Iowa State students selected for new international leadership program

AMES, Iowa – A new leadership program will take Iowa State University students beyond the classroom to better understand 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 leadership experience, in which students will learn how companies operate on an international scale. The program is sponsored by Vermeer Corp., a global industrial and agricultural equipment company, and coordinated through Iowa State’s Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, which facilitates the university’s leadership studies program.

The 18 students selected will identify and research a global challenge as part of their leadership courses, address those challenges through local service projects and travel to Vermeer’s headquarters in Pella to interview employees and participate in case studies. They will also spend a week at a Vermeer facility in Europe, Asia or South America over winter break.    

“Students are going to experience an intense year of leadership development,” said Clint Stephens, lecturer in leadership studies, who will coordinate the program. “It will positively change the lives of participants as they build their skillset for leading in our global community.”

The leadership program will launch this fall, and a new cohort of 18 students will participate every year over the first four 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.  

“Congratulations to the students selected. This program is an exciting new way for us to contribute to the development of future leaders in the state of Iowa and beyond,” said Mary Andringa, CEO and chair of the board at Vermeer Corp. “We look forward to engaging with these students both on campus and during their trip abroad at our international facilities.”

Vermeer’s financial support for the program will provide each student with a travel stipend and a $2,000 scholarship. The inaugural class of students and their majors are listed below by hometown or country.


ADEL - Carter Kemmet, statistics

AMES - Christina Paulson, accounting

CLEAR LAKE - Reed Rognes, accounting

COLUMBUS CITY - Eli Sents, agricultural systems technology

DONNELLSON - Cassie Krebill, animal science

IOWA CITY - Alex DeGaetano, pre-business

KESWICK - Dakota Olson, global resource systems

POLK CITY - Francis Kelly, mechanical engineering

MUSCATINE - Olivia Carrasco, mechanical engineering

SIOUX CITY - Dequan Burnside, software engineering

WILLIAMSBURG - Arlette Rufer, industrial engineering


BLOOMINGTON - Madison Abel, supply chain management

GURNEE - Madelyn Sislow, animal ecology


BLOOMINGTON – James Hartley, agricultural engineering


AUSTIN - Erika Suessmith, animal science


PUERTO RICO - Adamarie Marquez-Acevedo, general pre-veterinary medicine

CHINA - Minhao Wang, mechanical engineering

SAUDI ARABIA - Nurul Ahmad Ridzuan, geology