Innovations from all across campus displayed at the Student Innovation Center

Exhibition Innovation

Innovations from all across campus displayed at the Student Innovation Center’s exhibition space

By Julia Meehan, Student Innovation Center Student Content Writer

The new exhibit is viewable on the first floor of the Student Innovation Center during the summer and fall terms. Photo by Julia Meehan

The Student Innovation Center is honoring the innovation that occurs within all seven of Iowa State University’s colleges with a unique exhibit on the first floor of the facility. 

The exhibit is the first to be displayed within the center’s exhibition space, which was previously used as a classroom due to COVID-19. Exhibitions Coordinator Rachel Connell said she is excited to welcome the center’s visitors into the space now that it is filled with innovations from across campus. 

“We wanted to highlight that interdisciplinary connectedness across campus,” Connell said. “One of the strengths of the building overall is it feels very open, welcoming and inviting, and you can see, like literally see, what’s happening in all of the different spaces … Just being in here and working here, it’s a destination and bringing people together from all across campus.”

The exhibit was organized from a global and local perspective. As you walk through from start to finish, it travels from a global viewpoint to a more local one. 

“I think that having space here is great and the purpose is really kind of what this exhibit is seeking to do; bringing everyone together, showing how interdisciplinary things are and then also showcasing the really hard, great work from students, faculty and alumni,” Connell said. “It shows how these things impact the world, countries, regions and also the city of Ames and campus.”

The grand opening of the exhibit, Exhibition Innovation, was revealed during the Ignite Innovation Showcase, April 16-23. It will remain up through the summer and fall semesters. 

The future of the exhibition space, such as what will be featured and how long each exhibit will remain on display, will vary each year. 

“We’ve already had some interest in specific groups who might want to have the entire space and put on an exhibit for the entire semester,” Connell said. “There were a lot of other great ideas that the colleges had and so in the future, they can apply to have the whole space and exhibit a larger project.”

Visit the Student Innovation Center during open building hours to explore the exhibit and see how the students, faculty, staff and alumni at Iowa State University are innovating. And, while you’re here, explore the center‘s makerspaces, study rooms, open collaboration spaces and community resources.

Here is a sneak peek of what innovations you’ll find within the exhibition space from each of the university’s colleges.

The College of Engineering

The College of Engineering’s overall theme for space is ‘H20 FOR ULLO.’ They’re highlighting the Iowa State University chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-ISU).

The students involved in Engineers Without Borders are showcasing a water system that was a project in the Upper West regions of Ghana, in northwest Africa.

This project, Engineers Without Borders, began small and flourished into multiple projects for the benefit of the community. Photo by Julia Meehan
The team monitors the water system that they created, which is a solar-powered water distribution system. Photo by Julia Meehan

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences display centers around ‘Innovations for a Brighter Future.’ This exhibit deals with plastic waste and addresses it from both the liberal arts side and the sciences side.

On the liberal arts side, Amanda Petefish-Schrag, associate professor of theatre in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, reuses abandoned, discarded plastics and creates masterpieces, such as puppets to use in performances.

The sciences side is represented through chemical processes. Aaron Sadow, professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory is collaborating with a team of scientists to uncover a process on how to break down single-use plastics and convert them to intermediate materials. In other words, they’re studying chemical processes and how they can break down the plastics and generate fuel sources.

This puppet, displayed at the Student Innovation Center's exhibition space, is created from discarded plastics and waste. Photo by Julia Meehan
This puppet, displayed at the Student Innovation Center's exhibition space, is entirely fabricated from remains that we throw away. Photo by Julia Meehan
This plastic gives an inside look at the plastic and waste filling our landfills, oceans and spaces. Photo by Julia Meehan
This diagram showcases the process and the importance of upcycling and reducing the need for new materials. Photo by Julia Meehan

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is focusing on ‘Innovating to Achieve Optimal Health for People, Plants, Animals and the Environment.’

This space is branching into all different kinds of components not only in the state of Iowa but in the region. As you move through this college’s exhibit you will see a representation of prairie strips that protect soil and water and benefit biodiversity.

There is a monitor for monarch movement, which helps landowners make decisions to aid this treasured pollinated flourish. A solar-powered tool created by students enhances food security and extends the shelf life of crops. There is much more to see on how faculty, staff and students are using entrepreneurial skills to succeed in the agricultural and life sciences fields.

The monarch butterfly tracking was created as a resource to landowners. Photo by Julia Meehan
The prairie field strip technology is used to help with runoff. Photo by Julia Meehan

The College of Human Sciences

The College of Human Sciences is presenting ‘Human Science for Every Body.’

Experiential learning and discovery are the main areas of this college’s work. There are so many different things happening within human sciences. For instance, there is a specialized garment created by students in the textile industry that represents the need for garments for children with disabilities or special needs.

Another fascinating aspect of their space is an interactive tool. Place yourself on their footprints, look into the mirror and find yourself in the ways human scientists innovate and discover to make an impact.

Textile is just one facet of the College of Human Sciences and the innovation they are creating to impact everybody. Photo by Julia Meehan
Place yourself in their shoes and see how they impact every body when you walk through the Student Innovation Center exhibit space. Photo by Julia Meehan

The College of Veterinary Medicine

The College of Veterinary Medicine displays ‘Transforming Veterinary Diagnostic Medicine,’ an innovative project they have been working on is a testing process for the swine virus. This innovative project is a low-tech solution that tests the pig’s salvia off of a rope for a specific virus.

Students and staff of the College of Veterinary Medicine collect oral fluids by hanging a rope in a pen for the pigs. Photo by Julia Meehan

Ivy College of Business

The Ivy College of Business is highlighting ‘Innovation in Business’ with their space. More specifically, they chose to highlight four of their alumni.

They have Michael Hanstad, a business owner for Deadeye BBQ who creates different barbeque hot sauces; Michelle Book, CEO of the Food Bank of Iowa; Bob Lashier, who founded LRI Graphics, which does a lot of the signage for Iowa State Athletics; and Lauren Gifford, who owns Letter with Lauren Liz, a calligraphy lettering business. These alumni represent how to be innovative with a business.

Michelle Book graduated from the Ivy College of Business in ‘83 with a focus in accounting. Since then, she leads the Food Bank of Iowa and aids those who require food security. Photo by Julia Meehan
Lauren Gifford not only graduated from Ivy College of Business in ‘19 with a degree in marketing but became a successful hand-lettering and mural artist. Photo by Julia Meehan
Michael Hanstad began a condiment sauce and seasoning company in college when studying marketing at the Ivy College of Business. Photo by Julia Meehan
Bob Lashier graduated in ‘84 with a degree in management from the Ivy College of Business and is the epitome of entrepreneurship. Photo by Julia Meehan

The College of Design

The College of Design displays ‘Intertwine,’ a yarn-bombing project completed by Jennifer Drinkwater, assistant professor of art and visual culture and community arts specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development.

Come check out this exhibit, grab some yarn and contribute a quilted square.

A collaborative yarn project, which invites visitors to contribute, is displayed at the Student Innovation Center's exhibition space. Photo by Julia Meehan
A collaborative yarn project, which invites visitors to contribute, is displayed at the Student Innovation Center's exhibition space. Photo by Julia Meehan
A collaborative yarn project, which invites visitors to contribute, is displayed at the Student Innovation Center's exhibition space. Photo by Julia Meehan