Honors Program Advisory Board

Role of the Board

The University of Iowa Honors Program Advisory Board provides advice and support to Honors at Iowa staff, faculty, and administrators. Members serve as representatives of and advocates for the program, our mission, and our initiatives at local and national events. Members build connections among our students, alumni, and the community at large to strengthen the external support of the program, and work together to enhance the undergraduate experience for honors students at Iowa.

The UIHP Advisory Board gathers twice annually, over the phone in April and on campus in October, to discuss important topics that impact the Honors Program at Iowa. Additionally, select members serve on sub-committees focused on specific program initiatives. 

Members of the Board


Susan Assouline

Professor of School Psychology and Director, UI Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development

Susan G. Assouline is the director of the Belin-Blank Center, holds the Myron and Jacqueline N. Blank Endowed Chair in Gifted Education, and is a professor of school psychology.  Throughout her career, she has been especially interested in the psychological principle of individual differences, which serves as a platform for the Belin-Blank Center’s research (with Megan Foley-Nicpon and Alissa Doobay) in the area of twice-exceptionality.  She also completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship with the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at Johns Hopkins University, which was the impetus for investigations and programming related to academic talent in elementary students and academic acceleration as an intervention for advanced students.  With Nicholas Colangelo and Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, she co-developed the Iowa Acceleration Scale, a tool designed to guide educators and parents through decisions about grade-skipping students.  In 2015, she co-edited with Nicholas Colangelo, Joyce Van Tassel-Baska, and Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik,  A Nation Empowered:  Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students.  She received the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) 2016 Distinguished Scholar Award, the 2018 University of Iowa Award for Faculty Excellence, and the 2019 University of Iowa Leadership in Research Award.


  • B.S. in General Science, The University of Iowa 1975 
  • E.D.S. in School Psychology, The University of Iowa 1984 
  • Ph.D. in Education, The University of Iowa 1988 

Nick Colangelo

Dean Emeritus, College of Education 

Nicholas Colangelo served as the founding Director of the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education.  Nick's  areas of research were focused on the social-emotional development of gifted students and acceleration as the most effective curriculum intervention on behalf of gifted students. Nick also served as Dean of the College of Education.  Recently, he has written about the commonalities of gifted education and honors education.  Nick currently serves on several advisory boards and proudly serve on the UI Honors Advisory Board.






Susan Hagan

Executive Director, Planned Giving, the University of Iowa Center for Advancement  

As Executive Director, Planned Giving, at the University of Iowa Center for Advancement, Susan assists donors wishing to include any department, college, or program at the University of Iowa in their long-range plans. With her background in estate and tax planning, Susan is able to help alumni and friends of the UI determine the best method, asset, and timing of their gift in order to maximize their support of the university, often working with their professional advisors to develop a personalized gift plan.  Susan also serves as the UI Center for Advancement liaison to the Honors Program, and is a member of the Honors Program Advisory Board.


  • University of Iowa B.A. in History (Honors) and Russian 1990 
  • University of Iowa College Law, J.D. 1994 


Ali Husain

Frederick Gastroenterology Associates


  • University of Iowa, B.S. in Microbology (Honors) 1994 
  • Oxford University, B.A. in Physiology Sciences, 1996 and M.A. in Physiological Sciences 2012 
  • Washington University School of Medicine, M.D. 2000 

Emily Hill

Honors Program Assistant Director

As the Assistant Director of the Honors Program, Dr. Hill works on enhancing and supporting educational experiences for honors students through curriculum, experiential learning, academic advisement, and community development. Her research addresses twice -exceptional college students (gifted college students living with mental health issues) and how universities can better support these individuals through staff, faculty, advisement, and programming. 


  • University of North Dakota, B.A. English and Honors 2008 
  • University of North Dakota, M.A. English 2011 
  • University of North Dakota, PhD in Educational Foundations and Research 

Judy Lewis

Emeritus Professor, Public Health Sociologist, University of Connecticut School of Medicine 


  • University of Iowa, B.S. with Honors and High Distinction in Sociology and Psychology, 1968 
  • Yale University, MPhil in Sociology 1973 

Tanya Uden-Holman

Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the University College, University of Iowa 

Dr. Tanya Uden-Holman was appointed Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education (APUE) and Dean of the University College in June 2018.  Prior to her appointment, Dr. Uden-Holman served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Public Health (CPH) for 14 years.  She is a clinical professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy in the CPH.  Dr. Uden-Holman’s portfolio includes the Academic Advising Center, Pomerantz Career Center, Office of the Registrar, Office of Assessment, Academic Support and Retention, First-Year Programs, the BAS/BLS degree programs, Honors Program, Distance and Online Education, and Army and Air Force ROTC.  In all of her activities, Dr. Uden-Holman is committed to creating an environment where every student can be successful. 


  • University of Iowa, B.A. (1987), M.A. (1989), and Ph.D. in Sociology 1992 



Pat Rolston

Managing Partner, Federal Group 

Pat Rolston is the co-founder and active Managing Partner of Federal Group, LLC one of multiple start up businesses he has been associated with since graduating from the University of Iowa with a BBA in 1978. These entrepreneurial start ups have given Pat the opportunity to have traveled around the globe and work with research scientists, engineers, and executives who all have been instrumental in his ongoing education. These people continue to be an integral part of Pat's life and now many are fully in support of helping those students who are looking for mentoring as University of Iowa Honors students. As a member of the University of Iowa Honors Board and having served on other boards Pat is always looking to help connect people who can benefit from these associations and his cumulative experiences as an entrepreneur. 


University of Iowa, B.B.A. 1978 

Kate Bushman Smith

Practicing Attorney, Washington DC 


  • University of Iowa, B.S. in Political Science and Economics 2001 
  • University of California Los Angeles, J.D. 2004 

Art Spisak

Resized AS
Honors Program Director


  • Loyola University, Chicago: Ph.D. in Classics





Richard Tyner

Senior Counsel, Norton Rose Fulbright 

After graduating from the U. of Iowa, Mr. Tyner as a Marshall Scholar completed an MA in Government at the University of Manchester in England and a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics. He then completed a JD at Yale Law School, following which he had a career as an international lawyer, practicing in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Paris and London. Mr. Tyner retuned to the US, reconnected with the U. of Iowa in 2014 after a long absence, and is now delighted to serve on the Advisory Board to the Honors Program and the Advisory Board to the Political Science Department. He is also actively establishing scholarships in the Honor Program, the French Department, the Political  Science Department and also in International Programs.”


  • University of Iowa, B.A. in Political Science and French (Honors) 1970 
  • University of Manchester, England, M.A. in Government 1971 
  • London School of Economics, Ph.D. International Relations 1975 
  • Yale Law School, J.D. 1979 

Brett Williams

Senior Staff Research Engineer, Lockheed Martin (retired)


  • University of Iowa, B.S. in Physics (Radar and Optical Sensor Technology) 1983 

Lana Zak

ABC News, White House Press Corps 


  • University of Iowa, B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication and Political Science 2000 
  • Harvard University, M.A. in Public Policy, International Security and Political Economy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government 

David Hamod

President and CEO, National U.S.- Arab Chamber of Commerce 


  • University of Iowa, B.A. in Political Science with Honors 1981 
  • Johns Hopkins, M.A. in Advanced International Studies