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Outstanding Young Professional Award (Formerly Superior Achievement Award for Early or Mid-Career Alumni)

This citation honors College of Agriculture and Life Sciences early- or mid-career alumni who have distinguished themselves through significant advancement and achievement in their discipline, field or area of expertise. Selection is made by the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

This award was established in 2010 and is presented annually during Iowa State University’s Homecoming Weekend. Click here for the nomination form. Nominations are due the third Tuesday in November.

2018 Outstanding Young Professional Awardee

Jen Sorenson (’01 animal science, journalism and mass communication)
Ankeny, Iowa

Jen Sorenson CALS Outstanding Young Professional AwardeeJen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms, is a respected communicator in Iowa’s agriculture industry. Through her role with fifth largest pork producer in the nation, Sorenson is an advocate for rural development. She works to empower employees by highlighting their accomplishments and encouraging involvement in local communities.

Sorenson’s expertise has made her a valued resource to organizations like the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the Iowa Pork Producers Association, for which she serves on the board of directors. She co-chairs NPPC’s Ag Labor and We Care Taskforces, which focus on sustainability standards and ethical principles directing the pork industry nationwide.

Sorenson has spearheaded programs to alleviate hunger in Iowa. She serves as a liaison with the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation on efforts like the Haul Out Hunger program. To date the program has provided nearly 32 tons of pork products to more than 107 food pantries across Iowa and Minnesota. The Pork Care Package program she helped design received the 2018 Seven Seals Award from the Iowa Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve and provided gifts of thanks to more than 12,000 Iowa military service members, veterans and families.

One nominator praised Sorenson’s service by saying, “Jen’s commitment and efforts to address hunger has established collaboration among diverse organizations to support unique programs for Iowans. She truly cares about the people of Iowa and looks for opportunities to improve lives.”

Sorenson was an inaugural member of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences young alumni initiative, Curtiss League.

Past Recipients