College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Nicole Martindale: “Getting the Ball Rolling”

Iowa State senior Nicole Martindale smiles for a photo outside of Marston Hall.

“Ultimately, Iowa State helped me get the ball rolling with finding more leadership opportunities. All of the opportunities have allowed me to get to the point I’m at now.”

Nicole Martindale, senior in civil engineering

For some students, the transition period of choosing a college path takes some time, while others know where they are headed right away. For Nicole Martindale, a senior majoring in civil engineering, she had seemingly made her mind up about coming to Iowa State when she was just a freshman in high school.

“Iowa State was my number one because of the prestigious engineering college. I always have to say something about the campus, it’s my favorite. It’s something that you don’t get at a lot of colleges, you know, the college town feel,” Martindale said.

When Martindale arrived on campus as a Cyclone Engineering from Gretna, Nebraska, she charted her course as a student, focusing on an environmental emphasis with a minor in sustainability, as a student athlete on the soccer team, and by inspiring other women engineers as a member of SWE.

Campus impact, holding court

Martindale’s Cyclone pride and campus involvement was recognized when she was named to this year’s Cardinal Court for Homecoming.

“They sent a really nice email out about homecoming events and what homecoming entails,” Martindale said. “I wanted to get more involved with Homecoming and noticed there was an application to apply for the Cardinal Court. I thought that it seemed like a good outlet to talk about my involvement with the university and how much I love being a Cyclone.”

Ultimately, based on an interview process, she was named an overall Cardinal Court winner alongside chemical engineering student Tyler Naughtrip.

“It was definitely crazy, I was very very honored. Just to be able to represent the College of Engineering and everything that I’ve been involved in. I guess it’s a testament to how much people have supported me along the way. Everyone around me enabled me to get to this point,” Martindale said.

Connecting women engineers

Iowa State senior Nicole Martindale stands at a work site.

One key source of support and impact for Martindale is the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She’s been member since her freshman year. She currently serves as the career development chair.

Martindale and fellow SWE members recently attended the National Conference for the Society of Women Engineers in Indianapolis this past week.

“I was selected to go again this year, and we brought 25 members and all drove down to Indianapolis this past week,” Martindale said. “The conference is essentially a huge gathering of women engineers, where they all come together and bond over a common cause of being women in a male dominated field. It helps women realize that anyone can make an impact.”

Not only does Martindale inspire through doing, but her involvement with SWE has allowed her to inspire in the community of girls considering STEM careers directly.

“The club does a lot aside from special events, including outreach. We also added a new part of the club called SWENext. What these sections do is provide members with an opportunity to teach younger kids, primarily girls, about engineering,” Martindale said.

Martindale tries to reflect her positive experiences as in the College of Engineering when doing outreach to the next generation of women Cyclone Engineers.

“I honestly feel at home here all the time; I feel comfortable collaborating with anyone. Especially with all these organizations being on campus, I feel like some clubs promote that culture. It really changes your mindset. There are so many organizations out there promoting involvement, so anyone can find a comfortable environment for themselves.”

Hands-on opportunities “get the ball rolling”

Nicole Martindale smiles for a photo on picture day for Iowa State Soccer.
Nicole Martindale’s headshot from Iowa State Soccer picture day in 2019.

Martindale began her Cyclone career as a part of the Women’s Soccer team. Now she turns more of her energy toward furthering her career through job opportunities.

For the past two summers Martindale was a civil engineering intern for FOX Engineering Associates in Ames. She has also recently taken on a student operator position with the City of Ames at the Water Treatment Plant.

After her graduation in the spring, Martindale plans on staying at Iowa State to obtain a master’s degree in environmental engineering and continuing her student operator position alongside earning her degree.

Martindale says that hands-on learning experiences have had an impact on her path, going back to her first year.

“My freshman year there was a freshman research initiative class that I took that specifically focused on environmental engineering. So that was a huge stepping stone into my decision on wanting to pursue civil engineering with an environmental emphasis,” Martindale said. “Ultimately, Iowa State helped me get the ball rolling with finding more leadership opportunities. All of the opportunities have allowed me to get to the point I’m at now.”