Diversity/Openness at Iowa State/Ames

My daughter is from Chicago area and Mexican American. She has grown up in a large suburban community and a large suburban high school. We are wondering how Ames and Iowa State will welcome her or treat her as a Mexican American. Any experience? Thoughts? We did visit and noticed there was not a lot of diversity. Thanks!

I don’t know specifically about Iowa state, but a lot of students from the Chicago area attend. So she should be able to find some “friendly” faces.

I don’t know, but I live on the east coast and the only two people who I knew who attended Iowa State (and loved it) are African-American women. They were the reason we looked at the school as an option. I did run Common Data Set comparisons on several schools and Iowa State was not as non-diverse as I thought, though I think a lot of the diversity is international. If I can find my comparison, I will post or you can Google CDS for the U and read for yourself

Ames is a great college town. People are down to earth and friendly. She should have no problem.

Thank you everyone!

@treschicos you have hit on it exactly. I asked the school and they blend “minority” and international together. We asked during our engineering admitted student visit and a woman with WISE admitted that the numbers aren’t great but they are trying to rectify them, which is amazing. They do offer this great APEX program in the summer for minority students coming there. But for my daughter, I am just worried about the now for her.

@yourmomma and @MYOS1634 - thank you! I have heard the same thing about Ames – lots of people form Chicago and that it is just a great place.

I found my data: pretty darn white: 71 / 4.4 / 2.6 for white/ Hispanic / African-American which is what I was interested in for comparing schools my kids are looking at. But it’s not zero…

@treschicos yes! The school is amazing in terms of engineering and that old fashioned Midwest college campus feel, but my daughter noticed the lack of people like her and it jarred her. Everyone she met was excited to include her, but she has never been a true minority in that way of numbers.

It’s still on my list of favorites for my kids but is not on their list of favorites right now. One thinks it is too conservative (welcome to life outside the big city bubble I say) and other is considering for engineering but has a couple other choices she seems to prefer for “prestige” factors. I thought that Iowa State felt more diverse from our visit than some other schools with higher number of minorities, but can’t articulate why. Perhaps because the supports seemed more obvious and integrated into campus life than other Us.

@treschicos they have an active LEAD living learning community and group, they have multiple different engineering organizations, and they have WISE for women (which based on your name may not be relevant to you!). You probably are aware, but the huge draw for my daughter are the two job fairs they do and the amazing list of employers that recruit on campus: http://www.engineering.iastate.edu/ecs/companies/

It is ranked by US News and World Reports as #40 and they give good money. We are OOS (from Chicago) and the money they have offered to my daughter makes it less than Illinois. My daughter safely gets into schools in this range, but not in the top 20 range so for us Iowa is more prestigious, however we are from the midwest too. :slight_smile:

Maybe s/he read an article about Steve King, who represents the district that Ames is in?

@ucbalumnus yes very true. He is scary and his mentality is exactly what I am worried about. It isn’t really about a “bubble” but about facing hatred and non-acceptance. Just in December 2017 King tweeted this, “Diversity is not our strength. Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.”" Hoping that is not the mentality of people on campus.

Actually, this reminds me – I will be asking Iowa State directly what they think of this. Thank you for the reminder. Not sure I can send my daughter into this.

Data: https://www.ir.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/factbook/Students/Enrollment%20by%20Race%20Ethnicity.pdf

Thank you bopper! I have that exact pdf. We are looking for information more about the atmosphere and the interactions, but those numbers definitely help. Thanks.

You could also look at the clubs…are there some? Are they active? Perhaps contact them and ask what they think.



Check out the Diversity initiatives

Thank you! I have contacted them and they do exist (at least focused on engineering).

I have not seen the ones you linked to, checking these out now – very helpful! Thanks!

These are great, I plan to reach out to these groups. Thank you.

(your daughter should be reaching out)

Yes, if she can she will be. Thanks!

The State of Iowa is over 91% white. Iowa State is comparative diverse, but, as one of two Iowa flagship universities, and with 69% in-state students, it’s not surprising that the university’s demographics are not all that different from the State’s.

By the way, the engineering college is excellent. My youngest son is a sophomore from Phoenix and loves it in Ames. He has two older brothers who are also studying engineering, one at Texas A&M and the other at Miami (Ohio). Student support at ISU is better than at A&M and at least as good as at Miami, which prides itself on undergraduate education (no PhD students). ISU’s career fair is outstanding and its career placement statistics are great.