Student Highlights

Stephanie McMillan

Major: Agricultural Communications and Global Resource Systems • Study Abroad Experience: Peru, Uganda & Sweden

Stephanie McMillan, a senior majoring in Agricultural Communications and Global Resource Systems (GRS) from Independence, Iowa recently returned from her third study abroad experience at Iowa State University. Prior to participating in the Spring 2018 travel course, “Exploring Peru: Natural Resources & Local Communities”, Stephanie had spent a summer abroad as an intern in Uganda through the Iowa State University Uganda Program. She worked on projects involving the Nutrition Education Centers (NECs), which included educating and training women and children on the benefits of hygiene and sanitation. Stephanie added, “Studying abroad has totally forced me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to grow independently and adapt to new surroundings and circumstances.” She felt that studying abroad while at Iowa State was a completely different experience than traveling on family vacations because she was able to be totally immersed in the different cultures and participate in unique farm visits leading to collaborative learning experiences and discussions with locals. Stephanie appreciates all of the diverse international opportunities she was able to experience, especially visiting counties with varying economic classifications including, Sweden (higher income), Peru (moderate income) and Uganda (lower income). Studying abroad is also the reason for Stephanie gaining an interest in global perspectives, picking up her second major in GRS and ultimately looking to participate in the Agricultural Safety & Health graduate program at the University of Iowa upon graduation.


Amanda Gorzney

Major: Global Resource Systems & Agricultural Communications • Study Abroad Experience: U.S. Virgin Islands

Amanda Gorzney, a sophomore in both Global Resource Systems and Agricultural Communications from Calamus, Iowa participated in her first study abroad program through the CALS Study Abroad Office this past summer in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her interest in the EARTH Service Learning Program was sparked by her passion to help others and provided her with the opportunity to take a step toward her goals of a global career. During her six week stay, she immersed herself in the culture, learning of the island’s rich heritage that is still present today. Before embarking on the trip, Amanda had not known what to expect from the community, as the group was initially told the locals take a while to open up to visitors. She found this to be somewhat true, but by the end of her stay, she had developed a great relationship with many of the people she worked with every day while making vegetable gardens. Throughout the program, she was reminded of how simple life could be and all of the things we take for granted. “The islands had just been hit with Hurricanes Irma and Maria nine months before our arrival. It was an eye-opening experience to see a community remain so strong and loving after such devastation.” This opportunity has become a major talking point for Amanda, as it stands out on her résumé and pushes her to think outside of the box during classroom discussions. Her advice for students considering studying abroad, “Be open to new experiences and activities. Not everyone comes from the same background as you and you need to respect that.” Along with her travel experience, Amanda is also involved in the International Agriculture Club, Block and Bridle Club, and the Cultural Ambassadors Program.


Rachel Crowley

Major: Food Science & Human Nutrition • Study Abroad Experience: France

Rachel Crowley, a sophomore in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Cascade, Iowa participated in the Summer 2018 travel course, “Cathedrals, Castles, Culture and Cuisine-sustainable, Safe, & Nutritious Food in France”. Prior to participating in this faculty-led travel course, Rachel had limited domestic and no previous international travel experiences. Rachel learned about the study abroad opportunity while participating in Cyclone Scholars, a program for undergraduate students to develop professional skills in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Rachel found the travel course program structure to best fit her limited travel experience. In particular, she enjoyed the pre-departure orientation classes as they helped prepare her for the group’s travel and allowed her to get to know her classmates and enhance her knowledge of France. While abroad, Rachel was able to compare the food storage and preservation methods in France compared to the United States and noticed that there was little food refrigeration and less of a concern about food safety and sanitation when serving or selling foods. On a personal level, she was able to make connections worldwide with upperclassmen, dietetic interns and even businesses on the travel course, allowing her to broaden her horizon about her specific major and learn more about future possibilities in her field of study. Rachel really values the opportunity of being able to travel internationally and the skills learned abroad, she hopes to return someday with friends. 


