Amanda VellingaCommunity Researcher


Amanda, who goes by the nickname Mandi, was raised in Waukee, Iowa. Mandi will tell you that she grew up in Old Waukee, as she watched the heart of her small home-town become surrounded by rapidly expanding housing developments in response to Waukee’s growing population and development boom. After high school, Mandi attended Iowa State University where she graduated with her BS in anthropology in 2012. Coincidentally, 2012 was the same year that anthropology was named the worst major in regards to career outlook. So, Mandi set her sights on obtaining her master’s degree.

After traveling through and visiting many different cities and states post-graduation from ISU, Mandi returned to Central Iowa and began taking classes at Des Moines University. Mandi graduated with her Master of Public Health degree from DMU in 2018 after completing both her public health internship and student capstone project at the Iowa Department of Public Health. As a graduate student, Mandi was employed at a local nonprofit where she worked to plan, implement, and evaluate grant-funded prevention projects throughout several rural communities in Iowa. Additionally, Mandi also participated in the RDG Planning & Design 2017 Design Residency where she gained firsthand experience on the ways in which built environments can have a direct impact on our health.

Mandi joined the Creative Placemaking department at McClure in 2019 where she uses her experience and expertise towards building strong, vibrant communities. When she’s not at work, Mandi is most likely spending time on her seemingly never-ending list of home improvement projects. Mandi also enjoys reading, cooking, and practicing yoga during her free time as well.


Bachelor of Science
Iowa State University

Master of Public Health
Des Moines University


Program planning, implementation, and evaluation

Grant writing

Needs assessment and strategic planning

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