Graduate Bios

Josh Bauer

Joshua Bauer
Conservation Management, anticipated graduation in 2018
Federal Wildlife Officer, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 

“The Upper Iowa University Science Department has supported me every step of the way, providing me guidance as I work to attain my career and personal objectives. Upper Iowa has a team of faculty and staff that is second to none.

“UIU has developed a very hands-on approach to its conservation program, and each instructor has the experience to teach from an in-the-field perspective. Being located in the northeast corner of the state, Upper Iowa is also centrally located to a large number of public recreation areas. These resources provide an ample amount of natural, outdoor classroom opportunities.

“I don’t believe potential conservation students can find a similar program in the state. If you want to excel in this field it takes more than a degree. You need to develop solid networking skills and contacts, and benefit from hands-on training and real-world experiences. UIU helps you take those first steps in achieving your life’s ambitions.”

Olivia Meier

Olivia Meier
Biology, with Chemistry and General Business minors, 2015
Accepted at University of Iowa Dental School

“When I came on my initial visit I immediately loved the people here, everyone was so friendly. Then when the classes actually began I quickly discovered that the UIU staff and faculty are all wonderful people, who will go the extra mile to assure each student succeeds.

“Taking rigorous courses in a short period of time forced me to improve my management skills. My professors in the science department pushed me and inspired me to grow in my field of study. Juggling the various campus activities with my academics also instilled time-management skills.

“I was also able to get involved in campus activities in a variety of ways. I was able to meet people from all over the world and learn about different cultures. The people you meet and make connections with here are incredible people. On top of all this, you receive a great education. The students are taught by professors who will bend over backwards for their students. Most important to me was that I received a very challenging education, which prepared me for dental school and other future endeavors.”

Pinima Godpower

Pinima Godpower
Biology, 2016
Undetermined Medical School

“My favorite part of the science program is the class sizes, which gives me the opportunity to better relate to my professors on a one-on-one basis. The faculty knows me by name and easily relates to me and any struggles I face in class.

“Despite the small classroom size, the faculty uses different learning techniques to deliver a quality education to all students. I am able to do better in classes due to the small number of faculty. I know and understand most of the professors’ educational methods, thereby helping me achieve better grades.”

Originally from Rivers State, Nigeria, Pinima recently participated in the Atlantis Project Summer Internship program. The Alantis Project gives students from around the world an opportunity to experience European culture and health care programs, providing internships in public hospitals.

“This gave me insight into the lives of health care professionals and has only cemented my decision to further study medicine. And without UIU’s scholarship program, I would not have been able to come to America, which is a great country, with the best education and an abundance of opportunities.”

Mitch McCarthy

Mitch McCarthy 
Conservation Management, ES minor, 2012
Door County Soil and Water Conservation District
Sturgeon Bay, WI

"In actuality the time you spend in college is miniscule when compared to the time spent in the work force. With that being said learn and retain as much information as possible so that you are prepared for any challenges that you encounter. The professors are very approachable and are willing to help the students in any way possible."

Kate Zimmerman

Katie Zimmerman
Conservation Management, 2007
Executive Director, Ringgold County Conservation, Iowa

"College is really the time for you to shine. This will be the platform for which you base your career choices. Upper Iowa gave me the skills I needed to be a diverse and well-rounded potential employee in the conservation career field. The professors at Upper Iowa don't just want to see you graduate, they want to see you thrive. In choosing Upper Iowa, I made the conscious choice to exceed in my career."

"My decision to go to Upper Iowa University was not made lightly. My first meeting with my Advisor, now retired, Dr. Lew Churbuck only confirmed my decision that this was the right place for me. I came in with a plan, to graduate in 3 years and get out in the field. Thanks to Dr. Lew Churbuck, Dr. Scott Figdore, Dr. Kata McCarville, Dr. Richard Klann and Dr. Erik Olson, that dream became a reality. From day 1, these professors were 100% behind me and my career goals. If you had asked me as a freshman at Upper Iowa, if I could make Conservation Director at age 25 as one of only eight female Directors in the state of Iowa, well I probably wouldn't have believed you. These amazingly talented professors have continued to be an inspiration and a constant support system for me, even now, many years after graduating from Upper Iowa."

