About our Students

Amanda
Vera Priscari, Senior in Nutritional Science and is currently applying to Medical School.

Vera Priscari

Major: Nutritional Science
Hometown: Davenport, IA
Extracurricular Activities: Honors Program, Community Advisor, Cyclone Aide, Destination Iowa State Team Leader, Volunteer as a Patient Sitter at Mary Greeley Medical Center, Study Abroad at University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland)

How did you choose to come to Iowa State University?

I chose Iowa State University because it checked off everything on my list and more- from great academics and world-renowned professors, to a huge selection of study abroad opportunities, to over 800 student clubs and organizations. ?With such a large selection, I knew I would be getting more than a degree; I was starting an adventure.

What experience at Iowa State has made the greatest impact in your life?

Although not directly at Iowa State, the most impactful experience I?ve had in college was studing abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland. ?I?ve learned so much about time management, finances, and being self-suffient. ?I feel a lot more comfortable about moving to a new place after college now because it can?t be any more different than my experience in Scotland! ?I also made lots of friends from all over the world who helped me find lots of great things to explore in Europe- from museums and shopping in Edinburgh, to train trips to London, and even sailing in Sardinia, Italy for spring break. ?It was a whirlwind of trips, friendships, and memories, but the best feeling of all? Coming home.

Do you have a favorite memory or meaningful experience from Iowa State?

I have many favorite memories of Iowa State! ?I think I am very lucky because my best memories also happen to be Iowa State traditions, so I can experience them every year. ?Like many students, I enjoy all the festivities of Homecoming week and VEISHEA, but my favorite is Engineers? Week (E-Week). ?E-Week is in September and wraps up with E-Ball, a dance social with appetizers, great live and DJ music, and even dance classes. ?What I love most about E-Ball is that it is open to everyone, not just a single major or college. ?I also love the opportunity to dress up and see all of my friends enjoy a glamorous night right here on campus. ?Maybe I will see you there this year?

What are your future plans and/or plans after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to go to medical school or graduate school in clinical psychology. ?In everything I do, I find that I love meeting people and really connecting with them through conversation and personal relationships. ?I hope to carry this joy with me into my career by becoming a caring physician or a personable couseling psychologist. ?With my background in Nutritional Science, I hope to specialize in eating disorders, which include both over and undernutrition.

What activities have you been involved with at Iowa State University?

In my time at ISU, I have been a leader in several different settings, but being a WiSE Peer Mentor was my most rewarding experience. We had so much fun (I had a co-mentor back in the day)! Our girls encouraged us to have lots of activities, from coloring nights, to trips to Lied Recreation Center for yoga, to even taking a trip to Jordan Creek mall in Des Moines, IA. ?We participated in serious events as well, such as self-defense seminars, resume workshops, and volunteered as judges at the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa. ?I know I made a difference in their lives, but the girls also left a huge impression on me. ?I learned so much courage, determination, and creativity from them. ?I opened my learning community to Iowa State and they opened me up to endless opportunities. ?It was a great experience to grow as a leader, mentor, student, and a female in a science field.

Do you do research on campus?

I have been an undergraduate research assistant in 3 research labs on campus! ?I participated in the Freshman Mentor Program with the Honors Program my freshman year and worked with Dr. Braun in the Plant Pathology department learning about downy mildew treatments for soybeans. ?During my sophomore year, I participated in a summer internship with WISE and worked with Dr. Sakaguchi in the Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology (GDCB) department. ?I worked on a project with Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) gene production in murine (from mice) mesenchymal stem cells and presented my findings in a paper and poster presentation in July 2010. ?Finally, I worked in a Food Science and Human Nutrition lab with Dr. Hendrich in fall 2011 as part of my FSHN 490 class. ?I worked on studying the effects of Echinacea, a common herb, had on a known cancer cell line. ??From all of these experiences, I learned a lot about putting theory learned in the classroom into practice. ?Working in a research lab developed my critical thinking and problem solving skills, valuable traits that are important to all employers and graduate programs.

What is your advice to incoming students?

I would advise new students to not be afraid of change, in fact, you should expect it. ?Iowa State University has lots of opportunities to get involved and discover who you are and who you want to be. ?It is likely that in the process you will make mistakes, so expect to have to deal with them. ?Also expect that your interests will evolve. ?You may take up new hobbies, change your major, and end up in a place you haven?t even yet imagined. ?Come to college with an open mind and have the time of your life.