Meet the Challenge Awards

The Meet The Challenge Awards is a collaboration between the Division of Student Life and the Office of the Provost. Students can nominate themselves or be nominated by a University or community member. Each year one winner is selected for recognition in each of the five IOWA Challenge areas. Winners will receive a $500 award sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Division of Student Life, and will be honored during the Hawkeye Leadership and Service Awards.

The purpose of the Meet The Challenge Awards is to recognize undergraduate students who exemplify the values promoted by The IOWA Challenge through their actions within the University of Iowa and surrounding communities. Students who are engaged on campus and in the community often do the work that they do because it is fulfilling to them, not for recognition. The Meet The Challenge Awards help us to recognize and communicate the many ways our students Excel, Stretch, Engage, Choose, and Serve.

The nomination application for the 2018 Meet The Challenge Awards is now open:

If you have any questions, please contact Teri Schnelle ( or Nellie Hermanson (


2017 Winners


WINNER: Elizabeth Sturms

Elizabeth “consistently sets high standards for herself both in and out of the classroom. Involved in leadership roles in numerous student organizations, Elizabeth has been a role model for her fellow students while also thriving herself as a student, a student leader, and a peer.”

2017 Excel


WINNER: Brian Leal

Brian “has a strong passion for equality and acceptance throughout campus. As a first-generation college student he often shares the lessons that he has learned with his peers and those who he mentors. Through his numerous leadership roles, Brian: learns more about new people, cultures, and ideas; mentors historically marginalized students on campus, helping them through the transition to college and serving as a role model for incoming freshman; and is responsible for advocating for diverse  identities from all corners of campus, showing the students the resources available on campus and facilitating discussions about the college experience.”

2017 Stretch


WINNER: Taylor Majher

“While juggling a full academic schedule and a rigorous inter-collegiate athlete’s training regimen, Taylor has immersed herself deeply into the local community to enrich her college experience. The common thread of all of these hours of volunteering is that she invested her time in improving any given situation for those who were less fortunate than she.”

2017 Engage

CHALLENGE: Kelly S. Bender Choose.

WINNER: Shelby Cain

“Confident and comfortable with who she is and the choices she makes, Shelby is dedicated to her personal connections and commitment to the community.  Putting her academics first, she has pursued areas of study and activities that align with her passion. Shelby's ongoing involvement demonstrates her commitment to making the local and global communities better places to be.” 

2017 Choose


WINNER: Nate Robinson

Nate’s “service to the UI and beyond takes many forms and has made a considerable impact on our community. Already immersed in the world of service, as soon as Nate arrived on campus he became involved in the Hubbard Group, a Black Male scholars program, creating a safe space for Black Men on campus to share ideas, challenges and insights, while also working at a local elementary focusing specifically on mentoring younger boys to healthy manhood, volunteering at shelters, and helping those in need. These commitments illustrate that service is a meaningful part of Nate's daily life.” 

2017 Serve