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Student Profiles


Esther Tetteh

September 15, 2021 4:45 pm

Esther Tetteh grew up in Accra, Ghana. She received a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Resource Development, and Sociology. She explored the coping mechanisms among urban dwellers to floods as her undergraduate project. This experience led her to pursue a master’s degree in Community & Regional Planning and a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems at ISU to broaden her knowledge. Her research interests lie in sustainability, hazard mitigation, and resilience. She is a recipient of the 2021 Burgess Graduate Scholarship. She is currently interning with the Iowa Department of Transportation as a Traffic Count Technician. As an urban planner, she is passionate about creating sustainable and resilient cities because the environment is where we live and work.

Aminat Adesanya

September 15, 2021 4:37 pm

Aminat Adesanya is a Community & Regional Planning (MCRP) graduate student with a bachelor’s degree in Urban & Regional Planning from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Her overarching goal is to become a highly accomplished scholar-practitioner that will draw on top-notch problem-framing and solution-driven research and analytical skills to develop science-informed policies and solutions to environmental and development problems. For example, her graduating thesis investigated whether, how, and why the physical urban setting of an area affects crime using one of the local government areas with profound and perennial crime incidences and other urban social problems in Lagos. Her research proposed recommendations on how crime can be reduced, and sustained peace and security can be achieved in the study area. As an undergraduate student also, she was exposed to courses and projects on sustainability, community development and professional activities that enriched her practice and community engagement experience as a planner.

Aminat is a registered planner (RTP) with the Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria and a corporate member of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners. She worked actively as a Town Planner with the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development before enrolling for the community and regional planning graduate program. After her studies, she hopes to have acquired the necessary knowledge to analyze and find solutions to pressing urban environmental and health challenges locally and globally.

Lilah Mares – Transfer Student Spotlight

October 17, 2019 3:31 pm

Name: Lilah Mares

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Major: Interior Design

Year: Junior, technically

Hometown: This is a hard question… I’m a military brat, so I’ve moved around a lot. I was born in Arizona but I consider my hometown to be Longmont, Colorado.

Transferred from: Arizona State University

Why did you choose Iowa State University?
I went through ASU’s core program and was rejected from interior design, which is what I really wanted to do. My best friend goes to school at Central College in Pella, Iowa, and when I was looking for new design programs to apply to, she basically was like “come to Iowa State!” and so that was a big incentive to be closer to her, coming from so far away. The design school here also has a pretty high ranking, which is a big draw in terms of hire-ability. And the fact that it’s a public university, too, and not like a small private college, so I wouldn’t be surrounded by just art and design people. I can get a lot of different perspectives of how real-life users would interact with the environment I’m making.

How is Iowa State different?
There’s some things I like a lot better about the Core Design Program here than ASU’s. I like the projects for 102 and that we have to take a drawing class. Not that I’m the best drawer, but I’m able to communicate my ideas a lot more efficiently than before this class. We also have more time for the projects here, and we’re able to go through and learn the entire design process from start to end which was super helpful. Also, this is a big generalization, but I feel like the people here are more family and community focused; at ASU the goal was getting a good job, here at ISU it’s like, I still want to get a good job, but I have more camaraderie with my fellow students and I’m building more relationships than I was at ASU. It’s a much more collaborative space.

What do you enjoy most about your major?
I like that it’s a pretty small community within the program. I know everyone in my classes and I’m not afraid to talk to them or ask them questions.

What is your favorite ISU tradition?
The one I follow the most is not stepping on the Zodiac!

What is your best memory so far at Iowa State?
Probably joining my sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, and walking into the house on preference night.

What advice would you give another student who is thinking of transferring to Iowa State?
Do it. The community here is so great and that makes the transition super easy. Everyone is easy to talk to. People in the Midwest care.

Colin Long – Transfer Student Spotlight

October 17, 2019 3:16 pm

Name: Colin Long

Pronouns: He/him/his

Current major: Industrial Design

Year: Junior (second year in industrial design after completing the Core Design Program)

Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa

Transferred from: University of Iowa, Fall 2018

What did you study at your previous school?
I was undecided.

Why did you transfer to Iowa State University?
The industrial design program— like, no other college has that program. I also took those online quizzes that are supposed to tell you what your future career should be, and industrial designer would always pop up. I looked into it a little bit and did some research on the Iowa State website. All the classes seemed pretty interesting, too.

Who has helped you most in your transition to Iowa State?
Probably my friends — they helped me transition and gave me opportunities to do other things besides just design stuff all the time. I did talk to one of the advisers here while I was still at Iowa, and that made it a bit easier just understanding the planning [behind transferring].

Are you involved in students clubs or intramural activities?
I’m in the Air Force ROTC, basketball, Ultimate Frisbee … we have our championship game coming up!

What is your favorite place on campus?
I love the Armory. I practically live there now because all my classes are there, my studio is there and the Air Force stuff is in there. I like the history behind it. Just walking around, there’s so many little places to find, it’s pretty cool. It used to be like a rec facility at one point, and there was a basketball court in there, so there’s like old scoreboards up in the rafters and old nooks and crannies.

