Learn more about the various groups of people that are vital to the success of the Honors Program. This page serves as a comprehensive list of all those you may need to contact during your time in the Program.

Honors People

The Honors Program 4th floor offices will be open by appointment with staff only & must be scheduled in advance.

For general inquiries contact us at 319-335-1681 | honors-program@uiowa.edu or schedule an appointment with a team member below. 


Resized AS

Art L. Spisak


Email: art-spisak@uiowa.edu | Phone: (319) 335-1685 

Office Hours (447 BHC): via Zoom by appointment.

Dr. Spisak graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a PhD in Classical Studies. He is a professor in the UI Classics Department and the full time director of the Honors Program. He began teaching in honors in 1998, and has been an honors education administrator and researcher since 2006. As director, he represents the program both on and off campus with the goal of bringing it the resources it needs to support high achieving students. In recent years he has been heavily involved with the leadership of the National Collegiate Honors Council, the national organization for honors education. Over the years he has presented and published extensively in the field of honors education.

His outside interests are reading, woodworking, and handball.


Emily Hill

Assistant Director

Email: emily-d-hill@uiowa.edu | Phone: (319) 335-1684

Office Hours (443 BHC): Mondays from 3-5 PM via Zoom or by appointment.

As the Assistant Director, 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. 

Dr. Hill’s door is always open for students to visit with her about academics, experiential learning, and life in general. In her free time, she likes to walk her Maltese Poodle, Mr. Gatsby, practice yoga, read fiction, collect vinyl and play it too loud, and travel.


  • University of North Dakota, PhD in Educational Foundations and Research, 2019
  • University of North Dakota, Master of Arts in English, 2011
  • University of North Dakota, Bachelor of Arts in English and Honors, 2008 


Heidi Schmitt

Program Coordinator 

Email: heidi-schmitt@uiowa.edu | Phone: (319) 467-0911

Office Hours (431 BHC): Contact via email to schedule. 

As the Program Coordinator, Heidi is responsible for supervising Honors Program student staff team members, outreach and marketing efforts, event planning, and ensuring the Honors Program runs smoothly and effectively. Heidi transferred from the Executive MBA Department where she gained insight on program management and assisting students.

When Heidi isn’t assisting members of the UI community, she operates Pristine Pet Care LLC and can be found volunteering with local animal shelters, cuddling her dog Diesel, or rocking out at a concert.


Camille Socarras

Scholarship Coordinator

Email: camille-socarras@uiowa.edu | Phone: (319) 335-1682

Office Hours (435 BHC): Students may schedule via MyUI.

Camille serves as the Honors Scholarship Coordinator, helping students find the right opportunities and managing assigned scholarships for the Honors Program. She has previously been on the University of Iowa campus as an undergraduate, graduate student, and TA, having completed a Master’s degree in French and Francophone World Studies and Literature. After graduating, she taught in the French department as visiting faculty while also working in various other capacities around campus.

While her academic interests are quite varied, Camille feels strongly about working toward social advancement in educational settings, not only institutionally, but in the classroom, as well, holding the ultimate goal of making education challenging, engaged, and accessible for everyone.

She also loves cookies.


Andrew Willard

Experiential Learning Director

Email: andrew-willard@uiowa.edu | Phone: (319) 335-8333

Office Hours (413 BHC): Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm or by appointment.

Honors Experiential Learning Director Andy Willard helps honors students clarify and implement their plans for internships, service learning, study away—both domestic and international—and life beyond the University.  When Andy teaches, his courses focus on international law, human rights, and policy sciences more generally; and he is committed to fostering the skills and confidence students need to use their knowledge and insight to address the problems—from the personal to the planetary—that concern them.


Holly Blosser-Yoder

Advising Director

Email: holly-yoder@uiowa.edu | Phone: (319) 335-1932

Office Hours (417 BHC): Monday-Friday 8:30–9:45 AM via Zoom or by appointment.

Holly graduated from Iowa with a masters in Student Development in Higher Education from Iowa. As Honors Advising Director, she supervises the Honors Peer Advisors and Honors Orientation Ambassadors. Holly also serves as the go-to person for any questions about curricula: choosing honors classes; making a regular class into an honors class by contract; and exploring opportunities such as research, study abroad and the range of other academic possibilities that interest honors students. A writer with an interest in history and culture, Holly is the author of The Same Spirit: History of Iowa-Nebraska Mennonites. Before joining Honors, she lived and worked abroad in Zambia, Lesotho, and Ethiopia. Currently she lives on a farm in rural Wellman.