Kate Giannini

Kate Giannini
Conservation Management, 2006
Soil and Water Conservation Specialist, Partnership between Johnson County & Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District

"While attending UIU that is where I found my niche. When I first ventured into this field of study starting at Kirkwood Community College (KCC) I really wanted to be a Conservation Officer, or work at a Wildlife Unit. After learning at UIU that nearly 96% of land in Iowa is privately owned, that's when the light bulb moment occurred. Private lands is where I felt I needed to focus. I started researching the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), and felt this where I needed to make my commitment. I decided to do my senior thesis on the Conservation Reserve Program, which landed my first job at a SWCD in Lee County, helping private landowners create or enhance wildlife habitat."

"The academic excellence of the UIU faculty and their commitment to education and forming our next generation of leaders really fulfilled my university experience. UIU really showed me its dedication to its student's success and was always on the leading edge of knowledge, research, and technology."

Ryan Barness

Ryan Barness
Biology, Class of 2006
Lab technician in the electron microscopy laboratory at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. 

"Upper Iowa provided me with a good foundation. Other lab technicians (who graduated from other institutions) struggled, while I just fell right into it."

Lindy Tommasin

Lindy Tommasin
Biology/Chemistry, Class of 2006
Nurse Practitioner at Oelwein Family Medicine, Oelwein, Iowa

"I got all my requirements through Upper Iowa.

"I learned about the human body from the cellular level on up, and had it not been for my professors and their support, I'm not sure I would have been as prepared as I was. They were there all the time and always helpful and willing to do more to help us learn. If I wanted to get more involved, they had ideas and projects ready to satisfy my curiosity."

Dano Grayson

Dano Grayson
Biology, Class of 2009
Freelance Wildlife Photographer

"I'm very happy with everything that I've learned through Upper Iowa that's led to these possibilities," said Grayson. "Had I not come back to Upper Iowa, (the trip) to Ecuador wouldn't have happened, Florida wouldn't have happened, and the trip to the's like trying to cross a river using stepping stones. You're eye-balling the next one while you're on the first one."

Troy McQuillen

Troy McQuillen
Plant Science Major, Class of 2006
Instructor at Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

"I'm always sending students to Fayette to further their education. Upper Iowa has an altogether great atmosphere for learning. It's nice to have a campus all in one spot, and it's so easy to communicate with everyone – from admissions to financial aid to faculty – everyone. I got that vibe right away when I went up for orientation."

John Maehl

John Maehl
Conservation Management, Class of 1997 and 2003
Supervisor for the northeast district of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

"UIU had a very streamlined process for transferring my credits from Kirkwood to Upper Iowa. It was a very polished process. Also, a great majority of DNR employees in eastern Iowa have degrees from Upper Iowa. These are very successful people who are leaders in conservation management. It just made sense to go to Upper Iowa."

Jarrod Villont

Jarrod Villont
Biology, Class of 2011
Works in the Endocrinology Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic

"I am extremely appreciative of all the work, efforts, and time that my instructors at UIU put in, toward preparing me for the clinical laboratory science (CLS) program at the Mayo Clinic.

"Early on, Upper Iowa University placed me in a job-shadowing experience in a small nearby hospital's laboratory. This experience not only gave me insight into what it is like to work in a small clinical laboratory, but also began to lay the framework of some of the knowledge that I would need to know.

"My professors prepared me extremely well for the interview that is required to gain acceptance into the CLS program at the Mayo Clinic. By helping me prepare prior to my interview, I was able to go into the interview being calm, confident, and composed as well as being able to treat the interview as not only a chance to further my education, but also as a job opportunity. I have since completed the CLS program at the Mayo Clinic, taken and passed my national certification board exam, and am now working in the Endocrinology Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic."