[AMES, IOWA, October 15, 2021]—Dianne Liepa (’71 Political Science, MS ’75 Political Science) will be honored in a special ceremony for alumni award recipients at the Iowa State University Alumni Association on Thursday, October 21, 2021 in Ames, Iowa. The event recognizes outstanding alumni and friends of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS).
Liepa will receive the Department of Political Science’s Distinguished Alumni Award during the ceremony, in recognition of her contributions to her field and the community.
During a 33-year career in government service, Liepa dedicated her work to improving citizen access to resources and advocating for the needs of Iowans.
In 1976, she joined U.S. Rep. Tom Harkin’s Iowa staff, and continued to serve as his deputy state director and then as state director, overseeing Harkin’s five Iowa offices. Early in her career, Liepa developed models for constituent service and outreach to help monitor the effectiveness of federal programs to keep Senator Harkin and legislative staff informed of Iowans’ concerns.
As a direct result of these interventions, Senator Harkin helped resolve numerous problems Iowans had with federal agencies and introduced legislation to address a variety of issues, including veterans’ health care and disability services and the Americans with Disabilities Act.. Liepa also partnered with the Iowa Department of Education to start Invent Iowa! – an educational program which sponsored local, regional and state invention conventions for K-12 students. The program, now housed at the Belin Center at the University of Iowa, has been in operation for more than 30 years and has served tens of thousands of students.