Addison Woll 

Assessment Manager & Admissions Coordinator

Email: addison-woll@uiowa.edu | Phone: (319) 467-4685

Office Hours (409 BHC): Monday, Tuesday & Thursday from 1:30-2:30 PM via Zoom or by appointment. 

Addison oversees student program progress requirements, tracks program methods to improve student success outcomes, and strives to support communities of care.  His work includes supporting student success outcomes and retention in higher education, specifically in traditionally underserved populations. He seeks to understand how universities can best serve students and the state as an academic interest.  He is published for work in traumatic brain injury performed at the IC-VA and hypertension therapeutic pathways performed at the Carver College of Medicine.

When he is not diving into data, Addison keeps busy with backyard beekeeping, working in a local elementary school garden, and volunteering at the IC Free Medical Clinic. His door is always open to students to discuss their concerns, debate if chaos theory or string theory better define the meaning of life, and the importance of the IRB.


  • University of Iowa, MA in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies, 2020
  • University of Iowa, MS in Molecular Medicine, 2017
  • Southeast Missouri State University, BS in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Honors, 2014


Kelly Thornburg

Director of Scholar Development

Email: kelly-thornburg@uiowa.edu | Phone: (319) 335-1874

Office Hours (405 BHC): Current students my schedule virtual Scholar Development conferences via MyUI. Alumni who are interested in pursuing a national fellowship should reach out by email to set-up a meeting time.

As Honors' Director of Scholar Development, Kelly works to offer both challenge and support to undergraduates and recent alumni pursuing scholarship, fellowship, or grant opportunities here at Iowa and in national competitions. Her record of service is rooted in the engagement of underrepresented populations in key social and political processes through education and advocacy and includes connections to the National Rural Development Partnership, Teach For America, Planned Parenthood, the Veteran's Administration, and Iowa NEW Leadership.

When she’s not reading personal statements or helping students identify their super powers, she is drawn to the concrete satisfaction that (sometimes) comes with small-time organic garlic farming and renovating the old farm house she shares with her partner and their four-legged kids.

Education & Training:

  • Cornell College, Bachelor of Special Studies with honors in Politics and Women's Studies, 1999
  • University of Iowa, Master of Social Work with honors in Individual Practice, 2008

Website: University of Iowa Undergraduate Fellowships

Honors Student Admins

Mason Koelm


Mason Koelm is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in International Relations and Criminology, Law, and Justice, with certificates in Museum Studies and International Business and a minor in Anthropology. He has been involved in the honors program since 2018 as an ambassador and has been an admin since August. He is currently the Honors Student Representative of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. In his free time, Mason enjoys playing music, reading, and watching movies.







Amanda Barrett


Major: Psychology and Spanish

Involvement: Vice President of Phi Eta Sigma Honors Fraternity, Undergraduate Research Assistant (Developmental Psychopathology Lab), Director of Serve Iowa for Student United Way, Family Representative for Dance Marathon, Honors Administrative Assistant, study abroad in Spain, UIHC Employee

My focus this year is deciding my career path and future plans... it's okay to be uncertain!

Ask me about study abroad/travel, research, honors involvement, and student volunteering opportunities!








Josh Parbs


I'm majoring in Biochemistry, with minors in Chemistry and Global Health Studies, and a certificate in Intercultural Leadership on the Pre-Medicine Track

I'm a Senior at the University, and have been involved in the Honors Program since my first day on campus. I formally started working for the Program at the beginning of my Sophomore year, and now serve as a peer mentor and an admin. If I'm not busy at the BHC or studying, I like to dance, try new foods, or hang out with my friends. I'm involved in many organizations revolving around student affairs, Dance Marathon, UI Bio, undergraduate research, UIHC volunteering, and swing dancing to name a few. I've loved the first half of my college career, and I can't wait to see what the next two years have in store for me!



Mishma Nixon


Mishma is a junior from Colombo, Sri Lanka. She is majoring in English and Creative Writing with minors in Cinema and Social Justice. She has just started out as a student admin, and has discovered her new passion for writing emails. She is the cultural director of the Campus Activities Board, the Vice President of Operations in the South Asian Student Alliance and the Communications Director of the International Student Advisory Board. She loves connecting with other honors student and enjoys meeting new people, so don't hesitate to say hi! (All you have to ask about is her current read or the last movie she watched, and you are guaranteed to have a long conversation).






