Lori Youngberg is more than your average graduate program coordinator, she is an advocate and a friend for the Seed Technology and Business (STB) students who gets personal satisfaction out of helping them achieve their educational goals and dreams. Lori goes out of her way to make sure her students feel like part of the Cyclone family, even though they are learning online.
“Getting to hear their stories and see how hard they work to achieve their goal keeps me motivated to work just as hard for them,” Lori said. “I feel strongly that I’m their advocate on campus and I take that role very seriously.”
After gaining 5 years of experience working with distance education students in the AgOnline program for the Brenton Center at Iowa State University (ISU), Lori continued her adventure at the ISU Seed Science Center as STB program coordinator in 2013.
Professor Susana Goggi works with Lori and her students. Goggi says the STB program has undergone many positive changes since Lori became the program coordinator.
“Lori is personable and dedicated. She makes sure students and faculty meet deadlines with a smile and provides students timely words of encouragement,” Susana said. “It is easy to forget how much work is required for the running of such a successful program without glitches. Lori seems to do it effortlessly.”
Lori received both her Bachelor of Science degree and her Master of Education degree from ISU. As a Cyclone graduate herself, she was determined to help the online STB students feel like they are a part of the ISU community. This can be difficult if you are learning from a distance. She does this by adding networking opportunities, both online and on-campus orientations, social media groups, and an on-campus 10th-anniversary tailgate for the STB students. Lori’s goal is to make the entire experience in the STB program as well organized and communicated as possible.
“No one wants to feel like they don’t understand how to navigate a new system, especially when they are trying to get an advanced degree,” Lori said. “So, I’ve added a lot of onboarding and communication efforts to ensure student’s progress efficiently through the program.”
Lori says the most rewarding part of her job is when the STB students do their final oral defense and graduate. Working with them throughout the tenure of the program, seeing them grow and learn is a very big part of why she wanted to work at a University.
“I always do exit interviews with our students when they complete the program, and I love hearing about how this program has changed their perspective, or how it helped them get a promotion or how they apply what they learn every day in their job,” Lori said. “That kind of feedback is what keeps me going.”
When she isn’t at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 15 years and their three children.
“In my free time I love being outside with my family, reading, watching movies and sports, and knitting/crocheting,” Lori said. “You will also see me playing the total soccer mom game - my kids are all very active in sports and other activities.”