Iowa Edge

2016 Iowa Edge participants

Sunday, August 13 - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The University of Iowa is an exciting place—full of academic, cultural, and social opportunities. Yet, attending a large university can be overwhelming and a little intimidating.

Many students have found that programs like The Iowa Edge eased their concerns and ensured a successful academic and social transition to the University of Iowa. The Iowa Edge is an exciting program for selected African American, Alaskan Native, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Latino/a, and first-generation college students.

Participate in The Iowa Edge and:

  • Meet faculty and campus leaders who will support you during your college experience
  • Build community with a group of peers before the semester begins
  • Develop leadership skills for success in class, on campus, and in life

On the first day of class, you'll feel like a seasoned pro—your first step to becoming a University of Iowa graduate! Move in early at no charge; lodging, meals, and program expenses for all participants are paid by a grant from the Kevin and Donna Gruneich Charitable Foundation.


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New students gain an edge at Iowa

The Iowa Edge Videos

Advisory Board Members

Lauren Garcia
Assistant Director
Center for Diversity and Enrichment

Nadine Petty
Center for Diversity and Enrichment

Kyra Seay
Communications Coordinator
Chief Diversity Office

Gabriela Rivera
Assistant Director, Diversity, Inclusion and Student Success
Henry B. Tippie College of Business Undergraduate Program Office

Richard Barajas
Director of Admissions
College of Pharmacy

Valerie Garr
Diversity Coordinator
College of Nursing

Sauvik Goswami
Senior Admission Counselor
Office of Admissions

Planning Committee Members

Alejandra (Alex) Almazan
Office of Student Financial Aid

Carly Armour
Student Disability Services

Dominique Brooks
Center for Diversity and Enrichment 

Dan Gall
Library Administration

Katie Miller
Center for Diversity and Enrichment

Eric Moy
Graduate Teaching Assistant

Jessica Padilla
Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC)

Tracy Peterson
College of Engineering

Marcus Phillips
Office of Admissions

Susie Regan
Career Leadership Assistant

Meagan Schorr
​Iowa Cancer Consortium

Peer Leaders

Peer Leaders are trained to provide a person-centered, community-centered orientation to university life the week before classes begin for students who face challenging issues of transition. Iowa Edge peer leaders directly address and positively impact these students’ rates of persistence, retention, and graduation.

If you have questions, please contact Lauren Garcia at

Associate Peer Leaders

Austin Hughes
English, Creative Writing, and Japanese
San Antonio, TX

Samuel Pang
Psychology and Public Health
Mount Pleasant, IA

Peer Leaders

Andrea Birtles
Chemical Engineering
Aurora, IL

Safiya Knighten
International Studies and Gender Women’s Sexuality Studies
Charles City, IA

LaChina Like

LaChina Like
Chicago, IL

Aaron Longoria

Aaron Longoria
Cinema and Journalism
San Antonio, TX

Juan Morales
Storm Lake, IA

Amam Nasir
Human Physiology
Keokuk, IA

Malik Salsberry
Enterprise Leadership
Davenport, IA

Faviola Santana
Business Management and International Business Certification
Sioux City, IA

Tristan Schmidt
Floyd, IA

Ariana Smith
Management and Marketing
Lake View, IA

Nidia Villalpando
Human Physiology
Rock Island, IL

Chastity Williams

Chastity Williams
Civil Engineering
Country Club Hills, IL

Alantra Wright
Milwaukee, WI 

Jiajing Zhang
Journalism and Mass Communication
Nanjing, China

The Iowa Edge (TIE) Student Organization

The purpose of The Iowa Edge Student Organization is to provide year-round academic, social, and volunteer programming for all students; with a focus on student of color, first-generation students, and Iowa Edge alumni. It is a student organization created by Iowa Edge alumni with the ultimate aim of increasing both student retention, student diversity, and the quality of student life at the University of Iowa.

The goal of The Iowa Edge Student Organization will be to provide leadership opportunities and year-round programming for all Iowa Edge alumni and the multicultural community. The Iowa Edge Student Organization will aim to help foster community and student success among the overall community of color. Building from The Iowa Edge program, the organization will pursue continued growth at both the community and individual level through community building, diversity education, and student support.

