College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Kathryn Hining: Outstanding senior in mechanical engineering

Major: Mechanical engineering

Hometown: Quincy, Illinois

Clubs and Activities: Iowa State Club Volleyball Team, various intramural sports

Awards and Honors: Dean’s List, First-Year Honors Mentor Grant, highest 2% of engineering freshman, National Merit Special Scholarship, Return to Iowa – Generations Scholarship, Meier Family Endowed Scholarship , John P. Keller Endowed Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering , Raymond A. and Kathryn A. Engel Fund in Mechanical Engineering, William and Emily Haines Memorial Scholarship, Award for Competitive Excellence


Kathryn Hining’s musical taste earned her the nickname “Beatles Girl,” her sports skills have earned 14 intramural championship t-shirts and a fifth in the nation place with Iowa State’s club volleyball team – all while earning top honors studying mechanical engineering at Iowa State.  

Hining hails from Quincy, Illinois and is a third-generation Cyclone. Both her parents and grandfather studied engineering at Iowa State.  

“At first I was like, ‘I want to go somewhere new, I want to be different,’” Hining said. “I didn’t want to do exactly what my parents did. And I visited campus and I was like, ‘alright, never mind.’ I loved it and my parents were super excited.” 

Hining considers balancing the demands of mechanical engineering while also creating lasting memories and friendships her greatest accomplishment throughout her four years at Iowa State.  

Maintaining a busy schedule and staying on top of her studies wouldn’t have been possible if not for the people Hining met and relationships she’s formed over the course of her time in Ames. 

Forming study groups was crucial for Hining while in mechanical engineering, to be able to work together and bounce ideas off of one another. Her biggest piece of advice for freshmen and underclassmen within engineering is to “find your people.”  

“Find true friends, find people that are going to help you when you’re struggling, find people that are hopefully smarter than you,” Hining said. I try to study with people that are better than I am at that subject, you don’t want to be the one that’s dragging all your friends along, you want to find people that can build you up and make you stronger and I think that’s why I did well at Iowa State, because I was lucky enough to find those people pretty early and I’ve had them all four years.” 

Having a role model such as teaching professor of mechanical engineering, Gloria Starns, was pivotal for Hining, a fellow female in the STEM field. So much so, that Hining would prematurely scour course catalogs to ensure she was placed in Starns courses for the semester.  

“She’s just so pro-lady engineers, that I just loved her,” Hining said.  “She’s uniting the women left and right. She was the first professor that I had felt comfortable talking to that I knew, knew my name, knew that if I had a problem that had nothing to do with school, that I could talk to her.”   

When Hining isn’t blasting Beatles music outside Curtiss Hall or doing homework, she can usually be found outdoors, participating in any activity where she can show off her athleticism, or doing things that help her mind decompress after a long day of staring at a screen.

Post-graduation, Hining is going to work for Hoss and Brown Engineers, a consulting firm in Kansas City. Her first project is going to be visiting the Pentagon, right away after graduating.