LAS to host fourth annual LAS Week March 22-26

CATEGORIES: News, Notable
laptop with LAS week image displayed

Over 400 students, 100 free breakfasts and more than 15 events will mark the Iowa State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ fourth annual LAS Week, from March 22 through March 26.

Each year, LAS Week brings together students, alumni, faculty and staff to celebrate the academic diversity in the college and connect students with resources that enhance their degrees.

Annual events include the Kickoff Breakfast, where Dean Beate Schmittmann serves a free breakfast to LAS students and student services groups share resources that contribute to student success. Throughout the week, the college hosts an undergraduate research competition, alumni and student networking events and also promotes departmental events.

After concluding the third annual LAS Week in February 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted plans for LAS Week 2021 to resume in-person. However, with creativity and innovation, LAS Week 2021 events were planned to accommodate the new campus health and safety requirements and virtually connect current LAS students with alumni.

From alumni who are involved in innovation and entrepreneurial endeavors, to those who work in media and sports communication, LAS students will have many opportunities to connect, learn from and be inspired by successful LAS alumni.

Participating alumni include Jeff Joniak, Chicago Bears play-by-play announcer; Julie Fie, vice president of basketball communications for the Phoenix Suns; Gladys Nortey, CEO and founder of Nortey Solutions, LLC and change management lead at Veritas Technologies, LLC; Lee Ann De Reus, executive director of the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP); Alice Hudson, technical director and former president and CEO of Surface Chemists of Florida, Inc. (SCF); Nolan Herlocker, founder of Nolan’s Lawn and Landscapes.

LAS Week 2021 alumni and student networking events will be virtual and streamed in the Troxel Hall lecture hall, for students to attend on campus.

On Tuesday, March 23 at 6:00 p.m., Morrill Professor Don Sakaguchi will present the LAS Spring Dean’s Distinguished Lecture, “Stem Cells and Bioengineering for Brain Repair Strategies.” Sakaguchi will discuss his highly collaborative, interdisciplinary research that merges stem cell biology and bioengineering to develop experimental brain and tissue repair strategies. When combined, these technologies can contribute to the development of novel therapeutic interventions with biomedical applications. His laboratory’s educational goal is to effectively integrate research with educational activities and train undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in interdisciplinary studies to produce next-generation biologists and bioengineers.

LAS Week 2021 will also celebrate the introduction of the LAS Dean’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I+E) Academy. The program’s first Director, Rebecca Runyon, has planned an I+E alumni panel, an entrepreneurship trivia night and a social entrepreneurship event. An intrapreneurship workshop and civic innovation spotlight will also be featured. These events will launch the LAS innovation and entrepreneurship initiative and introduce undergraduate students to skills, knowledge and personal networks which allow them to become agents of change.

LAS students, alumni, faculty and staff are invited and encouraged to join LAS Week 2021 virtual events by visiting