The organization will provide enriching academic, social, and volunteer programming opportunities throughout the year that all students may take part or become active leaders in organizing; with the purpose of increasing both student retention, student diversity, and the quality of student life at the University of Iowa. This will be done for all students, with a particular focus on students of color, first-generation students, and specifically Iowa Edge alumni.

IESO Board 2016-17

President: Tristan Schmidt
Vice President: Samuel Pang
Treasurer: T'Shailyn Harrington
Secretary: Sandra Amouzou
VP of Programming: Cristina Perez
VP of Public Relations: Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw

Advisor: Kyra Seay

 If you are interested in joining The Iowa Edge Student Organization, please join our group on Facebook.


The Iowa Edge is funded by the Kevin and Donna Gruneich Charitable Foundation.

The Iowa Edge is coordinated by a coalition of UI students, faculty, and staff. Individuals from the following academic programs and campus offices plan and implement The Iowa Edge.

Kevin Gruenich

Kevin Gruneich BBA 1980 Park City, Utah

“I am just beginning to return the investment others have made in me.”


Where is the link to apply for The Iowa Edge Program?

On this Iowa Edge program page there are 3 blue buttons on the right side of the screen. Please click on the 3rd button that reads, "How to Apply/Enroll.” There should be a hyperlink to the application that says “2017 Iowa Edge Application.” The application should display after clicking that link.

I’m not sure if my application went through.

If you believe that your application did not submit successfully, please send an email with your name and the date that you suspect that you submitted your application to Lauren Garcia at

I might miss a day of the Iowa Edge Program date, can I still apply for the program?

Since the Iowa Edge program is limited in the number of students who can actually participate (the program only selects 100 students) we can only accept students who can commit to completing the program in its entirety. 

I will be living off campus, can I still participate in the Iowa Edge Program?

While the Iowa Edge program is designed for students who live on-campus, we will accept students into the program who live off-campus. It will be your responsibility to arrive on- campus each day at the assigned time and stay for the duration of the program each day, or a cancellation fee will be assessed. For planning purposes we would like to know where you will be living during the week of Iowa Edge, so that we may provide you with appropriate logistical communication regarding your participation in the program. Please note that the application will request that your address of residence be submitted before submitting the application.

What are the benefits of participating in The Iowa Edge Program?

There are several benefits to participating in the Iowa Edge program, for example student in this program will be able to:

  • Meet faculty and campus leaders who will support you during your college experience
  • Build community with a group of peers before the semester begins
  • Develop leadership skills for success in class, on campus, and in life

On the first day of class, participants will feel like a seasoned pro—their first step to becoming a University of Iowa graduate! 

I am participating in the Honors Primetime program, Iowa Link, Hawkeye Marching Band, or another program that has conflicting times with the Iowa Edge Program. Can I still participate in Iowa Edge and my other program simultaneously?

Unfortunately, due to significant time overlaps, it is not possible for students to participate in the Iowa Edge program if they are also participating in Honors Primetime, the Hawkeye Marching Band, or any other conflicting program. 

What date/time should I arrive on campus if I am selected for the Iowa Edge Program?

Students should expect to move into their resident hall (dorm) sometime during the designated move-in time from 10:00am to 2:00pm on Sunday August 13th.

Will I be charged to move into my dorm room early?

No, the Iowa Edge Program will cover the cost of early move-in.

Will I be able to move directly into my actual dorm room or is there special housing for the Iowa Edge Program?

The room that you move in to will be your actual residence hall room for the entire school year. The University of Iowa’s resident halls determine room assignments for all incoming students in advance, and we request their assignment information prior to the program beginning just so that we can have Iowa Edge Leaders welcome you to the residence halls and answer any questions. Since you move in early, chances are you will not meet many individuals in your residence hall until they move in four days later on the actual housing move-in date.

Will our meal plan be active during the program, or do we have to pay for our meals?

All Iowa Edge participants will have meals provided for them starting with dinner on Sunday until the end of the day Wednesday August 16th at no extra cost.

Is there an itinerary of activities?

