Katherine Friesen, M.L.S., is a doctoral candidate in education with a specialization in higher education at Iowa State University. She serves as an instructor and graduate assistant for the College of Engineering and Leadership Studies Program. Her role is to provide leadership development opportunities for students in the College of Engineering. In addition to enrolling students in the minor and certificate program, she teaches the engineering leadership courses: ENGR 150, “Foundations in Leadership Learning and Development,” ENGR 155, “Leadership in Engineering Student Organizations,” and ENGR 250, “Leadership in Engineering Teams.” She advises the Emerging Leaders in Engineering student organization and Engineering Leaders of Tomorrow conference, and holds leadership development workshops for student organizations and various programs on campus.
Friesen's research interests include the emergence and legitimacy of academic leadership studies programs in higher education using organizational theory, as well as leadership capacity building in women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) as a tool for retention and persistence in their majors. She has presented her research at many conferences including the Association of Leadership Education, International Leadership Association, NASPA, ACPA, and the American Society for Engineering Education. In 2015 she received the Outstanding Innovative Practice Paper at the Association of Leadership Educators annual conference for her paper, “Innovative learning in leadership education: Using Socratic circles to promote critical thinking and discourse in leadership,” published in the Journal of Leadership Education. She was the recipient of the Outstanding Club Advisory Award from Engineering Student Council in 2016 for her work with the Emerging Leaders in Engineering student organization.
Friesen received a B.S. in secondary education and a minor in leadership studies from Kansas State University, and a M.L.S. in leadership studies from Marquette University. Previously, Friesen taught middle school social studies in the Kansas City area. She is a native of Kansas, having grown up on the family farm in Colby.