Anna Magaña

  • Major: English and Creative Writing 

  • Minors: Latina/o/x Studies and Translation for Global Literacy 

  • This is my fourth year at the University of Iowa, and my second year as an Honors Student Administrator. I got involved with Honors in my freshman year when I started writing for the newsletter. I worked on it for three semesters and had the opportunity to research the program for its 60th anniversary, interview influential figures over time, and highlight current students. In addition to my work with Honors, I have a position at the university’s Main Library, I’m involved with the Association of Latinos Moving Ahead, and I've worked on a local satire magazine. I love Iowa City’s small-town atmosphere, so in my free time, you can usually find me strolling downtown without an agenda.

Lydia Guo

Lydia Guo Rsz
  • Major: Biomedical Sciences 

  • Minors: Chemistry 

  • Lydia Guo is a second-year student studying Biomedical Sciences and minoring in Chemistry. Within the Honors Program, Lydia serves as a student admin and an Honors Publications design editor. She is an undergraduate research assistant at the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, focusing on cystic fibrosis research. Additionally, Lydia volunteers at the UIHC Medical ICU and is the vice president of UNICEF Iowa. When she isn’t working with cells at her lab, Lydia enjoys watercolor and oil painting at her local art studio.



Honors Peer Mentors

Individualize your honors education! Peer mentors can help. You can email your advising questions directly to the peer mentor of your choice at any time or, if available, schedule a Zoom appointment. Either an email exchange or online appointment via Zoom will fulfill the honors peer mentoring requirement. Already have a plan for your complete 24 University Honors credits (coursework 12 + experiential 12)? Email your details to a peer mentor for review!

Honors students are required to secure peer mentoring once per academic year until they complete the 12 s.h. coursework requirement. Honors professional staff are also available for advising and can be scheduled via MyUI or reached for advising by email at any time.

Laura Widman



  • Major: Linguistics with a Focus in Teaching English as a Second Language, Ethics and Public Policy, Certificate in International Business, minor in French
  • Involvement: Roosevelt@Iowa, Honors Outreach, Teaching Assistantships, Iowa City Tenants Union
  • Ask me about internships, teaching assistantships, language studies and public policy!
  • Schedule an appointment with Laura here or email laura-widman@uiowa.edu
  • Drop-in hours: 2:00-3:00 PM Thursday via Zoom


Austin Adrian



  • Major(s): Accounting, Finance
  • Involvement: Delta Sigma Pi Professional Fraternity, Tippie Business Honor Society, Device Advice
  • Excited to graduate this year and make the most out of socially distanced education
  • Ask me about the honors program as a business student, movies, or random sports statistics!
  • Schedule an appointment with Austin here or email austin-adrian@uiowa.edu
  • Drop-in hours: Wednesday 10:30-11:30 AM via Zoom


Charles Mascardo



  • Major: Biomedical Engineering (Cellular Engineering/Pre-Medicine), Mathematics Minor
  • Involvement: Research at UIHC/APPIL with Dr. Kaczka's lab, UI Mobile Clinic, Honors Outreach/Summer Ambassadors
  • Favorite fall classes were Creativity in Music and Biochemistry.
  • Ask me about engineering, undergraduate research, or the Honors program!'
  • Schedule an appointment with Charles here or email email charles-mascardo@uiowa.edu
  • Drop-in hours: Monday 11:00 AM-12:00 PM via Zoom



    Josh Parbs



    • Major(s): Biochemistry with minors in Chemistry and Global Health Studies; certificate in Intercultural Leadership (Pre-Medicine)
    • Involvement: Associated Residence Halls, National Residence Hall Honorary, UIBio, Dance Marathon, Camp Adventure Youth Services, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Volunteer, Mobile Clinic HIV Tester and Patient Advocate, and ICRU Research Fellowship
    • This year I've been taking upper-level science courses, applying to medical school, working with first-generation students, and getting back into dancing.
    • Ask me about undergraduate research, getting involved on campus, the oxford comma, and my rabbit.
    • Schedule an appointment with Josh here or email joshua-parbs@uiowa.edu
    • Drop-in hours: Wednesday 1:30-2:30 PM via Zoom

      Renee Mittelberg



      • Major: Industrial Engineering (Human Factors/Ergonomics), Psychology Minor
      • Involvement: Honors Outreach Ambassadors, Teaching Assistant, Undergraduate Research, Internships/Co-op, Phi Eta Sigma, Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE)
      • I am excited for one more semester exploring Iowa City before graduating in December!
      • Ask me about engineering at Iowa, internships and co-ops, Phi Eta Sigma, and anything related to the outdoors!
      • Schedule an appointment with Renee here or email renee-mittelberg@uiowa.edu
      • Drop-in hours: Monday 2:30-3:30 PM via Zoom


