” Folland finishes. “I expect more exciting growth in this area from my colleagues over the next few years.”

  • New CLAS Student Success Workshops being offered this fall

    August 28, 2023

  • Summer internships: Five CLAS journalism students share their experiences

    August 24, 2023

    By Charlotte Brookins 

    From Florence, Italy, to Washington D.C., Hawkeyes traveled all over the globe this summer representing the University of Iowa and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences during their internships. Learn more about these five students, each with their own unique summer experiences, and how Iowa prepared them ahead of their internships.  

    Five University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Students share their summer internship experiences

    Sophia Restiffe Favaretto 

    Sophia Restiffe Favaretto is a rising senior studying journalism and Italian in CLAS. Over the summer, she interned at 3Dsign, a media creation company based in Florence, Italy. After growing up in Brazil, Favaretto came to the University of Iowa to study, and eventually acquired Italian citizenship in 2021 after studying the language for five years. 

    “This experience has definitely changed my life forever,” says Favaretto. “I'm able to use my Italian and Journalism skills for my job, and I have opened my mind to the possibility of pursuing my master's in Italy or even Europe." 

    As an intern with 3Dsign, Favaretto spent her internship doing photo shoots, creating videos, helping with post-production, and aiding in design. As a whole, she spent most of her time working in multimedia. 

    Favaretto says she enjoys many things about Iowa City, but her favorite thing to do there is thrifting.  

    “My favorite thing is going thrifting by bus!” she says.  “I just catch the bus downtown and go where all the thrift stores are. It’s something I love to do by myself.” 

    Sabine Martin 

    Sabine Martin is a fourth-year student double-majoring in journalism and mass communication and international studies, with a minor in French. This summer, she spent time in Washington D.C. as an education reporting intern at U.S. News and World Report.  

    “I wrote articles mostly about education and consumer advice issues, such as how to get into college,” says Martin. “It’s given me a lot of professional experience that I feel like I didn’t have before working for a larger company on a national level.” 

    Although Martin has had previous experiences with more local news sources, such as the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Daily Iowan, which she has worked on since her freshman year at Iowa and will soon be taking over as executive editor, this was her first time working at such a large-scale company. She explains that her time at the university has prepared her for this change, though. 

    “All of my journalism classes, especially those with hands-on experiences, have helped me gain the basic skills I need for this job.” She also describes the community of Iowa alumni she has met while in D.C., saying, “We have such good journalism alumni; people are always offering to connect me with other people from the college.” 

    While Martin may have been out of state for the summer, she still has plenty of things that she loves about Iowa City.  

    “I love going to all the different cafes,” she says, “not just for schoolwork and journalism, but also to hang out with friends in the community.” 

    Gretchen Lenth 

    Gretchen Lenth just graduated from Iowa this past May with a degree in journalism and mass communication and informatics. This summer, she was nearly 1,000 miles away in New York City, where she interned at the Wall Street Journal.  

    “I specifically worked at their investigations desk as a data reporter,” says Lenth, describing her role in one of the newest among internships at the WSJ. “I worked on the investigations team on the data side as opposed to the reporting team. I typically worked on longer form stories, since the investigations team tends to spend a year mulling them over, but I also did quicker turnarounds.” 

    Lenth has previous experience working jobs in journalism, as she spent time working for the Daily Iowan while at the University of Iowa, but this was her first time working with such a large organization. She says her unique combination of majors and the classes she took for both of them have helped to prepare her for the new challenge. 

    “The university prepared me by allowing me to marry my two majors together,” Lenth explains. “Data science pairs really well with journalism, which allowed me to carve out my own area of study.” 

    Although Lenth learned a lot while in New York, she says there is plenty about Iowa City she missed, especially the natural scenery. 

    “I feel like my favorite part, which I’m nostalgic for right now,” she says, “is the green space and the water. I enjoy the hybrid of urban and down-to-earth Iowa. It’s a culture I don’t think you can get in a lot of other places.” 

    Kate Perez 

    Kate Perez is a third-year Iowa student studying journalism and mass communication with an English minor and a writing certificate, and this summer she furthered her studies with a remote internship at USA TODAY as a breaking news and trends intern.  

    She says that her time as a journalism student at Iowa and her experience working on the Daily Iowan have helped to prepare her for the challenges of her new role. 

    “The University of Iowa has given me the opportunity to build my reporting skills and learn the foundational knowledge that every journalist needs,” says Perez. "Additionally, working at The Daily Iowan has allowed me to produce great clips and learn how to report in real life.” 

