Iowa State University Alumni Association

Stories Archive


Trent Preszler (L)(’98 interdisciplinary studies) has experienced success as CEO of Bedell Cellars on Long Island, but making great wine isn’t the only way he displays a passion for craftsmanship. Inspired and motivated by the grief he experienced following the death of his father, he opened Preszler Woodshop with the purpose of building canoes. He didn’t know the first thing about boatbuilding when he started, Preszler admits, but the slow process of becoming a boatbuilder was educational, therapeutic, and, in the end, cathartic. Newsday recently created a beautiful video about Preszler’s dual career as a winemaker and boatbuilder. Watch it here.


Iowa State University has a strong tradition of launching pioneering female students – from Carrie Chapman Catt’s (class of 1880) founding of the League of Women Voters to Jane Armstrong-Byrne ’57 becoming one of the first female vice presidents of a Fortune 500 Company to women like Mumbi Mwangi (PhD ’02 education) and Ellyn Bartges (L)(’85 history), colleagues at St. Cloud State University who took a bus to march on Washington in January to exercise their rights and their belief in the power of women. March is Women’s History Month, so we’re following Mumbi’s and Ellyn’s lead and celebrating women’s history in Cardinal & Gold. Here is some of the latest news about Cyclone women who are shattering the glass ceiling:

  • Nawal El Moutawakel (’88 phys ed), who in 1988 was the first Arab woman, first African woman, and first Muslim woman to win Olympic gold, broke even more new Olympic ground last summer when she became the first woman ever to chair the Olympics Coordination Commission. She was recently honored for her work as the 2016 coordination commission chair, which featured the Games’ first-ever refugee Olympic team.
  • The state of Iowa long held the dubious distinction of having no women in Congress or the governor’s mansion. Shattering that glass ceiling in the Senate in 2014 was one Iowa State alum, Joni Ernst (L)(’92 psychology), and soon to become the first female governor of Iowa is Kim Reynolds, who in December completed her ISU degree in liberal studies. Reynolds has been serving as lieutenant governor to Terry Branstad but will replace him in the post when he becomes U.S. Ambassador to China later this year.


When Christina Moffatt (’02 liberal studies) left a stable job with RDG Planning & Design to start the now-thriving Des Moines bakery and dessert lounge Crème Cupcake + Dessert in 2010, she leaned on the Iowa Small Business Development Center. Three weeks after starting work to open a storefront on Ingersoll Ave., she learned she was three months pregnant. Shortly thereafter, her mother suffered a massive stroke. It was mostly “because of good guidance and mentors,” Moffatt recently told Clay &, “that Crème survived.”

Today, the 2015 Iowa Woman Business Owner of the Year and Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” alum is paying her success forward in a new role: director of small business resources for The Greater Des Moines Partnership. In her new position, Moffatt will help other entrepreneurs navigate the “are we going to make it” phase but will also serve as a resource for existing businesses. Her new role will place special emphasis on promoting and growing businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans.

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