Katherine Richardson Bruna receives 2024 Rossmann Manatt Faculty Development Award

Faculty News Honors and Awards News

Katherine Richardson Bruna, professor in the School of Education, has received the 2024 Rossmann Manatt Faculty Development Award. This award, funded by Jack and Marty Rossmann and Kathy Manatt, recognizes College of Human Sciences and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty who have shown exceptional creativity and productivity in scholarship, teaching, and service.

In 2021, she coauthored “Mosquitoes SUCK,” a comic book illustrated by Marvel artist Bob Hall, premised on a dystopian future without mosquitoes. The book was inspired by the National Institutes of Health-funded Mosquitoes & Me Summer Camp, a two-week camp that allows elementary students to cultivate their interest in science through the study of mosquitoes.

Richardson Bruna is an educational anthropologist interested in human interactions with science learning. She has converted science curriculum into comics that convey complex information in engaging, accessible ways.

“There’s a lot of research on the efficacy of communicating science content through science comics, versus traditional forms of science communication,” Richardson Bruna said.

With the funds from the Rossmann-Manatt Award, she intends to collaborate with fellow Iowa State scientists to translate their work into comics. She will host workshops where researchers can develop storylines and visual elements. They can also hire graphic design students to illustrate their comics. 

“This award is meaningful because it recognizes scholarly creativity and that feels affirming since I have always, as an anthropologist interested in telling the human story, approached my science education work and writing with the eye of an artist,” she said.

Previously, Richardson Bruna received a Setha M. Low Engaged Anthropology Award for her commitment to social justice and community engagement. She is also the founding director of the ISU 4U Promise Program, a partnership between Iowa State and the Des Moines Public Schools that supports elementary students from King and Moulton schools along a pathway to college. Through the program, students from both schools can earn tuition awards to attend Iowa State. Earlier this year, Richardson Bruna was named the inaugural Willie and Kathleen Robinson ISU 4U Promise Professor.

For more details on the Rossmann-Manatt Award and a list of previous winners, visit the award page.