The University of Iowa

UI Student Award-Winners Meet The IOWA Challenge

May 20th, 2011

Source: University News Services

Five University of Iowa students have shown they have what it takes to meet The IOWA Challenge, the university’s core expectations for undergraduates.

The university introduced the Meet the Challenge Awards program this year to recognize students for excelling academically, embracing diversity, engaging in campus life, making choices that advance their goals, and serving their communities. The awards, which carry a $500 stipend, were presented at the April 20 Hawkeye Leadership and Service Awards program, which also recognized top student organizations.

The five recipients are:

• Kristina McLaughlin, a senior political science and economics student from Marion, Iowa, received the Stretch award for her keen interest in global issues and sustainability, and activities that include an internship in Washington, D.C., study abroad in Ghana, and field-study in Antarctica.

• Mallory Perkins, a spring 2011 graduate from Knoxville, Ill., won the Excel award for completing a communication studies major, a minor, two certificates, honors research, and the Career Leadership Academy (CLA) while serving as an orientation advisor, resident assistant, and CLA intern.

• Vincent Geis, a spring 2011 graduate from Ankeny, Iowa, who plans to start law school at the UI in 2013 after a year with Teach for America, earned the Engage award for balancing academic achievement, two part-time jobs and involvement with organizations like the Mock Trial Club.

• Zhi Xiong, a spring 2011 graduate from Iowa City, who begins medical school at the UI this fall, received the Choose award for establishing an ambitious path of classroom study, part-time work in health care and research, and service as a translator and a Daily Iowan news reporter.

• Darcie Becker, a senior business student from Wilton, Iowa, received the Serve award for leading volunteer initiatives as president of the Tippie College of Business Optimist Chapter.

Students, faculty, and staff developed The IOWA Challenge as a concise, grassroots statement of what it means to be a UI student. The project developed in response to research showing that setting expectations for students enhances success in the classroom and beyond.

The initiative is part of the university’s broader focus on student success, which includes enhanced support for first-year students, focus on living-learning communities and other high-impact activities, and more initiatives that boost student performance and retention.

More information about The IOWA Challenge is available at