      Caroline Meek



      • Major: English & Creative Writing on the Publishing track
      • Involvement: Presidential Scholars Program, ICRU Fellow, Teaching Assistantship, earthwords, International Writing Program, Iowa Youth Writing Program, Work Study with the Writers’ Workshop, Study Abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland
      • Ask me about research in creative fields, publishing internships, and study abroad in Scotland!
      • Schedule an appointment with Caroline here or email caroline-meek@uiowa.edu
      • Drop-in hours: Wednesday 11:00 AM-12:00 PM via Zoom



      Amanda Barrett



      • Major: Psychology and Spanish
      • Involvement: Vice President of Phi Eta Sigma Honors Fraternity, Undergraduate Research Assistant (Developmental Psychopathology Lab), Director of Serve Iowa for Student United Way, Family Representative for Dance Marathon, Honors Administrative Assistant, study abroad in Spain, UIHC Employee
      • My focus this year is deciding my career path and future plans... it's okay to be uncertain!
      • Ask me about study abroad/travel, research, honors involvement, and student volunteering opportunities!
      • Schedule an appointment with Amanda here or email amanda-barrett@uiowa.edu
      • Drop-in hours: Wednesday 9:30-10:30 AM via Zoom





      Emma Carlson 



      • Major: Interdepartmental Studies on the Health Sciences track, minors in Business Administration and Human Physiology, Pre-Medicine Track 
      • Involvement: Undergraduate Research at UIHC, UIHC Student Leaderboard/hospital volunteering, student athlete tutor through GALC, FSL community and Chi Omega Women’s Fraternity, Medicus
      • I'm looking forward to continuing my research, working as a CNA, and (hopefully) watching some football (Go Hawks!).
      • Ask me about getting involved academically and socially on campus, undergraduate research, or the Honors Program
      • Schedule an appointment with Emma here or email emma-carlson@uiowa.edu
      • Drop-in hours: Wednesday 9:30-10:30 am via Zoom


      Erin Golden



      • Major: Neuroscience with minors in Chemistry, Philosophy, and Psychology on a Pre-Med track.
      • Involvements: Student Clerk in UIHC Pediatrics, peer leader for the Conversation Practicum, Research Assistant in Neurology (Boes Lab), Recreational Services and Financial Aid Advisory Charter Committees, Nu Rho Psi Neuroscience Honors Society
      • I’m looking forward to furthering my research and taking more neuroscience and philosophy courses!
      • Ask me about registering work for experiential learning credit and experiential learning courses like the Conversation Practicum!
      • Schedule an appointment with Erin here or email lindsay-golden@uiowa.edu
      • Drop-in hours: Monday 4:00-5:00 PM via Zoom


      Delaney McDowell



      • Major: Human Physiology, Chemistry Minor, Pre-Medicine Track
      • Involvement: Dance Marathon, UIHC Volunteering, Integrative Neurophysiology Lab Research Assistant, Best Buddies, Phi Eta Sigma, Honors Outreach Ambassadors Teaching Assistant, Study Abroad
      • I’m super excited for my Relaxation Techniques class and getting more hours in at my research lab this fall!
      • Ask me about getting involved on campus, the Honors Program, and TV show recommendations (How I Met Your Mother is the best, always)!
      • Schedule an appointment with Delaney here or email mcdowell@uiowa.edu
      • Drop-in hours: Monday 9:30-10:30 AM via Zoom


      Carly Heying 



      • Major: History and Spanish with minors in Political Science, English, and Dance; pre-law track
      • Involvement: Presidential Scholars Program; study abroad in Madrid, Spain; internship in the U.S. Senate; Undergraduate Research; Iowa Policy Research Organization; Treasurer of the University of Iowa Swing Dance Club; Teaching Assistant
      • Ask me about: Pre-law, studying abroad in Spain, and political science internships!
      • Schedule an appointment with Carly here or email carly-heying@uiowa.edu
      • Drop-in hours: Wednesday 12:00 AM - 1:00 PM via Zoom


      Allison Beckner



      My name is Allison Beckner. I am a sophomore from Cedar Falls, Iowa. I am studying Political Science and Ethics & Public Policy on the Pre-Law track with a History minor. I am also involved in many extracurriculars on campus, including serving as the Events Coordinator for Hawkeye Caucus. In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my friends and going to Iowa City's local coffee shop. I look forward to meeting with you!