    In addition to her gratitude for the skills the university has provided her with prior to her internship, she goes on to describe her experience at a national paper and how it has benefited her not only as a student, but also as a writer and reporter. 

    “Working at USA TODAY has been an amazing experience for me,” Perez adds. "I have met so many people that I enjoy working with, and it has only solidified my love of journalism; I look forward to advancing my career in the future with the skills I have learned here.” 

    While in Iowa City, she says she enjoys hanging out with friends on the Pentacrest or reading on the steps of the Old Capitol building. 

    Parker Jones 

    Parker Jones, a fourth-year student double-majoring in journalism and cinema with a minor in art, spent her summer working as a remote intern for Infinity Marketing, a marketing company based in South Carolina. 

    “I shadowed the social media team at Infinity to learn client-based social media marketing and how to work on large scale projects and campaigns for big clients,” Jones describes. 

    Jones says that she enjoyed learning more about social media marketing and the role it can play in the field of journalism. Although it’s not something she had much experience in prior to her internship, she says it was always a subject of fascination whenever the topic came up during her journalism classes at the university. 

    Jones goes on to describe the invaluable opportunities she had this summer, saying, “I have learned a ton of skills that I had no clue about before starting at Infinity; it has taught me what working for a large corporation would be like, and how to interact with a team of people all managing the same social media rather than working independently." 

    Although the work has been busy, Jones is glad to have been able to participate in such a major learning experience.  

    Due to the remote nature of the internship, Jones has still been able to enjoy all that Iowa City has to offer during its summer months, saying, “My favorite things to do here are to hang out with my friends or go to the pool whenever it’s warm enough!” 

    To learn more about internships and how you can find one for you, check out the internship and practicum page on the Pomerantz Career Center website or connect with your academic advisor

  • Academic advising at a glance: How CLAS academic advisors can help you

    August 21, 2023

    As you settle into the semester, your academic advisors are here to help you with any fall schedule changes. 

    Be on the lookout for reminders from your advisors about planning for the spring semester. Meanwhile, there is still plenty to talk about for fall. Know that your academic advisors are excited to partner with you at every point of your academic journey.

    Here are some things you'll want to be thinking about as the new semester begins depending on where you are along your academic journey: 

    How CLAS academic advisors can help you:

    First year students

    This is your time to explore, discover new things, make friends and get settled. Don’t put off getting involved, but don’t take on too much. The first few weeks will seem quite easy but then midterms start, and the semester is in full swing. Be sure to reflect on your experiences so you can assess what you want to continue or change in the future. An advisor can help you think through some ideas or concerns you may have. 

    Second year students

    This is a great time to make plans and branch out. Your advisor can help you explore additional programs, including majors, minors, or certificates, that you may be interested in, as well as ways to get involved on campus. Together, we can help you craft an individualized plan that suits your interests and needs. Schedule now to discuss your plans and meet with your advisor to create a semester-by-semester plan of study. 

    Third year students 

    Already have a degree plan? Advising is for more than just checking the boxes. Your advisor would also love to talk with you about taking the next step or whether it’s time for a reset. Your advisor can brainstorm with you about internship and research opportunities, developing academic and career goals, and what you are excited about or concerned about in your classes and activities. 

    Fourth year students or higher

    As you begin your final year, have your advisor check to make sure you are on track to graduate. Whether you plan on getting a first job or continuing your education, your advisor can support you on your journey. Take the opportunity to visit the Pomerantz Career Center, work with a faculty mentor, complete internships, and attend job fairs. Your advisors are so excited for you and cannot wait to see what you accomplish. 

    You can revisit any of these tips at any stage in your academic journey. It is never too late to explore. Internships, study abroad, research and service are opportunities available to students at any point in their undergraduate education. Be sure to meet with your advisor every semester to plan and assess your experience. 

    To reach your advisor, verify them and schedule an appointment in MyUI or email them directly. You can also email

  • Learning at Iowa: How to study effectively

    August 21, 2023

    Although you spend many years in school before arriving at college, when asked, most college students—as many as 80 percent—say that they have never been taught how to study. You may have also been given study recommendations that are sketchy or simply wrong—such as “learning styles."

    To help you avoid using trial and error to figure out how to study effectively, Learning at Iowa has distilled decades of research from cognitive science to create recommendations for effective learning. These recommendations are also shared with instructors, advisors, and others across campus to reach as many students as possible. 

    A to-do list as described by the Three Ms

    The Three Ms 

    Learning at Iowa revolves around the Three Ms: Mindset, Metacognition, and Memory. Each M is an essential piece of learning: 

    Mindset: Successful learners know that they can learn. A growth mindset is the attitude that learning and intelligence are the result of practice and effort.  

