A Change Agent
Judy Winkelpleck's accomplishment-packed life was shaped, in part, by welding.
Growing up on her family farm in Ogden, Iowa, Winkelpleck learned how to weld at a young age. Her skills were often called upon to fix broken equipment. Neighbors in need of repairs even relied on her. As the sparks flew around the young woman, she would wonder what could be done to prevent things from breaking in the first place.
"Growing up on a farm was a good education, and I was taught by my parents to be helpful to others, to create a better world," she said. "I've always been drawn to what is and what could be."
Winkelpleck views herself as a change agent, pursuing opportunities to "invite people to new ideas and new ways of thinking." She's brought that philosophy to positions with some of the most significant organizations in Iowa, including the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Iowa State.
"I always had positions in which there was something that needed to be addressed now, as well as the opportunity to build something for the future," she said.
She did graduate work at Iowa State, earning a master's degree in 1971 and doctorate in 1974, both in sociology, and a master's degree in counseling in 1975. Winkelpleck also has a Master of Divinity degree from the St. Paul School of Theology, and has done pastoral service at churches in Iowa and Arizona.
Her "nonprofit" career, as she calls it, has been as impactful as her professional life, including serving on the national and state boards of the Alzheimer's Association and leading the creation of Bernie Lorenz Recovery, a residential care facility for women recovering from chemical dependency. At one point, she served on 12 different boards.
That drive to serve, to help people and to create a better world is behind the Judy M. Winkelpleck Endowed Scholarship, which she established with a deferred gift through her estate. The scholarship will support women over 30 who have returned to Iowa State to pursue a long-desired career goal. Winkelpleck particularly hopes to impact the lives of underrepresented women. Her hope is that scholarship recipients will take their life experiences and their Iowa State degrees out into the world and create systemic change to address pressing problems such as climate change and food insecurity.
"I really think it is all about what story do you want to create with your own life and what stories do you want to help people create with their own lives," she said.
Make Iowa State a Part of Your Story
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