      Mishma Nixon



      • Major(s): English and Creative Writing with minors in Cinema and Social Justice
      • Involvement: ICRU fellow, Honors Writing Fellow, Campus Activities Board, South Asian Student Alliance, International Student Advisory Board.
      • Currently doing my fall semester all the way from my childhood bedroom in Sri Lanka, which is kind of strange and exciting at the same time.
      • Ask me about being an international student in Honors, Honors in the Major (especially in English/Creative Writing), contracting a class for Honors, and my favourite books, movies and TV shows.
      • Schedule an appointment with Mishma here or email mishmastefni-nixon@uiowa.edu
      • Drop-in hours: Wednesday 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM via Zoom

      Delaney McDowell



      Delaney McDowell is a second-year student at the University of Iowa studying Human Physiology with a minor in Chemistry on the Pre-Medicine track. She has been working for the Honors Program since the Summer of 2019 as a Summer Ambassador and has been an Outreach Ambassador since. Honors has given her the ability to engage in studying abroad and undergraduate research. Delaney is involved in a plethora of other organizations on campus including Dance Marathon, Best Buddies, and UIHC Volunteering. In her free time, you can find her spending far too much money with online shopping or catching up on her favorite TV shows: Grey’s Anatomy and How I Met Your Mother.

      Contact Me: delaney-mcdowell@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Delaney

      AJ Pearl



      Hi! I’m AJ and this is my second year at the University of Iowa and my first year as an honors ambassador. I’m currently studying chemistry on the pre-medicine track. Here on campus I’m involved with a research lab where I get to work with nanoparticles and uranium, and I’d love to talk to you about it as well as explain how I got involved with research! I also volunteer at the hospital in the orthopedic clinics.

      Contact me at aidan-pearl@uiowa.edu if you have any questions about honors, the university, or anything else you’re curious about!

      Dear Prospective Student - From AJ

      Anna Luria



      Anna is a first-year student from Tiffin, Iowa. She is a Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies major on the Pre-Medicine track, interested in advocacy and social work. Anna has been a member of the Honors Program since her first semester and has been an Honors Outreach Ambassador since her second semester. She is the Vice President of Social Events on the student board of Iowa Hillel, the Jewish student center. Anna is also involved in sorority and fraternity life and holds a leadership position in her sorority. In addition to her involvement in student organizations, Anna is a student employee through University Housing and Dining. In her free time, Anna is a major book worm and enjoys listening to podcasts and hanging out with her friends. If you see her on campus please say hello, she loves meeting new people!

      You can contact her at annaluria-luria@uiowa.edu.

      Elizabeth Johnson



      I am a Junior at the University of Iowa double-majoring in Creative Writing and French with a minor in Spanish. As a student, I have been involved with the Honors Program since my first day on campus and have been an Outreach Ambassador since August of 2018. I am involved in several organizations on campus, including as a player for the University of Iowa Women’s Club Soccer team, as editor-in-chief of The Foundationalist (an intercollegiate literary journal), as a writer for the newsletter of Phi Eta Sigma honors society, and as a buddy in Tippie International Buddies. In my free time, I like to travel, play pickup soccer, write, and hang out with my friends.

      Ask me about studying abroad or travelling in general, double majoring, soccer, working as an Orientation Leader, or the writing community in Iowa City!

      Contact me at elizabeth-b-johnson@uiowa.edu with any questions.

      Dear Prospective Student - From Elizabeth

      Allison Beckner



      I am majoring in Political Science and Ethics & Public Policy with a minor in History on the Pre-Law track. I am a first year student and my experience with the Honors Program thus far has been wonderful. The classes and other opportunities that the program provides have been quite beneficial to my education. Additionally, the community that exists within the Honors Program is very welcoming. Outside of classes and an on campus job, I am involved with Hawkeye Caucus. In my free time, I enjoy reading, trying new coffee shops, and spending time with friends. Ask me about on-campus employment, Hawkeye Caucus, and getting involved in student organizations!

      Contact me at: allison-beckner@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Allison

      Josie Marchant 



      Hi! I am a third year student originally from Minnesota. I am studying Therapeutic Recreation with a minor in Spanish and certificate in Disability Studies. I intend to attend Occupational Therapy school after graduation. I have been an Honors Outreach Ambassador since Spring of 2018 and this is my second semester being a Teaching Assistant for the program. I am involved in several organizations on campus such as Phi Sigma Pi National Honors Fraternity, Therapeutic Recreation Student Association, and other various volunteering opportunities. During the spring of 2019, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Sevilla, Spain. In my free time, I enjoy taking pictures, doing pottery, and traveling.

