Leadership Studies Program
Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, Iowa State University

Contact: Dr. Tara Widner, Leadership Studies Program, (515) 294-7664,

AMES, Iowa – A unique leadership program takes Iowa State University students beyond the classroom to better understand leadership and global challenges – such as clean drinking water, poverty and food insecurity – and the impact for international corporations.

The Vermeer International Leadership Program is a year-long, in-depth cohort leadership experience in which students learn how companies operate on an international scale. Launched in fall 2015, the program is sponsored by Vermeer Corporation, a global industrial and agricultural equipment company. It is administered through Iowa State’s Leadership Studies Program, coordinated by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics.

The 20 students selected for the 2018-2019 academic year cohort will identify and research a global challenge as part of their leadership courses, engage in leadership development activities and travel to Vermeer headquarters in Pella to interview team members. They will also spend a week at the Vermeer Europe, Middle East and Africa facility in Goes, Netherlands, over the university’s spring break.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to study leadership through a global lens and intentionally work to improve their cultural competency,” said Tara Widner, lecturer in leadership studies, who coordinates the program. “The first three years of the program were a success, and I’m excited to see the partnership between Vermeer and the Leadership Studies Program at Iowa State continue to grow with the selection of our fourth group of students.”

A new cohort of students will participate every year over the first five years of the program. All full-time Iowa State students are eligible to apply. Students are selected through an application and interview process, with priority given to students who have an interest in engineering, business or agriculture with at least two academic years left in their plan of study. The 2018-2019 cohort of 20 students was selected from 115 applications.

“Congratulations to the students selected for the 2018-2019 academic year,” said Jason Andringa, president and CEO of Vermeer Corporation. “This program is an exciting opportunity for these future leaders to help make an impact in the state of Iowa and beyond. We are excited to be a part of their development.”

Financial support from Vermeer for the program provides each student selected with a travel stipend for their international experience; a $2,000 scholarship; and a variety of leadership opportunities including retreats, leadership assessments, collaboration opportunities, and

networking with Vermeer and ISU leaders. The students selected also take one leadership course together in both the fall and spring semesters.

The 2018-2019 class of students and their majors are listed below by their state or country and hometown.

Fort Collins – Ana Elliott – Communication Studies

Mumbai – Harshit Shah, Supply Chain Management

Ackley – Bethany Lippert, Industrial Engineering
Belmond – Josephine Trager, Chemical Engineering
Cedar Rapids – Dowen Kabula, Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Leadership Studies Des Moines – Mohamed Gesalla, Electrical Engineering
Grimes – Matthew Brightman, Mechanical Engineering
Holstein – Peyton Boyle, Agricultural Business
Indianola – Nicholas Battles, Global Resource Systems & Agriculture and Society
Iowa Falls – Micaela Choate, Agricultural Business
Osceola – Reed Morris, Finance & Accounting
Pella – Carl De Vries, Aerospace Engineering
Preston, Iowa – Marta Grant, Agricultural Business
Urbandale – Ally Schaer, Construction Engineering
Webster City – Madalyn Casady, Agricultural Business & Public Relations

Owatonna – Riley Arthur, Agriculture Business & Economics

Kathmandu – Jayant Shah, Computer Science

Guaynabo – Daniela Rivera Piedra, Marketing

North Richland Hills – Daniel Shaw, Mechanical Engineering

Onalaska – Daniela Gatica, Animal Science Pre-Vet

The Leadership Studies Program at Iowa State University is open to undergraduate students in all academic disciplines and colleges. Students who earn the 21-credit-hour certificate or 15-credit-hour minor demonstrate substantial learning of leadership capacities through education, development and engagement activities. The program is coordinated by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. The center was founded in 1992 at Iowa State University to interest, educate and engage citizens in the political process and honors Carrie Chapman Catt, a distinguished alumna of Iowa State and leader of the women’s suffrage movement. For more information about the Catt Center, visit For more information about the Leadership Studies Program, visit