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January-February 2021

New Year 2021 Global Programs

Sue Finestead Retirement

Sue FinesteadPlease join us in honoring Sue Finestead who will retire on January 14, 2021 after 42 years (to the day) of service to Iowa State University and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Sue has worked in a wide range of units for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, most recently committing her talents as an Account Specialist with the Global Programs office for the last two decades. In this role, Sue has provided accounting support for hundreds of program directors, international visitors, and students of all countries. Sue shepherded the office through the many transitions in business processes over the years and was critical in ensuring the office survived the transition to Workday. She has coordinated the Global Newsletter, the migration of the office to an online presence on the web and could beat any competitor in a game of “how is this done at ISU?”. Sue modeled a discipline to getting things done and has exhibited a dedication to the office that will not be easily replaced. Sue, and her stories of her animals, will be greatly missed.

While we are not able to gather in person to share our favorite memories, please visit this site to share comments, photographs or well wishes for Sue. Please contact Shelley Taylor if you have any questions.

International Students and Scholars: Change to Documentation Accepted as Proof of English Proficiency

Effective January 1, 2021, while departments are still welcome to conduct their own interviews with international visitors, these interviews conducted by the department can no longer serve as proof of English proficiency to meet Department of State requirements. Previously, departments were able to select "interview conducted by host department" when completing an international visitor application within CyStart, but this is no longer an acceptable option. Departments can now select from any of the following options:

  • English3 Interview Results [regular price $99 – E3 is offering 21% discount during 2021 due to pandemic]
  • TOEFL Score Report [test costs exceed $200 and vary by location]
  • IELTS Test Results [test costs exceed $200 and vary by location]
  • Signed document from an academic institution certifying English proficiency [subject to ISSO approval]
  • Scholar earned a degree from a school where the language of instruction was English [subject to ISSO verification]
  • English is the scholar’s native language [subject to ISSO verification]

As a reminder, the International Students and Scholars Office is no longer accepting score results from English proficiency tests not named above or signed documents from English language schools. For questions or concerns, contact Nicole Hurlburt at

Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods COVID Relief and Rehabilitation in Uganda campaign - Final Update

Ugandans planting seedsWe at the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods are truly inspired by the outpouring of support for our COVID Relief and Rehabilitation in Uganda campaign. Your contributions helped to exceed our $25,000 goal by raising a total of $27,720 before the $25,000 match, bringing the final amount raised during the drive to $52,720 from a record 142 generous donors! We are further moved that donations have continued to come in even after the close of this special fund drive.

Thanks to you, vulnerable families throughout Kamuli and Buyende districts are receiving food, blankets, soap, face masks, educational materials, safe water, sanitary facilities, and the planting materials necessary for individuals and communities to successfully emerge from this very difficult pandemic period. Because of your help, the seeds to recovery are literally being planted.

We encourage you to stay connected with the ISU Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods initiatives by visiting the CSRL website or following them on Facebook. Our important work happens year-round. Financial contributions to our ongoing development efforts are continually accepted at Inho! Thank you very much! 

Lee Burras Uruguay 2017
Dr. Lee Burras

Dr. Lee Burras Leads Virtual Study Abroad Courses

During the Fall 2020 semester, when international travel was not possible, Dr. Lee Burras, Morrill Professor in the Department of Agronomy, quickly adjusted to the circumstances at hand by creating two virtual study abroad courses with partners in Costa Rica and Uruguay. These courses helped CALS students learn more about the agricultural and environmental challenges, diversity of agricultural products and production, and culture of these two countries.

Thanks to Dr. Burras for helping students continue to have cultural experiences, even during 2020!

PISU-UP_Pupilmakingfacemasks_2020ivoting in a Pandemic - ISU-Uganda Program Finds New Ways to Serve

Written by Ann Y. Robinson

Some people must walk miles to reach clean water in Uganda. This is more of a hardship than ever, when regularly washing one’s hands or face covering can prevent infection from COVID-19.

Life-saving water is now more available in the country’s Kamuli and Buyende districts, thanks to Iowa State University’s Uganda Program, part of the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. With leadership from the program, three new boreholes (deep wells) now supply needed water to about 1,660 households, a hospital, schools and a nutrition education center. Read more.

Scholarship Impacts


Benjamin Walsh
Benjamin Walsh,
Natural History of Antarctica, Fall 2019

Behrens Scholarship for Study Abroad Scholar

The most rewarding part of my experience in Antarctica was getting to see the old whaling bases. I found it incredibly interesting to see places where explorers had been many years ago and see the state of the houses and equipment at these sites.

This scholarship allowed me to take the trip of a lifetime. Going to Antarctica was such an eye opening, and awe inspiring experience, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the generous scholarship.

Sara Chanez
Sara Chanez,
Natural History of Antarctica, Fall 2019

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Study Abroad Scholarship Scholar

The most rewarding part of my study abroad experience was seeing wildlife in its natural habitat which was a rare experience. I got to see penguins, whales, orcas, seals, and other Antarctic wildlife outside of captivation. It was truly a life changing experience.

This scholarship help me afford a once in a lifetime opportunity. If it was not for the help of family, friends, and the scholarship, I would not have been able to afford this trip on my own. I appreciate the donor support in helping students explore the world and to gain a new perspective.

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