      Ask me about studying abroad, the Minnesota Vikings (and/or our many failed attempts to win a Super Bowl), being an out of state student, and/or getting involved in the honors program!

      Contact me: josephine-marchant@uiowa.edu

      Amy Zine



      I’m a sophomore majoring in Biology with a minor in Psychology. This is my first semester as an Honor’s Outreach Ambassador, but I’ve been involved with the Honors Program since my freshman year when I participated in Primetime. I’m a member of PSP through the Honors College as well as a dancer in Dance Marathon. When I’m not doing schoolwork, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, watching movies, and being outside.

      Please reach out if you have any questions about anything honors-related or otherwise!

      Dear Prospective Student - From Amy


      Haley Lightfoot



      I am a second-year student at the University of Iowa studying Chemistry with a minor in physics. My experience with the honors program has been nothing short of exceptional. From Primetime, to my first-year seminar “Bringing Dinosaurs Back to Life”, to now being an Honors Outreach Ambassador, I have loved every minute of being in the honors program. Outside of the honors program I am involved in several different organizations on campus. These organizations include Delta Gamma Sorority, Salt Company, U-Iowa Running Club, and Women in STEM Ambassadors. 

      Ask me about fraternity and sorority life, being a woman in STEM, or how to get involved with the honors program!

      Contact me at haley-lightfoot@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Haley

      Eden Conroy


      Hi! My name is Eden and I am a second-year student and first year Honors Ambassador. I am from Naperville, Illinois and I am studying Psychology with minors in Human Relations and Music. On campus I am a part of Dance Marathon, Circle-K, and Active Minds. In my free time I enjoy watching movies, working out, and playing the cello. You can ask me about living at Daum Residence Hall, joining student organizations, and good study spots on campus!

      Contact me at: eden-conroy@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Eden



      Chi Glaha



      Chi Glaha is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Sociology with minors in psychology and criminology and certificates in public health and resilience and trauma. She has been involved with the honors program since her freshman year in college and became an Honors Outreach Ambassador since the Fall of 2020. Honors has given her the opportunity to engage with an introspective project over the Summer as well as connected her with a community that has helped her to navigate her way through being a first-generation student. Besides Honors, Chi is involved with a few other organizations such as Dance Marathon, Habitat for Humanity, the Council on the Status of Women, and was a UIHC volunteer. In her free time, you can find Chi binge-watching shows such as Criminal Minds, or Vampire Diaries.

      Contact me: cglaha@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Chi



      Madison Rambo



      I am a freshman at the University of Iowa studying Actuarial Sciences and Mathematics. I have been a member of the Honors Program since August 2019, and an Honors Outreach Ambassador since January. I love the Honors Program because of the connections it has given me, its leadership opportunities, and the Honors community. I hope to study abroad during my junior year and have summer internships! I am also involved in the Actuarial Science Club and my sorority, Delta Gamma. In my free time I like to work out, spend time with friends, go out to eat, explore Iowa City, and watch Netflix!

      Dear Prospective Student - From Madison

      Minela Ikanovic



      Hello! My name is Minela Ikanovic and I am a sophomore majoring in Ethics & Public Policy with an emphasis in Economics, along with a second major in Philosophy and a minor in Rhetoric & Persuasion. By studying these topics, I am on the pre-law track where I plan to attend graduate school to continue learning about judicial sciences.

      I have been involved in the Honors Program since my freshman year; I was involved with Primetime, living in the Honors dorm, and have done experiential learning through academic research with Professor Lai in political science. When I’m not busy studying or working, I like to hang out with my sorority sisters, volunteer with the on-campus pre-law society Phi Alpha Delta, attend student government meetings as a member of the Student Judicial Court, watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and talk about my cat!

      Dear Prospective Student - From Minela

      Joshua Hutton



      I am a junior from Muscatine, Iowa, studying Human Physiology on a pre-medical track. I have been involved in the Honors program since my first week on campus. Elsewhere on campus I am involved in Medicus (the pre-medical group on campus), and I am on the club golf team. I love talking all things sports, my faith, good movies, and exciting world-solving ideas. If you have any questions about any of the things above or any other questions about the University of Iowa Honors program, feel free to contact me at Joshua-hutton@uiowa.edu!

