Sarah Feehan is the summer communications specialist for the Iowa State University monarch butterfly research team and the Iowa Water Center. She holds a B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Political Science from ISU. Originally from Peoria, Illinois, her interests include conservation, innovation, and all things communications. Feehan will attend Drake Law School starting Fall 2019.
Why did you choose Iowa State for college? I chose Iowa State University because of its renowned journalism program with Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. I also thought ISU had great potential to become a home away from home. Yes, it’s a big university, but when I visited it had a great feel to it. Everyone was so kind, respectful, and courteous. This potential became a reality over my four years as a Cyclone student.
Why journalism and mass communication for your major? Why political science as your minor? When choosing my major, I thought journalism and mass communication would be a good fit in expanding my writing skills. I love to write. And ever since I can remember, I knew I wanted to go to law school. With my journalism background, I can take a well-rounded approach to writing in my career.
What's the most useful thing you've learned as a student? Studying pays off. Work as hard as you can with your classes, especially if you’re planning on graduate school of any kind. But also maintaining a healthy balance between studying and fun. Treat yourself to a movie night with your friends, local events Ames has to offer, and Saturdays spent at the Des Moines farmer's market.
What did you enjoy the most about growing up in the Midwest? The changing seasons. I love how a change in the weather brings with it different things to do with friends and family. I live for summer swimming, hot cocoa when it’s chilly, and hammocking in the spring. Not to mention the many beautiful sunsets I’ve watched with friends and family.
Why are you interested in the monarch butterfly and native plants? I think that the environment and the well-being of its inhabitants is one of the most pressing issues of our time. It’s critical we take a holistic approach to fixing the many multi-faceted issues facing us. Current statistics out there are shocking and a little terrifying, and I think communicating the science behind these numbers is vital to public understanding and support of conservation efforts.
I’ll be attending Drake University for law school this fall, and I see my work this summer with the ISU monarch butterfly research team as an invaluable opportunity to learn about another layer in our ecosystem.
Describe your internship experience with the monarch team: I help wherever I can. Mostly, I help by interviewing researchers, writing stories, conducting outreach, creating graphics, promoting events, and posting to social media.
What's the most useful thing you’ve learned as an intern? It’s hard to pick just one thing! I would have to say that a collaborative environment is key to success. There are so many dedicated individuals and researchers who are working for the betterment of the monarch butterfly within the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium. It’s pretty uplifting to see others aligning their passion for conservation and putting in the work to make a difference.
How can Iowa citizens help the monarch butterfly? There are so many opportunities to help! Iowans can help the monarch butterfly by making an effort to be informed about monarch happenings across the state and by engaging with the Consortium as well as other monarch conservation organizations. Social media makes it so easy to stay engaged. Ask questions, share experiences, and attend events to learn more. Join in the conversation -- follow @IowaMonarchs on Facebook and Twitter to get started!