Social Sciences Day featured students

CATEGORIES: News, Notable, Students
Five students studying in a library

Today is Social Sciences Day for LAS Week! Meet some of the outstanding students majoring in the areas of social sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and learn about their student experiences.

Lucy Dougherty

Economics and Political Science on a Pre-Law track

When I came to ISU, I never thought I would . . .
"Find so many interesting opportunities to take advantage of. I have been a peer mentor, an undergraduate TA, a research assistant, and I’ve even been able to work on my own research project in the Economics department. I’ve also been a member of the Economics club, the Honors philanthropy committee, the ISU Lectures committee, and the Bank Case Study team."

Favorite course so far in my major
"Econ 301. While Econ 101 goes over basic economic concepts, it’s so fascinating learning how all of those concepts work in the real world and the class as a whole made me really excited to continue in the major."

One thing that surprised me about majoring in Economics is . . .
"You can apply Economic concepts to practically everything in life. The major is so versatile and allows you to access all sorts of career paths."

I would encourage other students to check out opportunities outside the classroom that . . .
"Don’t necessarily relate to their major. There are so many interesting things to do at Iowa State that while it’s good to get involved with your department you should make sure to try new things as well."

My proudest moment at ISU so far has been
"Serving as a peer mentor for the Economics department. It was so great being able to help other students in their first semester at ISU and it was a very amazing leadership experience."

James Kruse

Criminal Justice and Biology

Favorite course so far in my major
"As a Criminal Justice student, a favorite class that I have taken would have to be Criminal Justice 484 with Dr. Matthew DeLisi. This class focused on homicide, the different forms it can take, and its possible causes. It was a fascinating subject and a class I had planned on taking for some time. By the end of the semester, each student was to have completed a paper on a subject of their choice as long as it linked back to the course. This was the first time I have done a research paper of this type and found it to be a great experience. I was able to explore an area I was interested in and put together a strong paper.

As a Biology student, I would have to say that my favorite major class has been Biology 313, a class on genetics. This class is how I figured out that I might be interested in the DNA aspect of forensic science. Dr. Steve Rodermel was a fantastic instructor and I found that I really enjoyed the material."

When I came to ISU, I never thought I would . . .
"Find myself working in labs that are so closely related to my interests and career goals. During my time at ISU, I have worked in two lab settings, and both of them have been both fascinating and rewarding experiences."

How a professor or adviser has supported me
"My advisors have been fantastic resources during my time at Iowa State. Kate Simmons (Criminal Justice) and Dr. Jeanne Serb (Biology) have helped me to mold my programs around my interests and find opportunities to expand my field of knowledge. There have been times during the semester where I thought about a course change, or was drafting internship applications and they are always willing to take a look or set up appointments. They have truly been valuable resources during my undergraduate career."

Best lesson learned during an internship
"The best lessons I have learned during an internship would be not to underestimate the power of combining fields and always stay open to new career possibilities. As an intern with the DCI, I was introduced to areas of forensic science that I didn’t know existed. This past summer, I interned with the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence here on campus. They set up sessions for us that highlighted the link between statistics and criminal justice while allowing us to work on research projects that applied what we had learned. This allowed us to make connections we had never seen before while preparing for what would culminate in an undergraduate research symposium."

Advice to future students
"Freshman year, sit down and ask yourself what you would like to do both during and after college. Write these down and set up a time to talk with your advisor(s). You could be surprised with where this might lead. I told my advisor sophomore year that I was fascinated by the human skeleton and a month later I was working in the Anthropology department on their human skeletal collection. There are so many great opportunities on campus and they can lead to great internships and jobs. Just be ready to go in with an open mind and ask lots of questions."

Proudest moment at ISU
"While I have had many great experiences over the last 3.5 years, I would say that my proudest moment was being selected to represent the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence research center I work with at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Scientific Meeting as a youth poster presenter. I was hired as an undergraduate research assistant with the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE) this past fall and have been assisting as an undergraduate researcher on a project looking to develop methods for providing statistical backing to forensic shoe print evidence. Last November, I had the opportunity to work with the faculty and staff of CSAFE to develop an abstract and apply to represent the organization."

I would encourage other students to check out opportunities outside the classroom like . . .
"I would encourage students to explore areas outside of their chosen field. You never know how it will benefit you. If you’re interested in theatre or public performance, explore it. It could help you in areas like public speaking and creative thinking. If you need a job, look into a supervisory position or a lab job. These jobs give you real life experience while helping to strengthen problem solving and organization. No matter what your interests are, explore them. In some cases, they may not pertain to your future career, but they make you a well rounded person. College is a great time to find out who you are."