By Amber Friedrichsen
Three students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have been named recipients of the 2023 Wallace E. Barron All-University Senior Award. Established in 1968, the award recognizes students who display notable character, high academic achievement, and are actively involved in on- and off-campus activities.
Wallace E. “Red” Barron served as Iowa State University’s director of alumni affairs from 1937 until 1968. In addition to administering the award in his honor, the ISU Alumni Association will present recipients with the official Iowa State University ring. The students awardees also will be honored during a luncheon in April.
This year’s awardees from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences include:
Jaden Ahlrichs, senior in global resource systems and horticulture, became interested in food security issues after attending the World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute as a high school student. His participation in the program piqued his interest in the global resources systems major at Iowa State and led him to work as the communications intern for the World Food Prize in 2019.
Ahlrichs has also gained hands-on experience by working at the Horticulture Research Station and completing an international internship at the University of Montpellier in France. There, he and his peers worked in an agripolymer laboratory and developed a non-dairy yogurt product made out of chickpea and lentil flour.
“We ground up the beans, added lactic acid bacteria, and fermented it in a hot water bath. Then it solidified into a yogurt consistency,” Ahlrichs said. “It was very much a trial by fire experience, but I learned a lot and it was amazing.”
Ahlrichs has been a residence hall community advisor and a senator for the Inter Residence Hall Association on student government. He currently serves as the student body vice president and strives to communicate students’ concerns to administration, facilitate university events, and promote resources available on campus.
“I’ve always had an interest in leadership in government and public service, and being vice president is fulfilling that niche,” Ahlrichs said.
He is also a member of Cardinal Key and Alpha Zeta. After graduation, he will be a lead agronomist for Sustainable Environmental Consultants in West Des Moines, Iowa, where he will help farmers improve their production practices to minimize their environmental footprints and boost their profitability.
Julia Campbell is a senior in agricultural business and economics with an emphasis in finance. During her time at Iowa State, she has been active at the department, college and university levels. She served two years as an officer in the Agricultural Business Club and as a peer mentor for freshmen in agricultural business.
“I’ve always enjoyed coursework about how people interact, how markets function, and the dynamics of certain variables,” Campbell said.
She has also been a CALS Ambassador, welcoming prospective students to campus, and served as the 2021-2022 Iowa State University Student Body President.
“It was cool to play a role in the decisions that were being made and provide input from students based on their experiences that year to administration and the Board of Regents,” Campbell said. “Being able to connect the unique needs of so many different groups was something that I really enjoyed and helped me grow my analysis skills.”
She was a student employee in the CALS Career Services Office for three years where she helped organize the college’s career fair each fall and spent time working as an undergraduate teaching assistant for Econ 235 and Econ 101. Campbell has also been a Recreation Services group fitness instructor and is a member of the Cardinal Key Honor Society. This spring, she is clerking for two members of the Iowa House of Representatives at the state capitol.
Campbell has interned with John Deere for the past four summers, working in various divisions of the company. Some of the teams she collaborated with focused on precision technology business development, product–customer support and managing John Deere’s strategic accounts. Last fall, she interned with Corteva Agriscience in their turf and ornamental business on the West Coast and will start working full time for the company as an associate territory manager after graduation to support customers and help them make strong business decisions.
As a freshman, Wittrock worked in the Department of Veterinary Medicine in a molecular virology and vaccine development laboratory studying second generation COVID-19 vaccines. The following year, she joined a research team in the Department of Kinesiology to study hemodynamics, which is the study of blood flow in the human body.
“We did a placebo controlled clinical trial on human volunteers,” Wittrock said. “It was great to have the chance to interact with participants for our research.”
Wittrock is a part of the Stupka Undergraduate Research and Planning Committee, and currently serves as both the fundraising chair and the sponsorship chair. She is also the Liberal Arts and Sciences Council liaison for the Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology Club, the Pre-Health Conference liaison for the Pre-Med Club, and an active member of a student ministry group called ISU Navigators.
“One benefit of being in a variety of clubs is getting a better picture of what things look like on other parts of campus and forming connections across other majors,” Wittrock said. “As a professional, one of the best skills to have is being able to work with people from different backgrounds.”
Wittrock will attend medical school after graduating from Iowa State and wants to continue conducting research in a clinical setting throughout her career. She hopes to find ways to treat or cure human diseases and discover new methods of therapy for her patients.