Families and students will be provided with itineraries for the program during check-in on Sunday. Until we release the official itineraries, you can expect there to be arrangements for participants to interact with faculty and professors, community building activities at the Challenge Course, tours of many important buildings and resource offices, leadership training, and classroom experiences, and sessions on financial literacy, study skills, and career paths.

How can I select more than one major option or pre-major option on the list?

To select more than one Area of Study please hold the CTRL button when selecting the options you want. It should allow you to highlight a couple of options.

I have already made arrangements for early move in on August 13th. Should I continue to register for this early move-in just in case I am not accepted into the program?

If you have already made arrangements for the 13th, feel free to keep that arrangement. If you are accepted into the Iowa Edge Program your early move in fee will be covered at no cost to you. However, if you not selected, you will still be charged the early arrival fee.

Does Iowa Edge pay for housing?

No, student living on and off-campus are responsible for their own housing costs. However, to participate in the Iowa Edge program the student will have to move into their University Residence Hall early. Moving into University Residence Halls early incurs a daily charge of $45 dollars. For the length of the Iowa Edge program, we will cover the early move-in costs only.

2017 Draft Schedule

Sunday, August 13

10:00 am-3:00 pm Participant Move-In                      
Welcome from Peer Leaders
Residence Halls
3:00 pm-3:30 pm Check-In
Second Floor Ballroom, IMU
3:30 pm-4:00 pm Family Welcome
Second Floor Ballroom, IMU
4:05 pm-4:40 pm Succeeding at Iowa
Various Locations, IMU
4:40 pm-5:10 pm Family Goodbyes
5:10 pm-5:15 pm Travel
5:15 pm-6:10 pm Student Orientation Dinner
Black Box, IMU
6:10 pm-6:30 pm Daily Debrief & Nuts/Bolts
Black Box, IMU



Monday, August 14

8:15 am-8:45 am Breakfast with Iowa Edge Planning Committee
Food Court, Old Capitol Mall
8:45 am-9:00 am Travel to Old Capitol Museum
9:00 am-9:30 am Group Photo
Old Capitol Museum
9:30 am-9:45 am Travel Time
9:45 am-11:15 am Campus Life & Student Panel
11:30 am-12:45 pm Box Lunch
4th Floor Fethke Rooftop Terrace
12:45 pm-1:00 pm Travel Time
1:00 pm-4:00 pm Challenge Course Teambuilding
Ashton Cross Country Course
9:45 am-12:45 pm Challenge Course Teambuilding
Ashton Cross Country Course
12:45 pm-1:45 pm Box Lunch
1:45 pm-2:00 pm Travel Time
2:00 pm-3:30 pm Campus Life & Student Panel
4:00 pm-4:30 pm Travel Back to Residence Halls
4:30 pm-5:30 pm Break
5:30 pm-6:30 pm Student Connections Dinner
Hillcrest Marketplace
6:30 pm-7:00 pm Daily Debrief & Nuts and Bolts


Tuesday, August 15

8:15 am-9:00 am Breakfast
Burge Marketplace
9:00 am-9:15 am Travel
9:15 am-11:45 am If I Had to Choose: Activity Exploring
Identity & Intersectionality

Various Locations
11:45 am-12:00 pm Travel Time
12:00 pm-12:45 pm Lunch
Burge Marketplace
12:45 pm-1:00 pm Travel
1:00 pm-3:30 pm Concurrent Sessions
Academic, Financial Literacy & Careers

Different Classroom Locations
3:30 pm-3:45 pm Travel Time
3:45 pm-4:45 pm Welcome to Your Home Away From Home
Afro-American Cultural Center
Asian Pacific American Cultural Center
Latino Native American Cultural Center
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center
5:00 pm-6:00 pm Dinner and Games
Slater Lawn & Cultural and Resource Centers
6:00 pm-7:30 pm Community Tour
Downtown Iowa City


Wednesday, August 16

8:15 am-8:45 am Breakfast
Burge Marketplace
8:45 am-9:00 am Travel Time
9:00 am-10:15 am Faculty Panel
UI Faculty Guests
101 Biology Building East
10:30 am-11:20 am Classroom Experiences
Different Classroom Locations
11:20 am-11:45 pm Travel
11:45 am-12:45 pm Lunch with Faculty
Burge Marketplace
12:45 pm-1:00 pm Travel Time
1:00 pm-3:30 pm Campus Resources Tour
Peer Leaders & Campus Partners
Various Locations
3:30 pm-4:00 pm On Iowa! Registration
Second Floor Ballroom
4:00 pm-5:30 pm Break
6:00 pm-10:00 pm Closing Banquet
UI Athletic Hall of Fame


Thursday, August 17

On Iowa!

PDF icon2017 Iowa Edge Schedule

Iowa Edge Program – Day 1

August 13, 2017

Welcome to Iowa Edge! The first day of the Iowa Edge program was off to great start with our students moving into their residence halls. At their residence halls, they quickly found the friendly faces of our peer leaders who were there to assist and guide the students where to move in. Some students described the move-in as “super easy” and “convenient”, which is what we hoped to accomplish. At Iowa Edge, we understand how scary or intimidating it may be to be living in a new place all by yourself, which is why we were here to greet the students right away to make them feel comfortable and at home!

After all the hustle and bustle of moving in, the students and their family members were directed to the Iowa Memorial Union for check-in and a grand family welcome. Here, the students were able to check-in, grab information pamphlets about different resources on campus, and enjoy some refreshments from the University of Iowa Catering. Once everyone had taken their seats, Lauren Garcia, the Assistant Director for the Center for Diversity and Enrichment (CDE), gave a short welcome to the families and introduction to the University of Iowa President, Bruce Harreld. President Harreld’s warm welcome to the students and families addressed that students are always the number one priority here at the University of Iowa. He also mentioned that it is very important for students to get involved here at campus, and to explore the outside community here in Iowa City. Dr. Lena Hill was introduced next, and she highlighted the importance of the Iowa Edge theme: You Belong Here. Dr. Hill further explained this theme through the Invisible Hawkeyes and highlighted that our biggest goal here at the university is to help and guide students to be successful. Lastly, Dr. Nadine Petty, the Director for the CDE spoke more about the Iowa Edge program. She highlighted that this program is very competitive, which makes each student special for being selected. Furthermore, this program took a lot of collaboration and support from everyone involved in helping put all of this together. To complete the Family Welcome portion of the day, the Iowa Edge Peer Leaders were introduced and they then guided their small groups into individual rooms for a short presentation on Success at Iowa.

Success at Iowa was a short presentation done by the Peer Leaders where they shared information about how to be successful by utilizing all of the amazing resources we have here on campus. This presentation was open to the students and family members, and they were able to ask their individual questions here as well. Peer Leaders addressed three components for success: creating SMART goals, dealing with homesickness, and seeking academic help. Shortly after this presentation, families were asked to say their final goodbyes to their students, and then students were directed to join all together for dinner. At dinner, students were told what to expect for the remainder of the program, and were fortunate enough to hear the VP of Student Life, Melissa Shivers, speak about her role at the university, how she is a resource to the students as well, and her inspiring words of wisdom.

At the conclusion of dinner, some students said they are excited for the rest of the program and expect it to be “very resourceful and a good way to make connections” and to have a “big impact on every part of my [their] life”. One of our very own Peer Leaders, Nidia Villalpando, said, “the first day was very inspiring…I was able to see my own potential in influencing these students and I saw the potential in all the students to be whoever they wanted to be.”


Friday, June 30, 2017


Bridging Student

How to Apply/Enroll

The 2017 Iowa Edge Application period is now closed. We accepted applications until June 30, 2017 with the goal of notifying applicants of their status with the program after July 14, 2017.

Questions about applications can be directed to Lauren Garcia at Iowa Edge program questions can be directed to the Center for Diversity & Enrichment at 319-335-3555.

Please note: 

  • The Iowa Edge program occurs at the same time as Honors Primetime, Iowa Link, and as required practice time for the Hawkeye Marching Band. Due to significant time overlaps, it is not possible for students to participate in the Iowa Edge program if they are also participating in Honors Primetime or the Hawkeye Marching Band. 
  • If you decide to participate in any of those activities, please notify Lauren Garcia ( as soon as possible so we can remove your application from the Iowa Edge program.