      Dear Prospective Student - From Joshua


      Anushi Wijayagunaratne



      I am a third-year student majoring in Biomedical Sciences with a Physical Activity and Nutrition Science minor. I was involved in genetics research through the Department of Biology for two years, and I currently volunteer at UIowa Hospitals and Clinics and the UIowa Mobile Clinic. Some of my favorite experiences on campus include being a Teaching Intern for Foundations of Biology, joining a choir through the UIowa Choral Department, being involved in Fraternity/ Sorority Life, and volunteering abroad through the Vida Volunteer program with a few of my friends I made through the Honors Program.

      I enjoy running, discovering new music, attending concerts, traveling, and spending time with my Siamese cat named Leo in my free time. I also really value time at home with my family in West Des Moines, IA. Please feel free to reach out if you are interested in learning about opportunities as a pre-medicine student at UIowa or with any questions in general!

      Dear Prospective Student - From Anushi

      Kate Sondgrass



      Hi! My name is Kate and I’m a freshman majoring in public health, computer science, and geography, with a minor in global health studies. This is my first semester as an honors outreach ambassador, but I’ve loved being more involved with the honors program (in addition to living in Daum Residence Hall, attending Honors Primetime, and taking a first-year seminar). For my experiential learning credits, I’m currently doing research with Dr. Watkins on polytobacco use in young adult populations. I’m also involved with the Immunity Campaign, UPHO (the undergraduate public health organization), dance marathon, and UIEC (the environmental coalition) on campus.

      If you have any questions, feel free to email me at kjsnodgrass@uiowa.edu!


      Charles Mascardo



      Major: Biomedical Engineering (Cellular Engineering & Pre-Medical Tracks); Minor: Mathematics

      I am currently a third-year student at Iowa studying Biomedical Engineering on the Cellular Engineering and Pre-Medical Tracks. I’ve been involved with the Honors Program since the spring of 2018, during which time I have served as an Outreach Ambassador, an Orientation Ambassador, and a Peer Mentor. Outside of classes, I work as a Clinical Anesthesia Technician in the UIHC Main Operating Suite and serve as a Teaching Assistant for the engineering class Mechanics of Deformable Bodies. I was also involved in biomedical device research during my first three semesters at Iowa.

      Ask me about getting involved in research, the engineering student experience, or what its like growing up in Iowa City! Student email: charles-mascardo@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Charles

      Satori Good



      Major: English & Creative Writing Minor: Ancient Civilizations

      Satori is a junior from Lawrence, Kansas. She has been involved in the honors program since freshman year, participating in honors coursework, Honors Primetime, Honors Writing Fellows, service learning through the Iowa Youth Writing Project, and Honors Outreach Ambassadors. She works at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and serves as VP of Finance and Philanthropy for her sorority. In her free time, Satori likes to write, bake cookies, and play Dungeons and Dragons with her friends!

      Contact me at: satori-good@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Satori

      Klaudia Golebiewski



      Klaudia Golebiewski is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Neuroscience on the pre-medicine track with a minor in Global Health Studies. She has been involved in the Honors Program since her first semester at Iowa and has been an Ambassador since her second! She is also the president of the Emergency Medical Services Interest Organization, teaches CPR for Red Watch Band, volunteers at the hospital, and does research with Dr. Kai Hwang in neurocognitive dynamics. In her free time, she loves hiking, biking, and (embarrassingly) watching reality TV shows on Netflix! Feel free to ask her any questions about what it’s like being a neuroscience major, EMT, Honors Ambassador, or for the best hiking trails nearby! Her email is: klaudia-golebiewski@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Klaudia

      Keith Brendes



      Keith Brendes is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics on the pre-medicine track. He has been involved in the Honors program his entire time on campus and as an Honors Outreach Ambassador for the past two years. After his first year on campus, he worked as an Orientation Leader for incoming freshman at the University of Iowa and has since joined a breast cancer research laboratory in the department of surgery at the University of Iowa Hospital. In his time on campus, he has been involved in a social fraternity, UI Dance Marathon, Hawkeye Service Breaks, and volunteering at the hospital on top of academics. Transitioning to college can be challenging, so if you have any questions, please feel free to email him or any of the other ambassadors/staff with any questions!

      Email: keith-brendes@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Keith

      Leighton Barnes



      Hi! My name is Leighton Barnes and I am a first-year student at the university studying Chemistry on the Pre-Medicine Track. I’m currently involved in a number of on-campus activities such as the Success in Rhetoric program, Dance Marathon, Medicus (the pre-medicine club), and the University of Iowa KRUI radio station. In my free time, I love to listen to (and create) music, read a good book or two, and philosophize about the world around me with friends!