Cyclones or Hawkeyes?
I root for the Wisconsin Badgers, actually. It’s kinda how I get out of the whole “rivalry” thing.

What do you want to do in the future with industrial design?
The ideal job would be probably designing golf clubs for golf pros, since I’m a golfer.

What advice do you have for other students thinking of transferring?
Do the research on what you think you’ll like, make sure it’s something you’re interested in and that you’re ready to go all-in for.

Brett Garrett – Transfer Student Spotlight

October 17, 2019 2:50 pm

Name: Brett Garrett

Pronouns: He/him/his

Major: Integrated Studio Arts

Year: Junior

Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa

Transferred from: Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), Fall 2018

Why did you choose Iowa State University?
I was living in Las Vegas just working and building my portfolio, and decided I wanted to pursue a career in a design or art field a little deeper. I had friends who had gone through the industrial design program at Iowa State, so I did some research on it and saw how good the program was and it seemed like it would be a good fit. So, I moved back to Iowa and went to DMACC first to get my general education credits. Then at the end of my first year at ISU I decided to switch to the integrated studio arts program.

What do you enjoy most about your major?
I wanted to be a little looser, more artistic. I was drawn to studio arts and being able to make my own stuff and sell it, specifically furniture design and woodworking. Furniture can be very complex and focused on single pieces, and I like putting a lot of time into one thing.

What is your favorite place on campus?
I really just like spending time in my studio classes and working on stuff. The furniture studio I’m in right now is really fun, and I also like ceramics. It’s very stream-of-thought. I was in [the studio] for eight hours on a Sunday and it just flew by.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself with a job that involves woodworking that can support me enough to work on my own projects on my own time as well. I don’t know if I’d open my own business, but I’d want to sell my own stuff I create.

What advice would you give another student who is thinking of transferring to Iowa State?
Reach out to other students, if not faculty, and talk about it. Talking with other students in the studio arts program is what swayed me toward it. And know what courses are required and try to plan ahead for the major you’re switching into.

Qiyamah Muhammad – Transfer Student Profile

October 17, 2019 2:42 pm

Name: Qiyamah Muhammad

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Major: Landscape Architecture

Year: Junior (third-year landscape architecture)

Hometown: Waterloo, Iowa

Transferred from: Hawkeye Community College, Spring 2018

What did you study in community college?
I studied liberal arts. I was undecided. I didn’t want to go to a big university before I was sure about what I wanted to do.

Why did you transfer to Iowa State University?
I came for the landscape architecture program. I wanted to draw and do something with my hands, but I also wanted to make money and have something I enjoy doing. I took a lot of environmental classes [in community college] and I was like, “How can I combine my artistic side with landscape and design?” My sister (Meshallah Muhammad, who graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in interior design in May 2019) already went here and said Iowa State has a great design program, so I knew it was a good school.

What do you enjoy most about your major?
I love getting to be outside, and the traveling. There’s this class called the Traveling Savanna Studio during our first semester in the program, and our class got really close because of that. We went on one three-week trip, came back for three weeks and then went on another three-week trip. My most favorite parts of Savanna Studio were camping and complaining about how cold it was, hiking in Colorado and having classes outside. I could go on forever, because looking back, the things I remember complaining about are things I miss the most.

Who has helped you most in your transition to Iowa State?
Heidi Hohmann and Michael Martin (both associate professors of landscape architecture) on the Savanna Studio. They were there the whole time teaching us about plants and the places we were and stuff. We all got really close with them, and I feel like you just don’t get that sometimes with other majors.

Are you involved in any student clubs or intramural activities?
I’m in the Iowa Students of Landscape Architecture club and I like it a lot.

What is your favorite memory from Iowa State so far?
One of my favorite memories was attending my first football game. I just remember being really excited about officially being a Cyclone!

What advice would you give incoming transfer students?
Join more clubs! It helps you get to know people and socialize more.

Hiba Salih – Transfer Student Spotlight

October 17, 2019 2:20 pm

Name: Hiba Salih

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Major: Architecture

Year: Senior (second-year architecture student after completing the Core Design Program)

Transferred from: University of Redlands, California, Fall 2018

What did you study at your previous school?
I studied environmental design with an emphasis in Arabic. I took part in the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, an interdisciplinary program that allows students to create their own majors and then present their curriculum to a board of students, professors and the dean of the university.

Why did you transfer to Iowa State University?
I decided to transfer out of the University of Redlands because as I was going through my intended major, I realized that all the classes were theory based, and it was not until I took a graphic design studio that my love for the world of design became more obvious to me. My brothers-in-law both attended Iowa State, and one came back last year for his master’s in the architecture program. So it was like fate that I ended up here!

What do you enjoy most about your major?
The feeling I get when I am doing what I am passionate about does not equate to anything I have ever felt before. I finally feel like I am doing something that matters to me and others. It is a very liberating feeling!

Who has helped you most in your transition to Iowa State?
Audrey Kennis (former College of Design multicultural liaison officer who is now the retention coordinator for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a graduate student in community and regional planning) was an integral part of my emotional state and motivation throughout my first two semesters here. Her BUILD (multicultural peer mentorship) program was influential and mostly, her unconditional love for students is inspiring.