Connor Bollum

Major: Agricultural Business  • Study Abroad Experience: Greece & Argentina

Connor Bollum, a junior in Agricultural Business from Austin, Minnesota returned last spring from a travel course to Argentina on the topic of agricultural production, business and trade. This is not the first study abroad experience for Connor as he has also completed a travel course to Spain and a semester abroad in Greece at the American Farm School-Perrotis College. During his recent visit to Argentina, Connor appreciated the structure and cultural immersion that comes with a faculty-led travel course as they were able to experience opportunities that most people wouldn’t be given. For example, while in Argentina the group visited the farm of Sergio Lence, ISU Professor in Economics and program director. They were able to interact with Sergio’s family members who are residents to Argentina, while enjoying a native home cooked meal of roasted lamb. Studying abroad for a semester in Greece helped Connor become more independent and confident while conquering situations on his own. He also enjoyed attending classes taught by professors from 4 different continents and unique perspectives. While working as a Student Travel Consultant in the CALS Study Abroad office, Connor can’t express enough on how great of an experience study abroad is for any student considering the opportunity. Aside from studying abroad, Connor is also an active member of the Agricultural Business Club, Agricultural Marketing & Management Organization (AMMO) and Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative. Connor's Blog.


Bridget Halat

Major: Communications Studies • Study Abroad Experience: Costa Rica & Argentina

Bridget Halat a junior from Genoa, Illinois, majoring in Communications Studies and minoring in International Agriculture and Advertising has participated in several study abroad programs through the CALS Study Abroad Office. Although Bridget had never traveled internationally before and her major isn’t in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, she was persuaded by her friends in the college to apply for a study abroad experience. Bridget first studied abroad to Costa Rica with the Department of Agronomy and enjoyed her experience so much that she added International Agriculture as a minor and applied for a second faculty-led travel course with a focus on agricultural business, production and trade to Argentina this past spring. Through both of her study abroad experiences, Bridget didn’t know anyone in the groups, but found it to be a great opportunity to make new friends and network with her peers and the program directors leading the course. Bridget also feels that she has become a stronger leader as a result of studying abroad and enjoyed being truly immersed in the culture. Studying abroad has also been a topic of conversation at career fairs and interviews as Bridget feels companies are looking for people with global experience and the ability to step out of their comfort zone. During her internship interviews, Bridget felt, “studying abroad helped me standout and showed a difference between myself and the other candidates.” Bridget is the marketing and communications intern this summer for the National Swine Registry in Indiana, but will return this fall and hopes to participate in another faculty-led travel course through the CALS Study Abroad Office. During her time at Iowa State, Bridget is also an active member in Bacon Expo and serves at the President of the Swine Interest Group within the Block and Bridle Club.


Mikayla Dolch

Major: Agriculture and Life Sciences Education & International Agriculture • Study Abroad Experience: Edinburgh and London & Australia

Mikayla Dolch, a senior in Agriculture and Life Sciences Education and International Agriculture from Villisca, Iowa, took the opportunity to go #CALSGlobal this spring break on a travel course to Edinburgh and London to learn more about the economic and political impacts of Brexit. She has always wanted to visit Europe for its historical landmarks, especially the United Kingdom. Mikayla has also previously participated on an agricultural business, production and trade travel course to Australia. With two study abroad experiences under her belt, Mikayla has come to realize how big the world really is and encourages fellow CALS students to study abroad by saying, “there is so much out there to see with only one life to live, so take advantage of the opportunities in front of you.” Studying abroad has helped broaden her horizons and also helped her look at situations from all angles, with an open mind. As a result of her increased global awareness, added International Agriculture as her second major and hopes to pursue a potential career in international affairs after graduation. She noted that her experiences abroad have a place on her resume and have always been a talking point during interviews and at career fairs. Alongside her international involvements, Mikayla has also been active in numerous clubs, including Cardinal Key Honor Society, Agricultural Education Club, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and many others.  Mikayla will be completing her student teaching requirements this fall before graduating from Iowa State University in December.


Austin Pueschel

Major: Agricultural Business • Study Abroad Experiences: United Kingdom & Panama

Austin Pueschel, a senior at Iowa State University majoring in Agricultural Business with a minor in Animal Science, International Agriculture and Public Relations from Sturgis, Michigan looks forward to his new career with the National Swine Registry after graduation. During the interview and hiring process for his new position, Austin accredits his study abroad experience to help him stand out amongst other applicants. As a transfer student, Austin has participated in two travel course programs, the “UK Heritage Livestock” in Scotland and England and also the “Tropical Agricultural Production, International Business, and Trade" in Panama. Austin’s agricultural background in showing swine nationally, along with his interest in agricultural business, prompted him to apply for the two programs with emphasis on livestock and business. When applying for the Panama program, Austin was initially wait-listed, but was later accepted to the program and encourages all students to, “have a back-up if they are not initially accepted for a program of interest.” Austin values his new perspective on life from studying abroad as well as the “personal and professional networks he gained along the way.” Austin is also an active member in the Agricultural Business Club, Block and Bridle Club and Bacon Expo.


