College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Two engineering alumni named 2016 STATEment Makers

Iowa ‘STATEment Makers’ is an honor that recognizes the early personal and professional accomplishments and contributions to society of Iowa State University’s young alumni (graduates 32 years of age and under). These ‘STATEment Makers’ make differences in their own lives, the lives of others, their communities, and/or their professions through ambitious efforts that reflect the scholarly, entrepreneurial, or service-oriented spirit of an Iowa State University education.

Cory Kleinheksel and John Pritchard have been honored with the ‘STATEment Maker’ title.

Cory Kleinheksel (computer engineering ’08)
Ames, Iowa

kleinheksel_8C9C070B76805During Cory’s computer engineering Ph.D. program, he co-taught a computer literacy course to 480 sixth and seventh graders at Des Moines’ Meredith Middle School, which enrolls a diverse population that includes a number of socioeconomically disadvantaged youth. Cory not only excelled as an instructor for the program, but he challenged students to complete a capstone project that involved building and programming robots. Des Moines Community Schools’ administrators took notice; Cory’s software programming curriculum was implemented at middle schools district-wide last fall. “I am very passionate about STEM education,” Cory says. “I look forward to future service opportunities in K-12 STEM education. Teachers have a challenging task in front of them, and through all of my experiences I certainly have high respect for all the work they do.”

Cory on…

…his favorite spot on the ISU campus: “It is hard to beat gameday at Jack Trice! The Campanile is iconic, too. My wife and I got married in front of it. Hard to pick just one!”

…his favorite college memory: “Has to be the ISUCF’V’MB. 350 close friends. Cheering the Cyclones to victory. Traveling to Iowa, Nebraska, and bowl games supporting the team on the road. Then being able to see familiar faces every fall since at Alumni Band.”

…his favorite app: “todolist and LinkedIn” (Connect with him at

…what this honor means to him: “Service has been very important to me since I was young and in scouting. This has led me to volunteer in my school and community in a variety of ways over the years. Recently my interest has turned to helping improve STEM education in community schools. I am honored to be recognized for this service effort. I think improvements are being made, but there is still so much to be done. I look forward to working with additional schools in the future on similar efforts and would like to encourage all of the ISU alumni network to do the same.”

John Pritchard (electrical engineering ’11, PhD ’15)
St. Paul, Minnesota

pritchard_0E0270C33DC0BJohn is a co-founder of a tech startup called HabitAware, which recently won the grand prize in the Logic PD Digital Product Innovation Challenge and was accepted into the world’s largest hardware accelerator program – HAX – in Shenzhen, China, where he is currently working. The technology is designed to help individuals who suffer from body-focused repetitive behaviors like trichotillomania (hair-pulling) and dermatillomania (skin-picking). An innovator by nature, John has long been passionate about design and entrepreneurship – dating back to his time as an ISU undergrad, when he co-founded two student groups dedicated to fostering invention and creating international research opportunities. “Since I first created an electrical circuit,” John writes, “I have volunteered countless hours to the pursuit of collaborations with other engineers, hoping to create something meaningful together.”

John on…

…his favorite ISU tradition: “the bringing of Lancelot and Elaine to Lake LaVerne”

…his favorite college memory: “making an Iowa State YouTube video of LED light suits a friend and I made for Halloween, and hitting 24,000 views in one day!”

…his guilty pleasure: “binge-watching ‘Cosmos’”

…his favorite words of wisdom: “’Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.’ – Albert Einstein”

…what this honor means to him: “This award is a kind recognition of my personal and collaborative accomplishments in entrepreneurialism. The support of my family, mentors, colleagues, and friends enabled an environment for me to take a path toward success, and this award is a sign that I am heading in the right direction.”

See the full list of this year’s STATEment makers.