Faculty & Staff

Programs, events and resources for UNI Faculty and Staff.

Turning passion into career direction

Jordan Caruso has always had an eye for clothing. “In high school, I loved to use clothes to express myself,” she says.
 
In textile and apparel, she not only found passion but also saw a career direction. So, she applied to The Art Institute in New York City and got enrolled.
 
However, Jordan didn’t like the program.
 
“The program was set up with long class hours and a very rigid course structure that didn’t allow for you to choose what you wanted to take,” she says.
 

Big data as a path to solutions in multiple sciences

Today, Dr. Ali Tabei is a Professor of Physics at the University of Northern Iowa. In childhood Tabei developed an interest in biology.
 
However, with the strong support of his physician father, Dr. Tabei decided to study physics in college. "My father himself had some kind of deep interest in physics and math somehow. So when I decided to become a physicist he was a very strong supporter."
 

A summer of excitement, enlightenment

Juliana Herran and Ibro Tutic, who are majoring in Chemistry and Physics at the University of Northern Iowa respectively, came to know about the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) from different sources.
 
Ibro got an email from his department that said Dr. Pavel Lukashev was looking for students interested to participate in the program. He met with the Physics professor and expressed his interest, and he was on board.
 
Juliana, on the other hand, came to know about the program at a conference.

A firm believer in teamwork

Shannon Sturgeon’s decision to major in electrical engineering technology was “a natural continuation” from an associate’s degree in electrical technology and employment as an apprentice electrician at Interstates Construction.
 
However, the inspiration to take this road came a lot earlier — way back in the high school days.
 
“In high school, I worked for my dad doing residential construction,” Shannon says. “He didn’t do electrical work but I enjoyed that hands-on work enough to pursue it further.”
 

Immersed in electrical engineering

Dr. Sadik Kucuksari, an Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering Technology at the University of Northern Iowa, developed an interest in electrical engineering when he was a high school student.
 
“I found solving science and math problems more enjoyable,” he recalls. “I liked opening broken parts of radio, etc., and always wanted to fix them.”
 
In summer, he would help one of his father’s friends at his electrical shop, which helped him get familiar with circuits and schematics, and stoked his interest in electrical engineering even more.
 

Broadening the horizon

He decided to study physics in college during his junior or senior year in high school in Armenia where he is originally from. It wasn’t any particular individual or incident or experience that had influenced the decision; it was physics itself.
 
“Since I started learning physics in high school, I have always enjoyed the subject,” says Dr. Pavel Lukashev, an assistant professor in physics at the University of Northern Iowa.
 

Defined and driven by research

In high school, one of her teachers suggested that she go into scientific illustration. “I guess I was a good artist then,” says Dr. Julie Kang, a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Northern Iowa.
With a career in scientific illustration in mind, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio and fine arts, with art history as a minor, from McMaster University in Canada.
She then enrolled in the University of Toronto for a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, with a zoology minor.

Double delight in double major

Jessica Thatcher was not sure what she should do after she had completed high school. “I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated high school,” she recalls.
 
Her best friend went to the University of Northern Iowa; so, she decided to follow suit. It turned out to be a good decision.
 
“I’ve loved studying at UNI so far,” says Jessica. “I’ve learned so much, both in my classes and through the different research projects that I’ve completed.”
 

In search of beautiful ideas

Eric Scheidecker had glimpses of “what being a graduate student in the math department was like” during his regular visits to the math tutoring lab in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Northern Iowa. And he liked what he saw.
 
“I had heard good things about UNI’s math department while I was at Hawkeye Community College, and I knew UNI worked well with transfer students,” he recalls.
 
However, seeing graduate students at work in the math tutoring lab made his decision to enroll in the graduate program “a lot easier,” he adds.
 

On course, with an open mind

When she was little, Courtney Massey loved to play with animals. She still does. Courtney likes to spend her free time with Mushu. Mushu is a rescue dog.
 
Love for animals inspired Courtney to go for biology and biochemistry when it came to declare her majors; she wanted to “learn more about animals and how they work.”
 
Courtney also wanted to study at a university where she would be “in classes of 20 people rather than classes of 200” so that she could get much more out of her classes, especially related to her majors.
 

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US Education Laws and Regulations - Resources and Information

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) takes effect in the 2017-2018 Academic year.  This law makes changes to the national, state, and local roles of accountability, funding, and programs in K-12 education and thus also has implementations for teacher prep and coninuing education.  The resources listed below provide background on ESSA and recommendations from national science, mathematics, technology, engineering and education organizations about ESSA implementation.

Comparing ESSA to NCLB

ESSA & STEM Overview

Resources and Recommendations from National Organizations with Regard to STEM Education

Iowa's ESSA Plan

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The University of Northern Iowa is a Core Institution of the Iowa Space Grant Consortium.  ISGC supports NASA's mission by stimulating research, education, and outreach throughout Iowa.  UNI students, faculty and staff - learn about ISGC funding opportunities.