Are you involved in any student clubs or intramural activities?
I am involved with programs that align with my own career goals and personal development: Datum Student Journal of Architecture, National Society of Black Engineers, National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, African Student Association and Black Student Association.

What is your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place would have to be my studio space where I basically spend all my time.

What advice would you give another student who is thinking of transferring to Iowa State?
Your priority should be you and your goals, no matter how long it takes [to get there]. Iowa State has been so good to me because of the people I have met along the way, and with so many opportunities, you can definitely find what you might be interested in.

Steven Abramsky

September 17, 2019 5:41 pm

Priyankaa Krishnan

July 22, 2019 1:45 pm

Graduate Student, Industrial Design

From: Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Industrial Design, Iowa State University, 2018


Why are you pursuing your master’s degree at Iowa State?
I am an aspiring professor and I am interested in design research. The Master of Industrial Design program at Iowa State provides a wide range of opportunities for design research. I received the Industrial Design Graduate Teaching Award for 2018-2019, which recognizes and motivates me as a good teacher.

What has been most surprising to you about the ISU industrial design graduate program?

You feel like a grownup! I get to assist professors during lectures, and undergraduate students consider me a mentor.

What is most interesting or exciting to you about industrial design?
I enjoy the community of the industrial design department. We are a small family. All the professors help students not only with their education but also help them build themselves as an individual.

I also think sponsored studios are the most fun about the program, as you get “real life” experience for an entire semester. Plus, knowing that your ideas are being manufactured makes it even better. My last sponsored studio with Vermeer was such a great experience.

Have you participated in study abroad, an internship or other off-campus learning experience?

As an undergraduate student, I interned for eight months at BAM International in the United Arab Emirates, where I participated in two major projects: Phase 2.1 of the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium and the Museum of the Future. I’m also a freelance digital media marketer, with clients in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Are you involved in other activities at Iowa State?
I co-founded the Sketch Squad Iowa State chapter. As visual storytellers, we are here to help sketch out any ideas, so whenever there’s a need for some awesomeness, call on the Sketch Squad! I was also an event manager and panelist for the spring 2019 (d)innovation symposium, and I have served as a coordinator and online trainer for the industrial design department’s workshops and webinars. I’m planning to get more involved in the Iowa State chapter of the Industrial Designers Society of America, too.

What makes you really happy ?
New, exciting and challenging projects.

What would you want other students considering coming to Iowa State to know that would help them make a decision ?
Iowa State University builds you as a person, provides you with the best opportunities and professors who are willing to expand beyond obstacles to bring out the best of us. If you are willing to put in your best forward, Iowa State is for you!

Kelsey Barron

November 27, 2018 5:17 pm

Study Abroad Semester: Fall 2018
Location: College of Design Rome Program, Rome, Italy
Scholarship: Loren Johnson Memorial Scholarship for International Travel

What was the impact of receiving the scholarship on your decision to study abroad?

I was very torn about whether I should study abroad or not because of the cost. The sad fact is that a lot of dreams are put on hold because of money. Everything makes a difference. When I received the scholarship, I knew it was a sign that I should go to Rome.

What classes are you taking in Rome?

I’m taking a retail design studio and classes in art history, drawing, mixed media and Italian culture.

How has studying abroad advanced your design thinking and skills?

Being abroad helps you break out of your normal design style; you’re constantly seeing the work of some of the greatest artists to ever live first hand, so how could you not be inspired? Being here has also made me more independent and confident in everything I do, whether it’s presenting my designs, ordering my meal in Italian, or navigating public transit.

What has been the best part overall about studying abroad?

My favorite part of my semester has been traveling from country to country. I enjoy seeing how diverse the people and places are. I’m already planning to get lots of use out of my passport in the next 10 years. Maybe that will include graduate school abroad — who knows!

What advice would you give other students who are considering studying abroad?

Go abroad! It is a life-changing experience that you will only grow from. If money is an issue, there are so many opportunities to help you — you just have to look. Go with an open mind. Try new foods, learn about the culture and customs of the country and learn about yourself.

Rachel Scudder

November 1, 2018 11:29 am

Rachel Scudder is an urban design (MUD) and community and regional planning (MCRP) graduate student with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry. As an undergraduate student, Rachel worked on a fellowship and completed a study abroad program focused on the planning and culture around solid waste management in Portland, Oregon, and Kyoto, Japan. During this study, she veered away from landscape architecture into the world of planning. Her interests have always been in urban design issues as they pertain to the landscape, and her background in landscape architecture has put into focus how important the built world is to the community of people that fill it.

Tanvi Halde

April 12, 2018 7:56 pm

Tanvi Halde completed a Bachelor of Architecture from the Rachana Sansad Academy of Architecture in her hometown of Mumbai, India, in 2016, and worked as an architect on residential and redevelopment projects in Mumbai. Through these projects she became interested in urban design and planning and decided to attend graduate school to broaden her knowledge in these fields. She is now pursuing both a Master of Urban Design (MUD) and a Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) at Iowa State. Her study in the US provides her an international platform where she can interact with fellow international students and expand her perspective on large-scale urban planning and design.