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July-August 2020

Where Can I Travel?

Reminder about travel restrictions available on the Covid-19 informational page: Employee FAQ

What travel restrictions are in place?

International Business Travel
In accordance with Board of Regents policy, all foreign travel by faculty, staff, and students for university purposes is prohibited, regardless of whether the travel would have been funded by the university or other sources. The Board of Regents is extending the 30-day international travel ban by 7 days each Monday until conditions improve.

Domestic Business Travel
In accordance with the Governor’s direction and Board of Regents policy, all non-essential university domestic travel for faculty, staff, and students is prohibited until further notice, regardless of whether the travel would have been funded by the university or other sources. This restriction pertains to interstate travel.

Domestic student internships, practica, and preceptorships for course credit or as required by degree programs are deemed essential for student academic progress and are allowed by the university. 

In all other cases, university-sponsored essential domestic travel is only permitted with the express approval of the appropriate Senior Vice President or the University President.

Submit travel requests to Requests must demonstrate that travel is essential to university operations; that no alternative method of convening is possible; and the health and safety of Iowa State employees will be appropriately managed.

Individuals that are approved for university sponsored domestic travel may have isolation or other restrictions imposed before they may return to campus. 

Travel within Iowa can continue. That said, the university strongly recommends decisions are made to reduce in-state travel, consistent with our goal of taking reasonable actions to reduce transmission risk. Some factors to consider when evaluating in-state travel include: whether the activity is necessary to enable a student to remain on-track for degree completion; whether the activity could be postponed, moved online, or done by phone; the number of attendees and whether the attendees can practice social distancing (e.g. sitting at least six feet apart); and whether the activity supports a critical issue or need in an Iowa community.

Personal Travel
There are no university rules restricting travel by faculty, staff, and students for personal reasons. It is important to note that, aside from incidental university business such as checking email and making phone calls, university business may not be conducted while traveling out of state or internationally for personal reasons. Faculty, staff, and students who travel out of state or internationally should be aware that they may have isolation or other restrictions imposed by other states or countries that could restrict or delay some aspects of their travel and/or their return to Iowa.

We strongly urge you to use extreme caution and judgment for personal travel. Please check the state and territorial health department websites for the latest information. 

Health and Safety For All
Faculty, staff, and students who travel out-of-state or internationally for any reason are subject to the same guidelines regarding working on campus as all others. 

Faculty, Staff, and students who travel internationally may be subject to mandatory isolation orders based upon CDC guidelines and should email before returning to campus. 

No general university isolation order is in place for employees who have traveled domestically out of state. Faculty, staff, and students who travel out of state are subject to the same guidelines regarding working on campus as all others. Faculty, staff, and students who are sick or who are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 should alert their supervisors, and should not report to campus. Likewise, those who believe that they have been exposed to COVID-19, but are not symptomatic, should contact their supervisor and should not come to campus until they are cleared to do so by the university.  

International Visitor Update

The June 22, 2020 Presidential Proclamation suspending entry of aliens who present a risk to the U.S. labor market following the coronavirus outbreak DOES NOT affect our exchange visitors in J-1 nonimmigrant status sponsored by Iowa State University (current or future). The Proclamation also DOES NOT impact students in F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status (current or future).

The Proclamation became effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on June 24, 2020.  It suspends entry to the U.S. through December 31, 2020 for individuals who wish to enter the U.S. in H-1B or H-4 status and may be “continued as necessary.”  It affects individuals who were outside the U.S. on June 24, 2020; who did not have a nonimmigrant U.S. visas in their passport that was valid on June 24, 2020; and who do not have an official travel document other than a visa (for example, advance parole based on a pending application for U.S. lawful permanent residence). 

It is the understanding our of International Students and Scholars Office that the U.S. consular officials and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agents will determine who meets these criteria.  No additional guidance has been provided at this time.

Student Spotlight

Grace Jakes with a new Ugandan friendGrace Jakes

Major: Animal Science & Global Resource Systems
Study Abroad Experience: Semester Along the Nile: Learning in Uganda

I never anticipated studying abroad when I first came to Iowa State. I didn’t think that I could afford it, and I wasn’t sure how it would fit in with my career goals and my academic path - Grace Jakes

Grace Jakes, a sophomore majoring in Animal Science and Global Resource Systems, was planning to spend a semester in Uganda, but had to return early because of the Covid-19 pandemic. “In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our study abroad experience in Uganda did end early, but that did not mean that our work and projects came to an end. Coming home during Spring Break, we were able to complete our projects from afar through collaboration with ISU-UP staff. I personally was able to complete an impact assessment of livestock program services and a research study on agricultural lime and manure supplementation to grow livestock forages. As difficult as it was to leave early, Iowa State was awesome about bringing us back safely at the right time. I sincerely appreciate the work of the Uganda-based staff and staff in Global Resource Systems and the CALS Study Abroad to keep us safe and still make our work and time meaningful to the program.”