      Contact Me: leighton-barnes@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Leighton



      Benjamin Pappas



      I am a Sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Biomedical Sciences and minoring in both Chemistry and Psychology on the Pre-Medicine Track. This is my third semester being an Honors Outreach Ambassador since joining the Honors Program. In addition to my coursework, I also participate in organizations across campus such as Medicus (Pre-Med Society), University of Iowa Mobile Clinic, Iowa Neuroscience Club, Intramural Basketball, and Intramural Sand Volleyball. In my free time, I enjoy reading, working out, watching horror movies, hanging out with friends, discovering new sushi restaurants, and being outdoors. 

      Contact Me: benjamin-pappas@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Benjamin

      Morgan Miller



      Major: Human Physiology B.S. on the Pre-Medicine Track

      Hi! I am a first-year student and an Honors Outreach Ambassador. I have been involved with the Honors Program since before classes officially started when I attended my Primetime workshop. I love the Honors Program because it gives me a safe and caring environment to be myself and form a community within the larger University community. If I am not busy studying or in class, I like to spend time with my friends, paint, listen to podcasts, or watch Netflix. Ask me about living in Daum, being on the pre-medicine track, volunteering at the hospital, the best places to sit at Hawkeye sporting events, cats, and anything baseball related!

      Contact me: morgan-e-miller@uiowa.edu

      Dear Prospective Student - From Morgan

      Tim Arnold


      Tim Arnold is the Information Literacy Librarian at the University of Iowa Libraries. He manages the Middle East and Journalism collections.  He is available to teach classes on information literacy, reference management, and social media collection development. 

      Click here to schedule an appointment with Tim.

      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

      Chief of Endoscopy at Frederick Gastroenterology Associates

      I am a gastroenterologist/hepatologist practicing in Frederick County, Maryland, since 2015. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, hosting parties, and exploring new eateries. My wife and two children keep me grounded and try to keep my waistline from expanding.


      • 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 
      • Internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Stanford University Hospitals and Clinics: 2000-200

      • Fellowship in Gastroenterology-Hepatology at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: 2003-2006

      • Practiced at McFarland Clinic, Ames, Iowa as a gastroenterologist: 2006-2015

      Emily Hill

      EH RS
      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 L. Spisak

      Resized AS
      Honors Program Director


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

      Art Spisak is a professor in the UI Classics Department and the full time director of the Honors Program. He began teaching in honors in 1998, and has been an honors education administrator and researcher since 2006, previously at Missouri State University and then at Iowa (since 2011). In recent years he has been heavily involved with the leadership of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), the national organization for honors education. Over the years he has presented and published extensively in the field of honors education. He is also an NCHC accredited program reviewer.


      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 




      Nicole Kirkwood

      Nicole Kirkwood
      Director of Marketing Strategy, Fannie Mae


      • University of Iowa, B.A. in Economics (Honors) and Global Studies (Honors), 2001
      • Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, MBA, 2007



      Powers and duties of the Honors Steering Committee include providing direction on honors education at Iowa, advising on major policies for Honors at Iowa, and serving as representatives of the Honors Program in their departments or units. Meetings usually occur twice each fall and spring semester. The Honors Director prepares the agendas, chairs meetings, and keeps records as the committee finds useful. Any member may offer items for discussion as the Honors Steering Committee sees fit.


      Selection of the Honors Steering Committee is to represent major campus constituencies of the Honors Program. It includes the Honors Director, the Honors Associate Director, faculty representatives from all five of the degree-granting undergraduate colleges, as well as a student representative from the Honors at Iowa population. It also includes representatives from the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and the Office of Admissions. Faculty members serve three-year terms, which are renewable once. Appointment is by the Honors Director after consultation with college deans or their representatives.

      Current Committee Members:

      • Susan Assouline, Director, Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development
      • Sarah Bond, Associate Professor, Classics Department, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
      • Mary Cohen, Associate Professor, Teaching & Learning, College of Education
      • Ellen Cram, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, Associate Professor, Nursing
      • Logan Drake, Honors Program Student Representative
      • Tori Forbes, Associate Professor, Chemistry Department, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
      • Brent Gage, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management
      • Karen Heimer, Professor, Sociology Department, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
      • Emily Hill, Associate Director, Honors Program 
      • Kirk Kluver, Director, Admissions
      • Anton Kruger, Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
      • John Murry, Professor, Marketing Department, Tippie College of Business
      • Art Spisak, Director, Honors Program 
      • Ingrid Ukstins, Associate Professor, Earth & Environmental Sciences Department, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences