Dr. Dianne Bystrom, the director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University, has personal and professional experience in covering, working in, and studying political campaigns. She earned a B.A. in Journalism in 1975 from Kearney (NE) State College and an M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication in 1982 and a Ph.D. in Communication in 1995 from the University of Oklahoma. Her current research interests focus on (1) the styles and strategies used by women and men political candidates in their television advertising, Web sites and speeches and (2) the coverage of women candidates and political leaders by the media. She is a frequent commentator about political and women’s issues for state and national media.
Dr. Bystrom is a co-author, co-editor and contributor to 15 books—including Communication in the 2008 U.S. Election: Digital Natives Elect a President (2011); Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling: A Global Comparison of Women’s Campaigns for Executive Office (2010); Gender and Elections (2009 and 2006); Legislative Women: Getting Elected, Getting Ahead (2008); Communicating Politics (2005); Gender and Candidate Communication (2004); The Handbook of Political Communication Research (2004); The Millennium Election (2003); Anticipating Madam President (2003); Women Transforming Congress (2002); The Electronic Election (1999); and The Lynching of Language: Gender, Politics, and Power in the Hill-Thomas Hearings (1996)—and has written journal articles on women and politics and youth voters.
In addition to directing the center, Dr. Bystrom teaches courses on leadership, women and politics, and political campaigns for Women’s Studies, Political Science and Speech Communication as an adjunct assistant professor of political science. Before joining Iowa State in July 1996, she worked for 17 years at the University of Oklahoma in public relations, higher education administration and political communication.
Dr. Valerie Hennings is the scholar-in-residence at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Mass Communication in 2001 from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. She earned an M.A. in Women’s Studies from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, in 2005 and a Ph.D. in Political Science in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She studies American politics and methods with research interests in women, gender, and politics; women’s leadership; political behavior; state and local government and policy; and civic engagement. Her current research examines candidate training programs, such as the Catt Center’s Ready to Run Iowa program, and their influences on women’s political ambition.
Dr. Hennings is the co-author of “Mixed Signals?: Gender and the Media’s Coverage of the 2008 Vice-Presidential Candidates” and “Gender, Context, and Advertising: A Comprehensive Analysis of 2000 and 2002 House Races.” She also contributed to A Call to Action: The “State” of Cervical Cancer Prevention in America (2005) as a graduate policy fellow with Women In Government, a non-partisan, non-profit organization in Washington, DC.
Dr. Hennings teaches courses in leadership, including “Women & Leadership,” as a part of the Catt Center’s leadership certificate program. She also serves as an adjunct assistant professor of political science with Iowa State’s Department of Political Science, where she teaches courses on women in politics, American government, U.S. state and local governments, and political behavior.
Kristine Keil is the public relations/student programs coordinator for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. She received her B.A. in journalism and mass communication with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in sociology from Iowa State University in the fall of 2009.
In her current role, Keil handles all the center’s events and activities, supervises student interns, writes for the Voices newsletter, leads the Legacy of Heroines scholarship program, coordinates the Women Impacting ISU calendar and serves on the Women’s Leadership Retreat board.
Keil joined the staff in the fall of 2012. Previously, she was the director of communications and organizational programming at the Ames Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Commission. While there, she directed marketing efforts for the Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market, offered support for the Ames Blue Zones Project, served on the City of Ames Brag Team and was part of United Way of Story County’s Hunger Collaboration.
Dr. Clinton M. Stephens is a scholar-in-residence at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics as well as the College of Engineering at Iowa State University. Currently, Stephens runs the Catt Center’s burgeoning community leadership program and teaches classes in leadership development including LAS 222, “Leadership Styles and Strategies in a Diverse Society.”
In his role with the Catt Center, Stephens continues his research and dissemination work that focuses on student leadership development, assessing the effectiveness of courses or workshops to develop participants’ leadership skills, directs the overall program and teaches the growing number of students in the program’s core courses.
Stephens completed a B.S. in Business Administration at Kansas State University in 2002, a M.S. in College Student Development at Oklahoma State University in 2005 and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration in 2012 at Iowa State University.
Susan Cloud is a communications specialist for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. She received at B.A. in Biology in 1988 from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and an M.S. in Botany in 1991 and an M.A. in Rhetoric and Professional Communication in 1994 from Iowa State University.
In her role at the center, she manages the Plaza of Heroines and the Catt Tracks database, and assists with the Archive of Women’s Political Communication, the Women in Iowa Politics database, and the Catt Prize.
Cloud joined the staff in the fall of 2012. Previously, she worked as a technical writer and editor for Engineering Animation, Inc. and Phasient Learning Technologies in Ames, Iowa, and as a freelance technical writer and editor.