Event Types


University Innovation Alliance

Dr. Gralon A. Johnson serves as the University Innovation Alliance (UIA) Fellow at Iowa State University, where he works collaboratively with senior leadership to design and implement comprehensive student success initiatives to support persistence and completion outcomes for underrepresented student populations (i.e., first generation and low-income students and students of color). In this role, Dr. Johnson also liaises between Iowa State and the additional 10 UIA-member institutions to develop, scale, and share innovative solutions that propel our most vulnerable students toward success and earn their college degree from a leading research university. Prior to joining Iowa State, he served as Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives at Alcorn State University. Dr. Johnson’s experience in higher education administration also includes multicultural student affairs, summer bridge/First-Year Experience (FYE) programs and academic support programs.


Dr. Johnson’s scholarly focus involves the role of the family and home environment on the college decision-making processes of students of color. His award-winning doctoral dissertation examined the family-related factors that contribute to attitudes toward higher education among first-year, African American undergraduate men. Additionally, Dr. Johnson has co-authored book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles that have explored the relationship among race, rearing and socialization for students of color. He has presented his scholarship during invited addresses and at national conferences such as the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE), the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE).  


A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Johnson received a Ph.D. in Human Ecology (with a concentration in Applied Family Science) from Kansas State University, a Master of Public Service (MPS) degree from the University of Arkansas’ William J. Clinton School of Public Service and a Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family studies from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Jul 23, 2018

Inside the Iowa Dept. of Transportation

Mark Lowe was appointed as director of the Iowa Department of Transportation on May 26, 2017, by Governor Kim Reynolds.  Before taking this position, Mark served as the Iowa DOT’s general counsel from 2008 to 2009, Motor Vehicle Division director from 2009 to 2016 and Interim Director from November 2016-May 2017.  Mark served on the board of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) from 2010 to 2016, serving as its chair in 2014 to 2015.

Lowe graduated from Iowa State University in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in community and regional planning. He earned his law degree from Drake University in 1993. Before entering state government, Mark was an associate and then shareholder with Hopkins & Huebner, P.C. in Des Moines, Iowa.

Mark lives in West Des Moines, Iowa with his wife Linda.  They have four children – Daniel (Utah State University), Mary (Iowa State University), Matt (Iowa State University) and Erin (Valley High School). In his leisure time he enjoys running, swimming, biking and playing guitar.


Jul 30, 2018

Looking Back, Looking Forward: The Status of Women in American Politics

Aug 06, 2018

KinoSol SBC

Mikayla Sullivan is CEO and co-founder of KinoSol SBC, where she leads a growing team of passionate individuals who are all focused on playing their part in creating a positive global impact. Mikayla holds degrees from Iowa State University in Global Resource Systems and Public Service and Administration in Agriculture. Aside from KinoSol, Mikayla serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence with the Startup Factory, a 52-week super accelerator program based in the Iowa State University Research Park. She is also a Laureate Global Fellow through the International Youth Foundation, an Entrepreneur Organization of Iowa Fellow, and an avid obstacle course racer.

Aug 20, 2018

PDG Rotary 6000, District Foundation Chair



A Rotarian since 1989, Chris was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Iowa City A.M., its treasurer for 8 years and club president 2000-01.  Chris’s Rotary focus has been international in both scope and action. At the club level Chris has been the club’s Youth Exchange Officer and Youth Exchange Counselor and the club’s counselor to four Ambassadorial Scholars and the club’s inbound GSE team liaison.  Both he and Vernette participated in the IowaMOST (Iowa Miles of Smiles – cleft-lip and cleft-palate surgeries Team) to Guatemala.  Vernette, has been a Rotarian since 2013 has been actively engaged in all of these activities since 1990.  To date, these two Rotarians have hosted 8 exchange students. Chris and Vernette are Paul Harris Fellows, Paul Harris Society and Bequest Society members and Rotary Foundation Major Donors.


In 1991, Chris became a “member for life” of the district’s Youth Exchange Committee.  He has served as District 6000 Treasurer and is currently on the district’s RYLA committee and Iowa RYLA, a District 5970-6000 joint one-week RYLA experience. From 2006 to 2014 he led the district’s Youth Exchange Committee.  He also served a year as an Assistant Governor.  Chris was the 2016-2017 District Governor for District 6000.  He has now accepted a three-year appointment as the chair of the District 6000 Foundation Committee.


Outside of District 6000 he will become president of South Central Rotary Youth Exchange (SCRYE) 2020-2021.  Chris just recently joined the North Central PETS executive committee.  Chris is a member of the board of directors of Rag4Clubfoot. 


They attended the 2013 Rotary Peace Conference in Honolulu. Additionally, they have attended Rotary International pre-conventions and conventions in Buenos Aries, Chicago, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, and Sao Paulo, Seoul and Atlanta.    They look forward to attending the 2018 Toronto convention.


He and Vernette are looking forward to serving Rotary for many years.

Aug 27, 2018

United Way of Story County

Kristin Pates, campaign director at United Way of Story County, is committed to inspiring people to join the fight for health, education, and financial stability of Story County. In her work with United Way, she is able connect caring people with meaningful ways to fund essential services for the betterment of the community.  She enjoys communicating the vision of United Way in large or small settings to share her enthusiasm for giving, advocating and volunteering.

Since joining the United Way team in February 2009, Kristin has trained hundreds of volunteers on how to convey the mission and vision of the organization and explain the strength of the United Way network. Kristin’s leadership, and that of dedicated volunteers, have helped grow United Way of Story County’s annual campaign by over 40% in eight years. During her term United Way of Story County rebranded to align with national standards, began a young donor affinity group, and expanded its Tocqueville Society by 600%. The successes in the annual drive mean increased fund allocation to help with several priority projects, including grade level reading, summer enrichment and education, homelessness prevention, and access to essential health services.

Prior to United Way Kristin was the executive director of a non-profit arboretum. Her educational background is in communication arts with an emphasis in public relations. Kristin’s volunteering includes serving eight years on the advisory board of Story County Community Foundation to strengthen endowment building in Iowa, as well as multiple terms on both Young Professionals of Ames and Friends of Roosevelt Park boards.

Sep 17, 2018

Ames Community Schools

Sep 24, 2018