The staff at the Honors Program is always happy to help you whenever you have a concern, question, or problem. Feel free to stop in and chat or call ahead.
Here's a look at who's who:
Laurie S. Law
Laurie Smith Law serves as the Administrative Director for the University Honors Program, working in conjunction with the Honors staff and Honors Student Board to provide members of the Honors Program with an enriched academic experience. Reporting units include the First-Year and University Honors Programs, Undergraduate Research, and Nationally Competitive Awards.
Laurie has a master degree in U.S. history, but started her career in student affairs as a hall director in an Honors learning community, before moving into academic affairs as the assistant director of university Honors College. She has served on the Board of Directors for the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), and currently serves as co-chair of the organization’s Professional Development Committee. Laurie is the co-founder of the NCHC International Summer Institute for New Honors Director/Deans. The institute is designed to support new directors navigate administration responsibilities on their campus.
Dr. Susan Yager
Susan Yager earned her BA and MA from Catholic University (Washington, DC) and her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Along the way she acquired a love of teaching, especially working with undergraduates. Despite long-standing administrative duties at Iowa State, she maintains a focus on the classroom. While English 250H (and certain Honors Seminars) might be her favorites, she also teaches general English and courses in her area, early British literature.
Susan’s research focuses on the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer and the pedagogy of medieval studies. She’s also interested in children’s literature and topics in higher education (having published two essays in Honors in Practice and become a member of that journal’s editorial board), as well as books of Second World War. That last is more a collector’s passion than a scholar’s interest – she enjoys collecting books that date from 1940-45, and so far has found bills, a bus ticket, and a pressed violet in their pages.
Assistant Director for Nationally Competitive Awards & University Honors Program
Laura Good works to help identify and advise undergraduate candidates for nationally competitive scholarship, fellowship, and grant opportunities. In addition to this, she supports the upper-division Honors program and is available to answer student questions.
A former Fulbright scholar, Laura joined Iowa State University in Fall 2017 after over ten years overseas. Most recently, she worked to establish and develop a governmental scholarship program in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates to support high-ability students targeting post-secondary opportunities in the U.S. and U.K. Prior to that, she worked in international admissions recruiting students worldwide for Saint Louis University’s branch campus in Madrid, Spain. Originally from Kansas, Laura earned her BA in Spanish Language & Literature from Kansas State University and continued to earn an MS in Higher Education Administration from the University of Kansas. When she’s not chasing her three young girls, Laura enjoys cooking, biking, yoga and shamelessly binging on Netflix. She is passionate about helping talented students find educational opportunities and is thrilled to be a Cyclone!
Assistant Director for First-Year Honors Program
The Assistant Director for First-Year Honors Program oversees the Honors 121 and Honors 302 experiences. Emily supervises the Undergraduate Assistants and FHP leaders, and works with FHP students from summer orientation all throughout their first year. Emily also works with Honors Ambassadors, prospective students, honors salons, and the honors social media accounts. Emily has degrees from Iowa State in English (2004) and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (2006), and currently lives across the street from her own Honors 121 co-leader. In her spare time, Emily likes listening to podcasts, baking, and canning, and wants to talk to you about Game of Thrones.
Dr. Svitlana Zbarska
Campus-Wide Undergraduate Research Program Coordinator
Dr. Svitlana Zbarska manages programs that promote undergraduate research opportunities across campus. In this role, Dr. Zbarska coordinates campus-wide undergraduate research (UR) programs and initiatives such as Research Seminars for Undergraduate Students, the First-Year Honors Mentor Program, ISU Annual Undergraduate Symposium on Research and Creative Expression, Research in the Capitol and the Summer REU Symposium. Dr. Zbarska teaches U ST 275x pre-research course “Integrative Undergraduate Research: Methods, Applications, and Communication Strategies”. She also runs multiple workshops and professional development seminars about involvement in UR and getting the most out of your UR experiences. Dr. Zbarska is an adviser for the i-Research club.
Dr. Zbarska received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience with Excellence in Research from Iowa State University in 2007. After that she was a leading scientist on several research projects at the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Department of Genetics and Cell Biology at ISU. Dr. Zbarska is originally from the Ukraine where she received her BS in Physics and MS in Biophysics with Honors from the Shevchenko National University, Kiev, Ukraine. Dr. Zbarska is passionate about encouraging and advocating for undergraduate students’ research experiences.
Katherine Sterk graduated with her B.S. in Child, Adult, and Family Services and Psychology from Iowa State University. She serves as the Graduate Assistant for the University Honors Program. In this position, she serves as an adviser for the Honors Student Board and co-teaches HON 302 (leadership seminar). Additionally, Katherine works to recruit high-ability students via Experience Iowa State events.
Katherine developed a passion for service in higher education during her undergraduate experience, and emphasizes the importance of reciprocal relationships within her duties. Because Katherine participated in the University Honors Program as an undergraduate, her approach to student learning is one that emphasizes personal and professional growth. In her free time, Katherine enjoys writing poems, thrift shopping, singing, and watching Grey’s Anatomy! She also loves tailgating with her family during football season!
Suzanne has worked at the university for 18 years and has been with the Honors Program for 15 years. She works with both the First-Year and Upper Division programs. She says that she would be glad to assist you with any questions you might have regarding the University Honors Program.
Diane has worked at Iowa State for over 30 years and has been with Honors for four years. She arranges the Honors Seminars and does all of the accounting in addition to an array of other tasks. A mother of two, she loves to read and quilt in her spare time.
Patty Mayberry: Custodial Services
FHP Undergraduate Assistants
Hello! My name is Brianna Wilder and I am from Huntley, Illinois. I am currently a sophomore majoring in Biology with aspirations of medical school or a physician assistant program. I am also working toward my certification as a nursing assistant to gain clinical working experience. My involvement in the Honors Program and other organizations has added so much to my college experience. In addition to being an Undergraduate Assistant for the First-Year Honors Program, I am the Treasurer of the Women’s Soccer Club and a committee chair for my residence hall student organization. Over the summer, I spend my days as a camp counselor for fourth and fifth-grade students. When I am not studying or working, I love to spend my time at the gym- I highly recommend yoga flow- watching movies, and eating chocolate. I am happy to help anyone wanting to learn more about the Honors Program and what I do as an Undergraduate Assistant!
Howdy! My name is Jack Wannarka and I’m a sophomore in Civil Engineering, with a minor in Digital Media. Since joining the Honors program almost two years ago, I’ve made lifelong friends in the Barton Anders Honors House, taken part in Iowa State’s proud research tradition with the First Year Honors Mentor Program, co-led a class of new Honors students as a First-Year Honors Program Leader, and assisted Honors staff as a student worker. Currently, I’m one of three Undergraduate Assistants tasked with training current FHP leaders. Outside of Jischke, you can usually bet on me watching movies, designing logos, drawing superheroes, playing an intramural, or attending meetings of the ISU Improv Comedy Club. Feel free to reach out to me if you need a student’s perspective on the Honors Program or life in Ames.
Salutations! My name is Vincent Valeriano, and I hail from the lovely Chicago suburb of St. Charles, Illinois. I am a sophomore majoring in Finance with a double-minor in Spanish and Philosophy. Besides working with the University Honors Program, you can find me as the perky barista at a local Ames coffee shop, and, on campus, my time is divvied up among Cyclone Swing Society as a dance instructor, Iowa State's New Student Programs (NSP) office as a 2018 Cyclone Aide to assist with summer and transfer student orientations, and the Iowa Statesmen--which is the 140-person all-men's choir--as a Tenor II. If, ever, I find myself with an ounce of free time, your safest bet is I'll be piecing through my monthly book or planning my next trip to a thrift store. If you'd like to connect with me regarding Iowa State's Honors Program or which fancy drink to order at the café to impress your friends, I'm happy to chat!