AMES, Iowa — Emily Drennen Hatch, from Plano, Texas, will represent the Iowa State University College of Design as its student marshal at the university’s Spring 2024 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony #2 on Saturday, May 11, at Hilton Coliseum.

Hatch will graduate summa cum laude with a bachelor of architecture and a minor in sustainability. Her university escort will be Rob Whitehead, associate professor of architecture and associate dean for academic programs and student success in the College of Design.

Hatch was on the Dean’s List and in the top 2% of her class every semester at Iowa State. She received the 2021-2022 Scott E. Olson Leadership/Community Service Award, 2022-2023 Lyle E. and Anna M. Lightfoot Scholarship, 2023-2024 John Locke Architecture Scholarship and four-year Exploration Award and Adventure Award from Iowa State. She won the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA) 2022 Division II All-Academic Award.

A recognized leader on campus, Hatch served as an undergraduate research assistant with Iowa UrbanFEWS (Food-Energy-Water Systems) from 2020-2024; outreach chair for the Women Who Design student organization from spring 2020 through spring 2021; ISU Women’s Lacrosse Club fundraising chair in 2020-2021 and president in 2021-2022; and a community advisor for the ISU Department of Residence in spring 2021. She volunteered with Architecture and Design Exchange’s “Designing My Future” camp in 2022.

Hatch and teammate Ryan VerMulm, also a graduating senior in architecture, won first place in the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) 2023-2024 Critical Access Hospital Student Design Competition for their studio project “Tall Pines Medical Center – Hualapai Nation.” Hatch was also a finalist for the fall 2022 DLR Group Prize in the ISU Department of Architecture with her project “The Wedge.”

She represented the College of Design at the 2023 American Institute of Architects-Academy of Architecture for Health (AIA-AAH) STERIS Student Design Charrette in New Orleans and presented “Assessing the Impact of Increased Minimum Fresh Air Per Person in Classrooms in Des Moines, Iowa” at Research in the Capitol 2024 in Des Moines.

Hatch completed internships with Corgan in Dallas in 2022 and DLR Group in Phoenix and Des Moines in 2023-2024. She studied in Italy with the College of Design Rome Program in spring 2023.

Hatch chose Whitehead as her faculty escort for commencement because “his constant guidance and support played a pivotal role in shaping me as a designer,” she said.

“He taught me how to think conceptually and technically about a project, from movement through the space to sizing beams. Most importantly, he taught me the importance of taking a break from the continuous grind to celebrate my accomplishments.”

After graduation, Hatch plans to move to Chicago and work toward becoming a licensed architect.

She is the daughter of Jane and Ken Hatch of Plano, Texas, and a 2019 graduate of Plano Senior High School.


Emily Drennen Hatch, Graduating Senior, Architecture,
Rob Whitehead, Associate Professor, Architecture, and Associate Dean, College of Design,
Heather Sauer, Director of Strategic Communications, College of Design,