The University of Iowa

Don't Wait to Discover Something You May Love

Monday, August 8, 2022

This is another in our series of profiles of Summer Research Associates (SRAs) at the Larned A. Waterman Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center. Evan Mantler was an SRA in the summer of 2020 and recently updated us on current activities and plans for the future. 



Omaha, NE


Tell us a bit about your time at the University of Iowa (not including LAWINRC)

I graduated from the University of Iowa in Spring 2021 with a BA in Philosophy and English & Creative Writing. Within my English degree, I specialized in publishing. Aside from classes, I spent most of my time at UI invested in the literary scene on campus and in the community. I was on the staff of a few literary magazines including Ink Lit Mag as Poetry Editor and Alumni Editor, as well as serving as a section editor for various magazines produced for publishing classes. In my final semester at the University of Iowa, I joined the staff of the Daily Iowan and contributed opinion columns, focusing primarily on state and local politics and policy.


Specifically, tell us about your association with the LAWINRC

I was happy to apply my editing and publishing experience to a Summer Associate role at LAWINRC. I worked in a team of four with another undergraduate student and two law students primarily to update the The Iowa Principles and Practices for Charitable Nonprofit Excellence, a handbook for Iowa nonprofits. I was able to contribute not only to the updated content, but to help redesign the look of the publication, making it easier and more interesting to read. Aside from the Principles and Practices, I contributed to assessments of internal survey data of Iowa nonprofits to provide them with valuable employee feedback and strategies for long-term success.


Tell us about your post-graduate activities

I currently live in Berkeley, California and am attending the University of California Berkeley, School of Law. This summer, I am interning for a nonprofit disability rights organization, and in the fall I will join the team of the Consumer Justice and General Clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center.


How has your summer research work fit in to where you are today?

My summer research associateship was my first “real” professional experience. It taught me essential professional communication skills and how to work on a team: how to coordinate who is doing what, to give and receive constructive feedback, and how to schedule and conduct meetings effectively. All of these skills have been essential to my law school experience, especially because I immediately got involved in student pro bono projects, where teamwork is essential.


Share any advice you have for current University of Iowa students

My advice will sound familiar to students, but hopefully with a new spin: get involved. College will likely be the last time in your life when so many opportunities are easily accessible to you. And all for the low price of “included in your tuition!” Of course, you have the rest of your life to try new things and to find new passions, but it requires much more effort to get involved later. I say this not to scare you, but to encourage you not to wait.

For example, I always wanted to take a class from the Center for the Book but decided to save it for later in my undergrad career until I had more experience in publishing. Alas, a global pandemic struck, and the Center for the Book was available only to graduate students pursuing Book Arts or Library Science degrees, and I was unable to take a Center for the Book class before I graduated.

So do whatever interests you now. There is no saving interests for later because they may not be available then or may no longer be interesting to you. Plus, why wait to discover something you love?


What’s next for you?

Honestly, my career plans change every 2-4 months. My current thought is to work in the consumer justice field and potentially engage in policy advocacy work down the line. I’m also interested in working for a plaintiff-side litigation firm post-graduation. But perhaps by the time I graduate I will have discovered some new and different field where I can envision myself.