    Metacognition: This is “thinking about thinking” and involves an assessment of your learning and the limits or shortcomings of your learning. Learning at Iowa highlights three important components of metacognition: planning, monitoring, and evaluating.  

    Memory: The third M centers on the learning processes that produce the most effective learning, processes such as spacing your learning and testing yourself. 

    For more information on the Three Ms, check out these short videos.

    The importance of time management

    The Three Ms are useful for all aspects of studying and learning. For example, how is your time management? If you’re like most students, time management is a challenge because college courses are less structured than high school courses. And, many of the features of college courses—such as deadlines that are far in the future or feedback that is infrequent—can lead to procrastination, which is time mismanagement.  

    Metacognition is essential to good time management. Much of time management boils down to metacognitive planning and monitoring. If you plan and monitor your time use, just as you would your learning, you’ll be proactively managing your time. 

     Here are some ways to take action and promote effective time management: 

    •  Create a calendar that lists all of your time commitments (classes, work, study sessions, exams, assignment deadlines, etc.). Adding everything to your calendar help you better understand where you spend your time so you can be strategic with your priorities. 
    • Establish your routine, or habits. For your classes, plan to study or work on classes a consistent time each day. Plan your learning in set blocks of time, rather than by which assignment is due next. For example, plan to study from 7-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with short breaks after every hour or so.  
    • Set learning goals or make a to-do list for each of your study sessions. Be sure to check upcoming deadlines and exams and put those on your to-do list well in advance. 
    • Avoid distractions. Put your phone in airplane mode and keep it out of sight. Check it during your short study breaks as a reward to yourself. 
    • Avoid the planning fallacy: People underestimate the amount of time that a task will take. Give yourself more time than you think it will take to complete an assignment or study for an exam.  

    To learn more about how to use the Three Ms, visit

  • CLAS hosts annual Career Boot Camp for graduate student and postdoc career exploration

    August 24, 2023

    By Charlotte Brookins 

    Osamamen Oba Eduviere and Andres Restrepo are two of the thousands of graduate students attending the University of Iowa. They come from different backgrounds and study different subjects —but both of them could be found in Voxman Music Building for the 2023 CLAS Career Boot Camp.  

    On August 10 and 11, the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) hosted its 2023 Career Boot Camp for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. The event, which focused on preparing Iowa graduate students and postdocs for the workforce and exposing them to a variety of career paths, featured a series of panels and workshops from CLAS faculty, UI alumni and friends, and CLAS and Graduate College leaders.  

    “My motivation for coming to the event was probably my background,” third-year religious studies, PhD student Eduviere said. “I taught in Nigeria for five years before coming to the University of Iowa, and I’ve realized that I want to explore a career outside of academia. I have already learned so much about preparing myself for life after grad school in just a few hours.”  

    Eduviere was one of dozens of graduate students attending the event, each from various backgrounds and areas of study. Although every student came with their own unique experiences and goals, they were all presented with valuable information to learn from, which they could then interpret according to their specific ambitions and interests. 

    Speakers present at the CLAS Career Boot Camp event in August 2023

    “I think that looking for jobs is an important search to start early,” Restrepo, a third-year PhD student studying anthropology, who attended the two-day workshop said. “Using events such as this boot camp and doing networking from the very start can help provide you for the tools you need when you graduate and start looking for jobs outside of academia.” 

    CLAS associate dean for graduate education and outreach and engagement Christine Getz and other CLAS faculty members and staff collaborated with Jen Teitle, assistant dean for graduate and postdoctoral development, and Brady Krien, assistant director for graduate student success and assessment, as they created the event, arranging the thoughtful workshops, panels, and presentations shown to attendees.  

    One of these panels focused on things past students wished they had known before entering their careers. The presentation featured four individuals with shared connections to the university as former students or current professional staff members. Each of them reflected on their time in school and the things that influenced their course of study and how they ended up where they are now. 

    Lauren Cox, the assistant director at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, made sure to focus on one particular piece of advice for current students, “I wish I had known to say yes to projects I was interested in, even if they weren’t directly affiliated with my dissertation,” she says. “You have to be willing to say yes to a lot of things and take opportunities as they come.” 

    Speakers present at the CLAS Career Boot Camp event in August 2023

    The annual CLAS Career Boot Camp, which began in 2021, was inspired by the Odyssey Program at University College Cork. It reflects the college's strategic priority of preparing graduate students and postdocs for a variety of post-graduate career opportunities. 

  • 6 Tips for a #HawkeyeSafe semester

    August 24, 2023


The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.