The University of Iowa

UI alumna named to USA TODAY All-USA College Academic Team

June 15th, 2010

By Lois Gray

USA TODAY has named University of Iowa 2010 graduate Alexandra Keenan to its annual All-USA College Academic Team, honoring her for outstanding intellectual achievement and leadership.

All-USA College Academic Team receive national recognition, a trophy and $2,500. These students excel in scholarship and reach beyond the classroom to benefit society.

Nora Tobin, of Clive, Iowa, was also named to the team. Tobin graduated from Iowa State University in May 2010 with a 3.77 grade point average while majoring in political science and international studies

The two Iowa recipients were among only 20 students named to the team, and they were selected by a panel of judges from hundreds of students nominated by colleges and universities across the United States. Judges considered grades, leadership, activities, and — most important — how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.

Keenan, of Urbandale, Iowa, graduated from the UI in May 2010 with a 4.0 grade point average while majoring in biomedical engineering, biochemistry and international studies, programs within and/or administered by the UI College of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and International Programs.

While at the UI, she helped lead a team of students who designed a handheld water sanitizer, a project that was awarded an EPA sustainable design grant and was named one of Discover Magazine’s “10 Everyday Technologies That Can Change the World.”

While studying in India, she advocated for cervical cancer screening at a hospital in Madurai, which resulted in a community-based screening program, and she helped to develop — and teach to university scientists — a diagnostic technique for a deadly parasitic disease. She also managed the daily care of 12 HIV-positive children at an orphanage in Tonal, Mexico.

She is a Goldwater Scholar and was named one of Glamour magazine’s “Top 10 College Women” in 2009. Her career goal is to be a physician-scientist.

Ali Keenan

Ali Keenan, with her 2009 Glamour magazine article, stands in front of the UI Old Capitol


The UI Honors Program selected Keenan for the competition and Honors Program’s Scholarship. Director Andrea Beloy coordinated the application process.

For more information on the UI Honors Program, visit