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### Enhancing Student Success: UI Solutions for Graduation and Career Kickstart

The University of Iowa is committed to providing equal opportunities for all individuals to succeed on campus, with various programs and initiatives outlined in the 2022-2027 Strategic Plan aimed at supporting student success.

Recent statistics highlight this dedication, showcasing the university’s exceptional achievements in both four-year graduation rates and first-to-second-year retention rates. While these milestones are noteworthy, they are just a part of the broader objectives set by the university to empower every student to excel.

Faculty, staff, and administrators at UI are consistently striving to introduce and enhance programs that not only improve academic performance but also equip students for their future careers and help them navigate their collegiate journey. Even before students arrive on campus, they can witness Iowa’s commitment to accessibility and affordability, ensuring that anyone aspiring to be a Hawkeye can do so.

One notable initiative is the program designed to provide support and educational opportunities for first-year, first-generation students. Another essential effort is the[p1] that offers job placements and additional financial aid to first-year students facing significant financial constraints.

In addition to academic support, students at Iowa benefit from the Hawkeye Experience Grant, which assists them in funding experiences beyond the classroom. This grant, amounting to $50,000 annually, aids students in covering expenses related to internships, research, or studying abroad. In 2023, 28 students received these grants, while 21 students were beneficiaries in 2022.

Angie McKie, the assistant provost and executive director of the Pomerantz Career Center, explains that the Hawkeye Experience Grant initially focused on reducing living expenses for internship participants but expanded its scope to encompass a broader range of experiences following funding support in 2022.

Jennifer Noyce, associate director of the Pomerantz Career Center, notes that recipients of the Hawkeye Experience Grant reported enhanced confidence and improved communication skills as a result of their experiences, which they could then apply in academic settings.

Alison Rux, a human physiology graduate from 2023, discovered the Hawkeye Experience Grant while seeking funding for an internship at Harvard University. The grant enabled her to work in a lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she engaged in melanoma and autoimmune research, gaining valuable insights and skills that she could apply to her subsequent projects at Iowa.

Similarly, Yaj Kulkarni, a master’s student in mechanical engineering, secured funding through the grant for an internship at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. This experience not only equipped him with technical skills but also helped him discern his professional values and enhance his communication abilities.

The University of Iowa’s commitment to student success extends to graduate students as well, with initiatives like the GradLife P2P mentorship program pairing first-year PhD students with mentors from different disciplines. This support system aids in navigating the challenges of transitioning into graduate programs and fosters a supportive environment conducive to academic and personal growth.

Sydney Arlis, a fifth-year PhD student in integrated biology, highlights the significance of her role as a P2P mentor in facilitating social connections and providing valuable support to first-year students as they acclimate to the demands of graduate education.