The magazine for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at
Iowa State University

A letter from the Dean

Dean Beate Schmittmann.
Dean Beate Schmittmann.

Dear LAS Alumni and Friends,

I sincerely hope that this letter finds you safe and healthy. As summer draws to a close and we stand on the cusp of a new fall semester, it’s a time of hopeful beginnings and enormous change.

Nothing this fall is “normal.” Everything we do, from students moving into residence halls to faculty teaching a class, has been reinvented. Every hallway has been marked with directional signs, and everyone will wear masks. Challenged by Covid-19, we have reinvented campus life.

I’m filled with Cyclone pride for our community of LAS leaders, innovators and change agents as they worked through innumerable details to get ready for the return of our students. We have decided which courses to offer online and which courses will be taught face-to-face. We have thought about how to teach labs and how to run field trips. We have experimented with face coverings and microphones. Ambitious testing and contact-tracing procedures are in place, and the Cyclones Care campaign will reinforce health and safety practices for all campus community members.

While we have all shown tremendous flexibility and adaptability, our goals remain steadfast. We want everyone to be safe, and we want our students to experience campus life and progress towards their degrees.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Link, which is focused on COVID-19. These stories beautifully illustrate how several LAS community members have transformed the crisis of a global pandemic into lessons in resilience, innovation, and scientific discovery. In a curious coincidence, two stories begin with important telephone calls—one which transformed an alumnae’s career path and another that fueled the development of COVID-19 models that are now used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The commonality of “answering the call” during COVID-19 is fitting. As LAS has answered the call during this COVID-19 crisis, so have the students, alumni and faculty in these stories. I hope you will find inspiration, positivity and promise in their life stories and experiences.

Because of your support, LAS will continue to meet the challenge of COVID-19 as our dedicated faculty, staff, alumni and friends empower our students. With your help, these students will become leaders who know how to thrive in unprecedented times.

Please be well and stay safe.

With my best regards,

Beate Schmittman
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences