Cyclone Scholar Summer Research Experience

Cyclone Scholar Summer Research Experience: A food systems approach to childhood obesity

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) at Iowa State University welcomes applications from undergraduate students for a summer research experience. Cyclone Scholars will perform interdisciplinary research with faculty mentors across the areas of food science and human nutrition to address solutions to childhood obesity. Cyclone Scholars will spend 8 weeks on campus conducting research, participating in workshops and exploring local food systems, agricultural food production and the food industry. Travel, housing and meals are provided.

The application requirements are:

  • Enrollment and good standing at an accredited institution with minimum of 2 semesters at one institution
  • Student must be enrolled in a four-year degree program
  • Student must be currently enrolled as a freshman, sophomore or junior (2017-18 school year)
  • Overall GPA > 2.5
  • Basic science course completion (biology and chemistry)
  • Career goals in the areas of food science, human nutrition, public health or related area
  • Two quality letters of recommendation (pdf only)
  • Official transcript (unofficial transcripts will not be accepted), which includes fall 2017 grades
  • Underrepresented students are encouraged to apply
  • Must be a U.S. citizen

Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2019 Cyclone Scholar Summer Research Experience

2019 Faculty Research Proposals

2019 Flyer

Additional resources for scholars:


Objectives of program

  • To engage undergraduate Scholars in food safety, food security, human nutrition and childhood obesity research
  • To develop skills required for scholarly research
  • To foster an integrated approach to the food system and its impact on societal challenges
  • To expose Scholars to career opportunities in research, Extension, industry and community service

Intellectual focus

Food safety, food security and childhood obesity are challenges facing the US that cannot be addressed independently. There are multiple interconnections between these issues that influence and affect each other in ways not fully understood. The intent of this program is to expose a new generation of researchers and professionals to the concept of interdisciplinary research to prepare them to tackle these food system issues in a comprehensive manner. ISU FSHN is ideally situated to provide this learning platform given our interdisciplinary department, location in a primarily food producing state, and strong integration of Extension across our institution and state.

Get to know ISU


Scholars enrolled in the program will be housed in University operated dormitories on the ISU campus. These facilities are fully equipped with disability access for students and provide secure living accommodations.


Scholars will be provided with meal tickets to use in ISU Dining facilities at several locations across campus that provide a wide range of food options throughout the day. Scholars with specific food preferences, allergies or requirements will be readily accommodated.

Health Center

Scholars will have access to Thielen Student Health Center for routine medical care and Mary Greeley Medical Center (including an emergency room) located less than 2 miles from campus.

Student research accommodations

Scholars will be assigned to a specific faculty mentor who will ensure each Scholar is provided with a desk in an office area near their research where they can secure their personal belongings during the day and issued keys for the areas where they will be working. Security and student safety on campus will be a priority and explained thoroughly during orientation.

World class facilities

The research facilities provided by ISU are world-class. All faculty have individually assigned laboratories that allow them to carry out their research located in the Food Sciences building, MacKay Hall and the Human Nutritional Sciences Building. Within these laboratories faculty have access to routine instrumentation (e.g. pH meters, balances, spectrophotometers, microscopes), biosafety and chemical hoods, preparatory equipment (e.g. centrifuges, filters, sieves), and specialized equipment (e.g. GC, HPLC, imaging, PCR). There are two research areas suitable for human subject research in HNSB and the Nutrition and Wellness Research Center located in the ISU Research Park which is about 1 mile from campus. These units provide metabolic kitchens with preparatory and storage capability, dining facilities, phlebotomy and subject testing areas (including metabolic cart, indirect calorimetry, BodPod, PeaPod, and DEXA).

For some projects, students will engage with one of the program partners that may be located off campus. ISU operates an efficient bus system, CyRide, that is free for students and provides access to many locations within the city of Ames. Students may use the bus system to travel to off-site locations, or they may be transported with their faculty mentors to these sites.