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.

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University of Iowa College of Nursing alumni say their time in Iowa City prepared them for rewarding careers in nursing. From careers in clinical care to health care administration, as well as higher education, Iowa nursing graduates are making a difference in medicine. During National Nurses Week, which is May 6?12, 2021, several alumni and a few current Iowa faculty share why they chose Iowa and how their education helped influence their careers. ? WHY THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA COLLEGE OF NURSING? As an Iowa native, Samantha Jirak (13BSN, 18DNP) said the University of Iowa College of Nursing was always her number one choice because of its ranking and job placement rates. Samantha Jirak "I received my admission letter on my 18th birthday and never looked back," says Jirak. "I knew my goal was to become a nurse practitioner, so as my graduation date drew near, I again knew there was nowhere I would rather be." Amalia Gedney-Lose (13BSN, 17DNP) is an assistant professor at the UI College of Nursing and says the college has always felt like home. "I came to Iowa because I knew I could receive a world-class education, surrounded by supportive faculty and peers, and in an environment that fostered growth and learning," Gedney-Lose said. Dong-Soo Shin (03PhD), a gerontological nursing professor at South Korea's Hallym University School of Nursing, says Iowa was an easy choice. "The excellent professors, safe environment, and reasonable tuition are why I chose Iowa," Shin said. HOW DID YOUR EXPERIENCE AT IOWA SHAPE YOUR CAREER? Margo Halm (85BSN, 87MA) is the associate chief nurse executive for nursing research and evidence-based practice at the VA Portland Health Care System. She says her education at Iowa was the gateway to a rewarding nursing career.? Stephanie Brigger "The College of Nursing taught me how to be a competent, compassionate nurse. Valuing mentorship and collaboration sparked an intrigue to understand the world of research and how science informs our practice," Halm said. "It also turned me into a writer―a passion fueled by a desire to spread how nurses impact the health and lives of people everywhere." Stephanie Brigger (81BSN) is the vice president for development at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas. She says her education at Iowa made her feel highly regarded among her peers and employers. "The college is highly ranked and is a national leader in evidence-based care and nursing research," says Brigger.? "My education provided an exceptional, comprehensive foundation to provide professional nursing practice and more." Cormac O'Sullivan is an associate professor and director of the anesthesia nursing program at the UI College of Nursing. He says Iowa helped him grow and expand his goals. Staja "Star" Booker "I had no idea how great an education I was getting while I was getting it," O'Sullivan said. "I was a travel nurse for three years of my career and everywhere I went they would say something like, '"Oh you're from Iowa? Great. We know you're good.'" Staja "Star" Booker (17PhD) is an assistant professor in the University of Florida College of Nursing. She says she knew the education she received at Iowa would position her to develop into a leader in her specialty. "My experience at Iowa helped shape my approach to research and gave me a solid foundation to be a strong scientist and academician," she says.? WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT IOWA'S COLLEGE OF NURSING? Jesse Weiss (20BSN), a PhD candidate at the UI College of Nursing, says the hands-on practice students receive outside of the classroom are unmatched.? 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He says a nursing education at Iowa is a genuinely life-changing gift?one he chose to pursue not once, but twice. "To choose the University of Iowa College of Nursing for the first time was a choice made of hopes and dreams. Choosing to come to the College of Nursing the second time was-well, "'Once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye,'" Wicks said. Celebrate National Nurses Week by supporting future nurses. Donations to the University of Iowa College of Nursing Student Financial Aid Fund provides scholarships for nursing students. Give today!

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