Mentorship at Iowa State shapes bright futures

Rahemma Mayfield

When Chloe Dedic began as an honors student at Iowa State, she didn’t know what type of engineering degree she wanted to pursue. Like most students, she had an idea of what she wanted to do but didn’t know exactly the path she wanted to pave for the future.

The Honors Program at Iowa State offers a unique mentorship program for first-year honors students. The main objective of the First-Year Honors Mentorship Program is “to give [students] an exposure to research,” said Dana Schumacher, program coordinator for scholarship and research in the Honors Program.

Even though this is an opportunity geared more towards those studying in areas of engineering and science, all of the first-year honors students are advised to get involved in the program.

“The Honors Program had a pretty big factor in my life path,” Dedic said. Dedic is now a graduate student in mechanical engineering. She was a first-year honors student who, like many, participated in the First-Year Honor Mentor Program.

“I was paired with a professor in the mechanical engineering department, [Terry] Meyer, [and] I worked with him ever since,” Dedic said. I really liked it [and] decided to major in mechanical engineering.”

From then on, Meyer took Dedic under his wing and mentored her throughout her undergraduate career.

“I think Chloe liked the fundamental aspects of subjects like chemistry and physics, but she also liked the application to engineering problems. Mechanical engineers are always finding ways to use chemistry, physics and/or mathematics to solve interesting problems” said Meyer, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Dedic has been working with Meyer since she was paired with him four years ago. In her junior year as an undergraduate, Dedic became one of the 2011 Goldwater Scholars, a prestigious scholarship given to students who show intent to further their studies in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering fields.

Universities are only allowed to nominate four students each year to be chosen to apply for the scholarship.

Dedic has also been involved in several extra-curricular activities. As an undergraduate she was involved in band, Engineers Without Boarders and the water polo club.

Now, as a graduate student, she is involved in Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Organization. She also coordinates the learning communities for the first-year graduate students.

“[It’s] actually a pretty new idea because mostly learning communities are for undergraduates, but going to graduate school is a big switch,” Dedic said.

Many students don’t know exactly what field they want to pursue in college. The First-Year Honors Mentor Program helped Dedic to find out what she wanted to pursue through hands-on research and mentorship.

“For me, the most beneficial part of being in the Honors Program was the mentor program” Dedic said.