Student Impact Grant Recipients


Student Impact Grants help Hawkeyes experience, learn, and discover important lessons outside the classroom. Past recipients show you cannot always anticipate when a unique idea is going to arise—or when it will inspire action or creation. Support from the Iowa Impact Fund helps in the pursuit of new and exciting ventures. Read the stories of two Student Impact Grant recipients.

For a More Accepting Community

An image from Nachte Raho, a celebration partially funded by an Iowa Student Impact Grant.

Ridhi Jani

In an effort to celebrate and share Indian culture with the University of Iowa community, the Indian Student Alliance (ISA) hosts a series of charitable, cultural, educational, and social events each year. "Spreading diversity and cultural awareness is extremely important to us," says Ridhi Jani, president of the Indian Student Alliance.

The group’s yearly showcase event, Nachte Raho, is one of the largest Bollywood fusion dance competitions in the Midwest. Eight of the best university dance teams from around the nation come to Iowa and perform. The Student Impact Grant helped pay for a top-notch venue, Hancher Auditorium, and secure judges for the competition.

For a Better Quality of Life

An image of Sandra Castillo, a recipient of an Iowa Student Impact Grant.

Sandra Castillo

Tackling real-life problems and gaining hands-on experiences are important for future engineers, including Sandra Castillo. Through her work with the University of Iowa chapter of Continental Crossing—which helps communities in developing countries construct footbridges— Castillo spent five weeks in Nicaragua repairing two suspended bridges.

Thanks to the Student Impact Grant, Castillo was able to pay for lodging, meals, medical and health expenses, and equipment for the trip. "Your support made my experience accessible and affordable," says Castillo. "Your generosity is helping change the world and making a difference in the lives of so many students."

Learn how to apply for the Student Impact Grants.

If you are interested in helping provide students with more opportunities like these, please support the Iowa Impact Fund.

Iowa Magazine
Explore the latest stories from Iowa Magazine.
Related Content

Students help raise awareness of issues faced by displaced Afghans and other newcomers to the U.S.

Alzheimer?s disease is one of the fastest growing threats to Americans? health, but University of Iowa researchers like Guanghao ?Max? Liu?a neuroscience graduate student within the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD)?are determined to discover the mechanism that causes this debilitating neurodegenerative disease. In collaboration with Gloria Lee, MD, a professor of internal medicine at the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Liu is studying the function of tau, a protein, in the healthy brain and how it interacts with other proteins. ?In patients with Alzheimer?s disease, tau forms neurofibrillary tangles, which cause neuronal death and memory loss,? says Liu. ?My goal is to find a therapeutic intervention involving tau, and ultimately, slow down and prevent Alzheimer?s disease progression.? Tau and beta-amyloid peptides?which form plaques and tangles that are considered informative predictors of Alzheimer?s disease?change how the brain works many years before the first sign of memory loss. For the more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer?s disease, recent research on tau provides hope that breakthroughs may be on the horizon. Assisting Liu in his discoveries is the recently established Kwak-Ferguson Fellowship. Liu is the first recipient of the award, which is helping him advance his research, travel to conferences, and meet with other scientists in the field. Photo: Mark Stastny Pictured from left are Ted Abel, director of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute; Guanghao ?Max? Liu, a neuroscience graduate student; Donald Timm, who created the Kwak-Ferguson Fellowship; and Gloria Lee, professor of internal medicine. ?We are facing an enormous increase in the number of people afflicted by conditions like Alzheimer?s disease,? says Dan Tranel, the head of the UI neuroscience graduate program. ?Investments in research, like the Kwak-Ferguson Fellowship, continue to transform the understanding, prevention, detection, and treatment of Alzheimer?s disease and other neurological disorders.? The Kwak-Ferguson Fellowship was established by Donald Timm (73JD), a Muscatine, Iowa, native who spent more than 30 years working for the U.S. Department of Defense as an expert on international law. He created the fellowship in honor of two individuals?his friend and mentor, Mr. Myung-Duk Kwak, a Korean attorney and statesman, and his aunt, Louis A.M. (Amelia Marie) Brown Ferguson, an educator and missionary?both of whom died due to complications from Parkinson?s disease. Timm also says he was motivated, in large part, by the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust?s gift to establish the Iowa Neuroscience Institute at the University of Iowa, which is developing new treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer?s disease and Parkinson?s disease. ?Parkinson?s disease is truly a horrible disease, since the individuals suffering retain their intellectual capability but find it increasingly difficult to communicate their insights and feelings,? says Timm. ?This seemed to be a perfect opportunity to help fight Parkinson?s and other diseases such as Alzheimer?s.? For Liu, the fellowship is helping him become an even better physician-scientist and writer. ?Because of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute and the Kwak-Ferguson Fellowship, I am ready to tackle any challenge in the future,? says Liu. To learn more about how you can support neuroscience research at the University of Iowa, please check out their website.

The ways for facultry and staff can give back

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Statement unless you have disabled them in your browser.