College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Cyclone Engineering staff honored for learning community contributions

College of Engineering staff were named winners of 2021 Iowa State University Learning Communities achievement awards and recognized for years of service.

Patrick Determan, academic advisor for software engineering, received an Early Achievement in Learning Communities Coordination award. The award citation reads:

“Patrick is the co-coordinator of the Software Engineering learning community (SELC). When learning that the SELC would be virtual in fall 2020, he researched and worked with the SE peer mentors to create a Minecraft server to help foster engagement and build a community for the LC students. Additionally, the LC began using Discord as a communication tool, which allowed students and mentors to communicate regularly and receive quick answers to questions. Patrick encouraged the mentors to use this as the primary communication tool. The Discord quickly grew to have multiple channels for the different teams and classes to meet our students’ needs. This is something the SELC will continue using to build community before arrival on campus next fall.”

Aliza Mackenzie, academic advisor for mechanical engineering, also received an Early Achievement in Learning Communities Coordination award. The award citation reads:

“For the past three years, Aliza has led the Mechanical Engineering Learning Teams (MELTS). Under her leadership, the learning community has grown. She supervises no fewer than 16 peer mentors (which includes overseeing the hiring process, onboarding training, and supervision), coordinates 16 sections of the ME190 learning community course, plans programming events for 300 students, assists with course grids, and thinks about areas of growth for the communities. Aliza’s leadership of MELTs has a direct result on retention and the satisfaction of incoming freshmen. She balances her Learning Community responsibilities with an advisee caseload of 275-315 students per semester. The feedback from student surveys indicates that she excels at both roles! Additionally, Aliza serves on the peer mentor committee, routinely shares best practices, and participates in many of the programmatic opportunities within the Learning Communities program.”

Also, several Learning Communities coordinators were recognized for years of service to the LC program:

5 years: Emily Bowers, academic advisor in civil, construction and environmental engineering; Tina Prouty, academic advisor in electrical and computer engineering; and Teela Wilmes, academic advisor for software engineering

15 years: Paul Castleberry, student services specialist