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The Stories

The University Committee for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equity (UCAWGE) is charged by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion with the collection of quantitative and qualitative data on the experiences of women at ISU. To gather qualitative data, we invited women in the ISU community to share their stories highlighting individual experiences. Participants were asked the following questions:

  1. What was your personal and/or professional journey like that led you to Iowa State University?
  2. What resources or support would help you thrive as a woman at Iowa State University?

Our goal in doing this is to amplify the voices of women in the ISU community through the sharing of lived experiences. We hope that these stories will bring into focus the people behind the numbers.

If you would like to contribute your story, complete our Women@ISU Stories Survey or email womenandgender@iastate.edu.

  • P&S Icon
    Journey

    Winding, with years of being asked to prove my abilities (after I'd already proven my abilities). I worked for a small non-profit for many years, and also taught English in South Korea for three years during the worst period of the U.S. recession in the early 2010s. In the U.S., I experienced a lot of ageism (which I believe was actually sexism in a more palatable/legal form of discrimination, since the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older, but does not protect people younger than 40 against ageism). In South Korea, I was sexually harassed and discriminated against by my supervisor and the public department of education which employed me.

  • Faculty Icon
    Journey

    Just before I turned 19, I became a single mother. I started community college 5 weeks after my daughter was born. I earned my associate degree, despite being in an abusive and nearly fatal relationship with a man who did not believe I had the right to an education. I transferred into ISU following my AA. It took a while but I finally earned my BA five years after starting Iowa State. I was hired as P&S two months after I graduated. The department I joined was a "boys club". I was only the 3rd non-clerical woman hired. During more than a decade there, I found my ideas were often ignored. I was talked down to almost daily. At one point, I was invited to a presentation where I watched one of the men present a project that was my idea as his own. I had been shut down when I pitched the project.

  • Graduate Student Icon
    Journey

    Circuitous. I did my undergraduate work at a small liberal arts college here in Iowa. I did not think I would want to go to graduate school after graduating. After some soul searching and time spent looking at careers after graduation, I decided I wanted to become a professor. I had done an REU at Iowa State the summer before graduating and still was in contact with members of that lab. Because I'd had such a great experience, the research was top notch, and I would get to stay close to my relatives, I applied only to Iowa State for my Ph.D. I have been here since the fall of 2017. 

  • Graduate Student Icon
    Journey

    I lived in Ames and wanted to go to college, after entering college a female professor encouraged me to consider a different major and I switched and thrived in that major. My professors were supportive throughout my pregnancy, mostly understanding when I took time off after giving birth. Then I went into the workforce for awhile and felt like I should go back to learn more. ISU seemed like a good place to continue learning so I applied for graduate school and was accepted. Through my rotations I found a good professor who's lab I joined.

  • Faculty Icon
    Journey

    I took my term faculty position in 2014 when we arrived here for my husband's graduate program.  At the time, President Leath was growing the school and our department was short-handed instructors for undergraduates.  I felt hired in a bit of a hurry to help put out a fire.

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