Welcome to the Office for CALS Diversity Programs

Message from the Assistant Dean for Diversity

Striving for diversity and cultural competency are key to accomplishing the mission of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It is vital that we — as a land-grant institution committed to educational access — recognize, value, appreciate and respect “difference.” We do so in many ways, through our relationships, programs and policies. I am proud to lead efforts that continue to make significant strides that benefit diversity and cultural competency. As Assistant Dean for Diversity, I serve as a resource for faculty, staff and students throughout the college. It is of utmost importance that we collectively take the journey to cultural competency. I look forward to new opportunities to build and nurture collaborative partnerships within CALS and across Iowa State University, and with the 1862 land-grants, the 1890 historically black land-grant institutions, the 1994 tribal colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions. Through our efforts in diversity and cultural competency, we help fulfill the mission of CALS — to educate future leaders, conduct mission-oriented basic and applied research and share new knowledge for the betterment of Iowa and the world.

Thank you for your continued support.

Theressa Cooper
Assistant Dean for Diversity

Responsible Areas:

Graduate Students, Faculty, and Staff programming

  • George Washington Carver Summer Research Internship program
  • Graduate Research Assistantship Match (GRAM) program
  • Liaison for minority-serving institutions (1890, 1994, Hispanic Serving) nationwide


Message from the Multicultural Liaison Officer (MLO)

"If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come." - Indigenous Proverb

The future is inclusion and community engagement! At the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we work to create an inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds who desire a quality education and an active student life. As the MLO, I work with students to help them make connections from their learning to their professional development. Students within the college have options to conduct research, be involved in college and university clubs and organizations, provide service to their communities, and look forward to graduate school and numerous employment opportunities. As our university and workforce begins to see a change in the demographic of engaged citizens, we must work towards making space to accommodate and normalize different ways-of-thinking and learning. I encourage you to engage and be a part of our College of Agriculture and Life Sciences community as we continue to embrace and advance Iowa and the world.

Con gusto,

Elizabeth Martinez-Podolsky

Multicultural Liaison Officer

Responsible Areas:

Undergraduate students, collaboration with faculty and staff, programming

- Provide academic and developmental assistance to self-identifying multicultural students, LGBT+ students, non-traditional and Veteran students

- Meeting with students 1-1 to talk about current academic progress, academic and social resources, and post-graduation planning.

- Co-Adviser to student organization MANNRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences)

- Coordinate the Summer APEX (Academic Program for EXcellence) Program for College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

- Meet with prospective students and their families

- Provide programming and presentations for College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students, staff, and faculty in relation to inclusion