The Amazing Iowa project officially launched in 2018 when Katy Swalwell, a social studies education professor at Iowa State University, met up with RAYGUN founder Mike Draper and graphic designer Jen Leatherby to propose an idea for a book that featured the stories of Iowans who have helped make the world a better place. She knew that teachers in the state were hungry for resources that would help them meet the new Iowa Core social studies standards requiring them to teach Iowa history at every grade level. Mike and Jen brainstormed with Katy and settled on the idea to start with a book about women with Iowa connections who made breakthroughs and had an impact throughout history. "Amazing Iowa Women A to Z" was born. Almost immediately, other ideas sprung up (more books! curriculum for teachers! a traveling exhibit!) and we knew it was time to build a website to house everything we were creating.
As Katy worked on researching the first book, she connected with archivists, museum curators, educators, and artists around the state who were excited to contribute to the growing body of resources to help document and celebrate Iowa's history with a focus on struggles for equality and justice. Click on "Additional Resources" to find out more about these wonderful organizations or the book titles to find out more about these super creative artists who have all contributed in ways big and small.
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