Dairy Science Club promotes outreach, education and ice cream


Iowa State’s Dairy Science Club promotes fellowship among students and faculty who are interested in the dairy industry and community. Since the 1980s, they have come together to mix and sell their own homemade ice cream.

The club explores how dairy connects with food and animals, striving to connect students and the dairy industry. Club officers receive many opportunities to work with the community and help prepare and serve meals to those who are not as fortunate.

The Dairy Science Club officer team consists of eleven members who all share a passion for the products they make and the education they hope to provide to others.

Irene Nielsen, a junior majoring in dairy science and the club’s dairy products chair, said it is important to her that the club stays active within the community.

“We volunteer at Food at First, [and] we do a lot of education events at STEM fairs and local schools,” Nielsen said. “We also have an ‘Adopt a Cow’ program to educate second-grade classrooms about the dairy industry and the life of the dairy calves.”

Nielsen said the students within the club come together monthly to discuss reports and new business, and on occasion they are able to network with an industry professional.

“One of the things I have really loved about this club is that everyone cares for each other, everyone’s involved,” Nielsen said. “Everyone is really focused on how we can do better and serve people within our food industries, especially within the dairy industry.”

The club’s membership is not limited to agriculture-related majors or people with an agricultural background but extends to anyone who wants to be involved in the dairy community.

Hannah Foster, a senior majoring in world languages and cultures and president of the Dairy Science Club, said she has shown cows her whole life and added that it was clear the club was a perfect fit for her when she started at Iowa State.

Foster said it is important for the club to welcome students of all majors.

“I think that the biggest misconception is you have to have an agriculture background and you have to be from a farm or even know information about cows,” said Katie England, one of the Dairy Science Club’s three advisers. “Our education committee is really working on talking to schools and teaching kids about what dairy cows are, so we’re really just trying to get more diversity within the club.”

Foster said the club itself has persevered a lot since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“We’ve had to rebuild in times of difficulty, and we’re very goal oriented,” Foster said. “We had to work on revamping our committees and finding new ways for them to be involved within the club.”

Marianna Brenner, a sophomore majoring in agricultural business and the club’s vice president, oversees and facilitates relationships with the club’s alumni. She said she works closely with the executive team to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Brenner said she spent her freshman year observing the club’s events and then became a part of the team last year as an officer. She also works on recruiting and educating new members who show interest in the club.

“I work on recruiting people for the next year and fill in some of those roles for undergraduates or people that just want to switch and just do something else,” Brenner said.

Brenner said engaging with different members of the club is a vital part of being an officer.

“What I take away the most is probably how I can impact the members throughout the year,” Brenner said. “How I can watch them transform and step into leadership roles, is what makes it worth it to me.”

England said her responsibility to the club is to make sure students are able to succeed and get the most out of the club during their time at Iowa State.

“My favorite part of the Dairy Science Club is just seeing the motivation of the club members and the level of activity they do to spread awareness of the dairy industry,” England said.

England said one of the club’s biggest events every year is the “I Milked a Cow” (IMAC) event that occurs during the Iowa State Fair near the Livestock Pavilion. She said this gives kids a chance to learn how cows are milked, and they are given the chance to milk a cow themselves. England said it is a great opportunity to reach out to the community and give the students a chance to practice outreach.

“They are a very passionate group of students, and they’re always eager to do something more,” England said.

The Dairy Science Club sells the ice cream they produce during the fall and spring semesters from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday outside of Lush Auditorium inside Kildee Hall for $2 a cup.