Science Opens Doors to Explore

Estefany Argueta is driven to learn. Her thirst for knowledge helped her acquire so many college credits she qualified as a senior when she entered Iowa State University two years ago fresh out of high school.

Argueta is continuing her adventure through courses like aquaculture, Taekwondo and an entomology class where she learned about different orders of insects and how they affect the world.

“I like to learn new things. I’ve always been curious and my family encouraged me to explore,” she says. “All these classes are so interesting, I’ve learned things I would have never known.”

Her adviser Amanda Chung (’12 animal ecology), says Argueta is pursuing two options in the animal ecology major: pre-veterinary and wildlife care and fisheries and aquatic sciences. Chung describes Argueta as dedicated and hard working.

“She’ll get things done and she’s going places,” Chung says.

Chung says Argueta is always planning. This summer Argueta’s spending time at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory on Lake Okoboji and at the Tatoosh School in Alaska, a field camp hosted by Portland State University.

“I was born in Alaska and I can’t wait to go there,” Argueta says. “It’s a field camp, so we’ll be kayaking, camping and doing research—it’s more hands-on learning.”

Military service is another area Argueta is exploring. She’ll be the first in her family to serve in the armed forces. She joined the Iowa State’s Army Reserved Officer Training Corp (ROTC) and says the program is developing leadership skills that she’ll use as an officer.

“I have been challenged both mentally and physically,” Argueta says. “I’ve always been interested in the military. These are great people and there are great opportunities.”

Early intro to science

In middle school Argueta was introduced to the Iowa State University Science Bound program. The program reaches out to help underrepresented Iowa students in middle school and high schools pursue degrees in STEM (science technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. The program piqued Argueta’s curiosity and interest in science.

“There are so many things out there— I wish I could do them all,” Argueta says. “I just want to explore every topic I can and I want to travel.”

During high school she not only traveled and studied in Japan, but also found her way to an Iowa State turtle camp in Illinois. She says the two-week camp is why she chose animal ecology.

“We did research on turtles and I met graduate students and they talked about their experiences,” Argueta says. “It was amazing to me that they did this for a living.”

She’s so enthused about the Science Bound program that she tutors incoming students. She promotes opportunities in agriculture and life sciences and advises students to take advantage of resources at Iowa State.

Spirit of Innovation, Service

In September, Argueta received the inaugural George Washington Carver Spirit of Innovation and Service Award from Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The award is sponsored by the George Washington Carver Birthplace Association, a nonprofit cooperating association of the National Park Service at the George Washington Carver National Monument at Diamond, Missouri.

The award was presented to five students nationwide and is given to first-generation students pursuing science related degrees. Argueta received the award based on her academic record and her science-based studies.

“No one in my family attended college and Science Bound helped me so much when it came to applying for college,” says Argueta, who will be starting her third year at Iowa State.

Argueta’s spirit of service inspired her to serve as a cultural ambassador with the Iowa State International Student and Scholars Office. During the spring semester she helped students from Iran and Canada explore Iowa.

“I’m learning about different places through that program,” Argueta says. “I’ve been introducing my friend from Iran to Hispanic food and that’s been really fun and interesting.”

Along with her Science Bound scholarships, Argueta received a George Washington Carver Scholarship and the Multicultural Dean’s Scholarship.

After graduation Argueta will serve in the military and pursue a career working with wildlife. Her goal is to work at an aquarium, zoo or wildlife refuge, but she is also considering furthering her education at graduate school.