Katherine Rafferty honored with 2024 Faculty-Staff Inspiration award


Katherine RaffertyKatherine Rafferty, Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Psychology, has been selected to receive a 2024 Faculty/Staff Inspiration award. This honor recognizes current and former Iowa State faculty and staff members who had a significant influence on their students.

Potential award winners are nominated by former students and final selections are chosen by the ISU Alumni Association Awards Review and Selection Committee.

Rafferty was nominated by her former students Sydney Tietz and Amber Loecker.

Rafferty has taught in Iowa State University’s communication studies program since 2015. Rafferty also advises students in research where she has partnered with the Ronald McDonald House Charities, UnityPoint Hospital, Institute for Reproductive Grief Care, and the Lozier Institute.

“Dr. Rafferty notices,” said nominator Amber Loecker (’19 communication studies). “She notices when you’re there, she notices when you’re gone, she notices if you’re having a difficult time, and she clearly wants her students to grow while holding them to a standard of excellence.”

Rafferty’s dedication is reflected in her prior awards. She was part of a group that received ISU’s COVID-19 Exceptional Effort Award. Individually, she received the Outstanding Service Certificate from the National Communication Association and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s First Year Student Success Award, being recognized as “the person on campus who has helped them the most in college.” Rafferty has developed a health communication class at ISU that earned Quality Matters certification, a national peer-review process that certifies quality online courses. In 2015, she was selected to be a fellow for the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program by the National Cancer Institute.

Rafferty’s former students share a feeling of being believed in and supported by the professor – in and out of the classroom.

“A few months after the birth of my first baby … and after a marathon of medical interventions seeking relief for my daughter, I received a message from Dr. Rafferty inviting me to join her virtual mom’s book study,” said nominator Sydney Tietz (’19 psychology, languages and cultures).

“In a world that seems so isolated, she taught me how to uplift and help others as a human family,” said Tietz. “I remember her saying, ‘People very rarely take you up on an offer of, “Let me know if you need anything.” Instead, ask them, “Can I bring dinner, or can I get you groceries?”’ I had no idea how true this was until she was the one sending me Panera.”

As part of this recognition, Rafferty will be honored and recognized at the ISU Alumni Association Board of Director’s annual meeting and reception held on Friday, May 17.

You can read more about Rafferty and other award-winners at https://www.isualum.org/s/565/20/interior-subnav.aspx?sid=565&gid=1&pgid=6021.