Cody Smith

Major: Agriculture and Life Sciences Education & Political Science • Study Abroad Experience: Panama

Cody Smith, past Vice President of the Student Body and a senior from Crawfordsville, Indiana majoring in Agriculture and Life Sciences Education and Political Science went #CALSGlobal while studying abroad on a travel course in Panama focused on the management of agricultural systems for the purposes of natural resource conservation. Cody’s goal while studying abroad was to broaden his horizons and continue to advance his foreign language skills. He did just that. During his time in Panama, Cody and his peers were able to immerse themselves into the culture of the Ngobe people, an indigenous tribe, as the two groups came together to build a shade shelter. The experience of working side-by-side with the Ngobe people and seeing the demonstration of cooperation made Cody realize, “that if other Americans could see this, maybe they wouldn’t be so judgmental and quick to divide people based on appearance or the language they choose to speak.” While in their village, Cody gained the confidence to communicate with the tribe members in Spanish and was able to compare and contrast conservation methods between U.S. farmers and Panamanians. The experience in Panama helped further shape his career goals and put everything he has learned at ISU into perspective. Although financing was a big factor, Cody felt “the experience gained outweighed the cost of the trip” and the offset of scholarships and additional funding secured his decision to study abroad.


Anne Dinges

Major: Agronomy & Global Resource Systems (GRS) • Study Abroad Experience: Costa Rica & Greece

Anne Dinges, a junior in Agronomy and Global Resource Systems (GRS) from Byron, Illinois recently returned from a semester abroad at the American Farm School- Perrotis College in Thessaloniki, Greece. Anne is an active member in the Iowa State University International Agricultural Club and feels her involvement helped better prepare her for her adventures abroad. Aside from a semester abroad in Greece, Anne also participated in the Integrated Management of Tropical Crops, a faculty-led travel course to Costa Rica. Anne enjoyed the structure of a faculty-led travel course, but wanted to expand her horizons and step more out of her comfort zone, so she decided to complete a semester abroad through the CALS Study Abroad office. During her time in Greece, she felt more of a sense of responsibility and independence in decision making, all the while learning to be more flexible as situations arose. Anne enjoyed the friends she made during her time abroad and was surprised that even though there were cultural differences and language barriers, there were still many similarities in interests and conversational topics. Anne’s advice for students considering to study abroad would be, “start small and build up to larger adventures as you gain more confidence.” Anne will continue traveling abroad this summer as she will be visiting Uruguay for her GRS internship. Be sure to check out Anne’s blog from her semester abroad in Greece, https://annedventureblog.wordpress.com.


Marcus Jansen

Major: Horticulture • Study Abroad Experience: Ireland & Ecuador

Marcus Jansen, a senior in Horticulture from Quincy, Illinois has been very active during his time at Iowa State University. Aside from being involved in many clubs and organizations including CALS Council, CALS Ambassadors, and Horticulture Club, Marcus also took the opportunity to study abroad. He participated in the “Horticulture and Culture of Ireland” in 2016 and the “Ecology, Culture and Horticulture of the Ecuadorian Andes” to Ecuador last fall. During his study abroad opportunities, Marcus most enjoyed being immersed in the different cultures, visiting popular landmarks and experiencing how different production systems operate around the world. He also values the new outlook he has gained for different parts of the world as he realized that, “you don’t get to break perceived notions until you are there and experience the differences first hand.” As a CALS Ambassador, Marcus encourages all students to consider studying abroad as there are an array of opportunities depending on comfort levels, interests, and time preference.


Rachael Barnes

Major: Biological Systems Engineering & Global Resource Systems • Study Abroad Experience: Uganda

Rachael Barnes, senior in Biological Systems Engineering and Global Resource Systems (GRS) from Bettendorf, Iowa was recently honored as one of twelve "Women Impacting ISU" by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. During the summer of 2016, Rachael participated in the Uganda Service Learning Program and returned to Uganda in 2017 for her GRS internship. Rachael had not considered the service-learning program until she was encouraged by a friend. In result to going, she gained an interest in international studies and even added GRS as a second major. Rachael quotes, “Participating in the service-learning program was a hands-on learning experience that helped me realize how I can make a global impact.” She feels that being abroad has allowed her to have a more holistic approach, while being more mindful of different cultures, and looks forward to using these skills in the workforce. “Through study abroad you are able to apply real world experiences to what you learn in the classroom,” reflects Rachael.