UI honors new fellows


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Outstanding contributions to their field of expertise, society, and professions, mixed with a dedication to the University of Iowa, are some of the criteria used to decide selections for the University of Iowa Alumni Fellows.

Now in its 16th year, the program selects five UI alumni who stand out in their fields. Their respective departments nominate them, but the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean and associate deans make the choices.

On Thursday, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with the UI Alumni Association, held an event to honor the 2014 fellows as well as ask them questions in a panel-style discussion.

“Every year, we get 10 to 15 nominations,” said Nic Arp, the director of strategic communication for the  College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “We look for those who have really had an impact.”

Arp said the UI Fellows spend numerous days on campus giving presentations, talking to classes, and speaking at an event to accept their awards.

Bruce Gronbeck

Gronbeck, who received a master's degree from the UI in 1965 and a Ph.D. in 1970, died just one day before he was scheduled to receive his UI Fellows award.

Throughout his life, Gronbeck spent 51 years affiliated with the UI as a professor in the Communication Studies Department.

Walid Afifi, the director of communications studies, spoke for Gronbeck at the event and said he was a Hawkeye through and through.

Gronbeck mentored 65 graduate students during his time at the university, something Afifi said is almost unheard of in rhetoric scholarship.

“He really just gave his life to his students,” Afifi said.

Shelley Minteer

Shelley Minteer earned a Ph.D. from the UI in 2000 and has since gone on to hold more than 40 patents. She also founded Akermin Inc., which works to aid in climate change with the development of enzyme-based CO2 sequestration.

“When I left [the UI], I knew I wanted to be an academic chemist,” she said. “The love of learning and love of mentoring I saw here is what shaped me.”

Minteer is a USTAR professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering at the University of Utah. As a USTAR professor, she is part of the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative at the university.

She said her time at the UI opened her to collaboration and communication with peers, something that helped make her the scientist she is today.

Timothy Pounds

Timothy Pounds said when his mother made him move to Iowa during his teenage years, he was angry. Now, though, he said he could not be more thankful.

“You were right, mom; moving to Iowa was the right decision,” Pounds said during his Fellows speech.

Pounds now works as a senior Foreign Service officer at the U.S. State Department and serves as deputy chief of mission in Bahrain.

Pounds said he has called himself “Middle-East obsessed” since his days in Schaeffer Hall.

“My career as a diplomat began in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” he said.

Corinna Zarek

Corinna Zarek said her experiences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as at The Daily Iowan, shaped her into the person she is today.

Zarek graduated from the UI in 2001, and she also holds a degree from the UI College of Law.

“We learn by doing,” Zarek said during her speech. “And at The Daily Iowan, I was thrown into the fire and just did it.”

She serves as the open-government adviser in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the White House.

Hope Edelman

Hope Edelman said she came to the university hopeful to just get one piece published.

After graduating from the UI Nonfiction Writing Program in 1992, her memoir, Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss became a New York Times bestseller in 1994.

Edelman serves as an ambassador for the UI Nonfiction Writing Program and teaches in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and she teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles.

Although she lives in Los Angeles, she says Iowa City will always be special to her.

“I bring my family back here every summer for four to six weeks,” she said. “I want to teach them Midwestern values and what it means to live in a small town.”

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