Grace at the school gardensWhen Grace first arrived at Iowa State, she didn’t think she could afford a study abroad experience and was afraid that spending time abroad wouldn’t fit into her academic and career goals. At the same time, she was always interested in the role of agriculture in promoting food security and economic mobility. “When I learned about the Semester Along the Nile Program in Uganda, I saw a way that I could explore my passion, make a difference, and do something adventurous, outside of my comfort zone.”

Grace with Ugandan studentsDuring her work in Uganda, Grace was inspired by how hard all of the community members worked to achieve their goals while also helping others and hopes to follow their example in the future. Although working with diverse cultures was initially challenging for Grace, this experience opened her eyes to ways that she can help make Iowa State more welcoming to students from other countries and cultures. After overcoming the cross-culture barrier, Grace was able to develop life-lasting relationships with several Makerere University students that she hopes to continue staying in contact with in the future.

Grace said her advice to students interested in studying abroad is “Be creative and look for support to make your goals happen. Especially at Iowa State, there are many scholarships to help facilitate studying abroad and it might fit into your four-year plan more easily than you might think. Take the time to research about where you are going before you leave.”

Grace is has been involved with the Dairy Science Club at Iowa State as their Dairy Products Chair last year, served as a First Year Honors Program leader for the University Honors Program last fall and has been involved in the Salt Company since her freshman year, where she was honored to be selected for Iowa State’s chapter of the Cardinal Key Honor Society this spring.

Study abroad impact chart showing that 96% agree studying abroad was a good investment

*Data from students on CALS Study Abroad programs (Spring 2016-Fall 2019)

Scholarship Update

During 2019-2020 academic year the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Study Abroad office processed and awarded a total of $58,780 to 114 students from 17 study abroad scholarships.

Scholarship Programs Total Amount Awarded Number of Recipients
Behrens Scholarship for Study Abroad $7,200 8
CALS Study Abroad Scholarship $6,000 10
CALS Dean's Study Abroad Leadership Scholars $15,000 21
Dean's Global Food & Ag Leadership Program $4,200 7
Dwight and Marilyn Conover Study Abroad Scholarship $800 1
Global Agriculture Programs Travel Scholarship $2,000 4
Jay and Julie Cornelius Jacobi Scholarship for Agricultural Study Abroad $3,800 4
Jerry Benning Study Abroad Fund $500 1
John and Sandee Bonner International Travel Fund $2,000 2
Louis M. Thompson Study Abroad Scholarship $1,200 1
Max and Denise Rothschild Undergraduate Student Foreign Travel Fund $3,000 3
Passport Initiative $6,380 44
Shelley Taylor Study Abroad Student Support Fund $1,100 2
Study Abroad Scholarship Endowment $1,600 2
Wanda Cornelius CALS Study Abroad Scholarship Endowment $2,000 2
William K. Deal Scholarship $1,000 1
Willi and Dali Meyers Fund for CALS Student International Engagement $1,000 1

Click here to see scholarship recipients list, term studied abroad, and program studied abroad (pdf)

Amanda Fortman in Sevilla, SpainThis scholarship means the world to me. Without donors there is no way I would have been able to afford this amazing experience and learned as much as I did. I truly appreciate the support and one day hope to give back to others in the same way. The most rewarding part of my semester abroad in Sevilla, Spain was the opportunity to really get emerged in the culture. Through living in a home stay I got to practice my Spanish skills often and connect with my host mother. It was great to get immersed into the Spanish culture and make new friends along the way. - Amanda Fortman,  CALS Dean's Study Abroad Leadership Scholar, Ag Education & Studies & Global Resources Systems; Semester in Sevilla, Spain, Fall 2019

Carley Krull in AntarcticaAll scholarships have a different impact on students. For me receiving this scholarship shows that the donors see the importance of traveling abroad and the impact that it can have on students. These funds help make this adventure possible for me and took some of the burden off of myself and allowed me to better enjoy my travels! Thank you! The most rewarding part of my study abroad experience is being able to see a practically untouched part of the world! - Carley Krull, John and Sandee Bonner International Travel Fund Scholar, Animal Science & International Agriculture; Natural History of Antarctica, Fall 2019

Trevor Lewis in LondonThe scholarship gave me the opportunity to experience something that I never thought I would do. Coming to Iowa State as a freshman I never wanted to study abroad, and it wasn't until I started making friends and getting into my classes that I realized that I need to take full advantage of it at this time. It was a great experience to gain an international perspective while learning and traveling. I got the chance to meet students from all over the world and learn in a much different environment than I am used to. Learning in the British education system is much different and I felt I got a more international and real-world experience. - Trevor Lewis, Willi and Dali Meyers Fund for CALS International Engagement Scholar, Agricultural Business & Finance;  England: Semester/Summer at Richmond, The American International University in London, Fall 2019

Virtual Experience Opportunity - Perrotis College, American Farm School, Greece

Now that international travel is difficult, virtual programs can connect you to the best of Perrotis College!

For the Fall semester you can take 1 to 4 courses from the selected offerings, allowing you to create a tailor-made semester whether you are on campus, at home or even at work! The Virtual Year combines some of the most popular courses, spread out over 2 semesters. Study Mediterranean Diet in the Fall and learn about the business of Greek wine in the spring. You can also learn how humankind has affected the climate throughout history and follow up in the spring with Climate Change and Agro-environmental Health. All programs allow participation in the optional Study Tour – 9 days of living, breathing and eating the best of Greece! Read more

CALS Study Abroad Director Q & A

Dr. Kurt Rosentrater, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition has been leading the Cathedrals, Castles, Culture & Cuisine: Sustainable, Safe & Nutritious Food in France travel course since 2014.

Kurt Rosentrater with students abroadI feel very fortunate that I can lead these types of programs, because I try to incorporate things that I learn in France into my classrooms back on the ISU campus. I think that providing a broader perspective enriches what I am able to teach - Kurt Rosentrater

  • Why do you lead programs?
    • I love discovering new cultures, geographies, and places in the world. Helping students gain an appreciation for both similarities as well as differences between cultures, histories, ad perspectives, and helping them gain confidence in their abilities to navigate and become comfortable with a new place is extremely rewarding. Really, it is all about becoming global citizens, and becoming aware of not only ourselves, but others in the world.
  • What would you say to faculty that are considering leading a program?
    • For me, it is absolutely worth the investment of time and energy. I am constantly learning new things about students, their perspectives, as well as Paris itself...the history, the culture, and the people. There is always something interesting around the next corner! Every year our program evolves, which means reworking the logistics. We take public transportation while in Paris. Advice that I can give to faculty considering leading a program:  make sure to understand the logistics and timings to travel between places in your specific country/city. These may change due to changing itineraries or due to strikes, for example, so always have a Plan B and a Plan C.
  • What have you learned by leading programs?
    • I continue to learn about student perspectives.I continue to learn about Paris and France. But I also continue to learn about myself as well. I feel very fortunate that I can lead these types of programs, because I try to incorporate things that I learn in France into my classrooms back on the ISU campus. I think that providing a broader perspective enriches what I am able to teach.
  • What has been most memorable about leading a program?
    • Seeing students evolve and come out of their comfort zones. For example, it is amazing when students try to speak basic French to communicate with people in Paris, and within a very short time, they are gaining confidence and becoming comfortable doing so. This is also true in terms of navigating street maps as well as the Paris Metro. It is amazing how people can rise to the challenge!  We aren’t in Iowa anymore, and by and large students are willing to play the game and grow as people.
  • What do you like to do in your free time?
    • Either explore new museums that I have not yet seen before (there are ~100 in Paris), explore new cathedrals (again, ~ 100 in Paris alone), or spend a quiet, relaxing afternoon by the Grand Canal at Versailles Gardens soaking in the sun.
  • Is there a place that you would like to lead a program, but haven’t?
    • Armenia - its a place that most Americans will never see, but it a land full of beauty!
  • Why should students study abroad?
    • Expanding your horizons means more than exploring a new place and learning about its history and culture. It also means learning about yourself and how you relate to other people.
  • How would you encourage students to study abroad?Kurt Rosentrater with students abroad
    • ISU students are really fortunate to have so many opportunities for success. Study abroad programs are one of these opportunities. Gaining a new perspective on yourself, your culture, and your country is one of the most eye-opening experiences that a person can have.  And one that can impact you for the rest of your life.

Costa Rica Travel Course Now Accepting Applications

Students in beautiful Costa RicaStudents who are interested in a spring break travel course are encouraged to apply for the Integrated Management of Tropical Crops - Costa Rica travel course! The travel course will run from March 10 - 19, 2021, with an application deadline of November 1, 2020.

This program provides an introduction to production of a wide variety of tropical crops (coffee, banana, pineapple, mango, sugar cane, cut flowers, vegetables, papaya, etc.) from the perspective of Costa Rica. The class also explores Costa Rican ecology, history, and culture. Close cooperation with University of Costa Rica faculty allow many unique opportunities during the class visit.

Contact Jessica Boertje at with any questions about this program.

CSRL Update

A Ugandan student shows off a coronavirus maskRising Up to Meet the Need
With assistance from ISU-UP and donor support, the craft women of Tusubila and select students from the neighboring community were able to procure materials and undertake training to make reusable cloth masks that adhere to the Uganda Ministry of Health guidelines. So far the group has made 310 masks for distribution in Kamuli district and counting. The Government of Uganda has made the wearing of masks in public places compulsory to help control the spread of COVID 19. To date, Uganda has 774 Confirmed cases and 0 death cases.

A borehole digger in Kumali in UgandaWater is Life
CSRL and ISU-UP are concentrating on what CAN be done despite the pandemic. Today, we're having a new borehole drilled in Kamuli District. Next week we'll be adding one more. Access to clean water is more important than ever. This borehole will save community members a nearly 2 mile trip to their current water source. Each borehole is managed and maintained by a water user committee comprised of local community members.

Global Update, a newsletter to keep Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty and staff informed of international activities and initiatives, is prepared bi-monthly. To subscribe, send your name, e-mail address and the message "Global Update subscribe" to  To unsubscribe, send "Global Update unsubscribe."