Miya of the Quiet Strength is a one hour documentary directed by Daniel Julien about the life of Miya Rodolfo-Sioson, the only survivor of the University of Iowa shooting on November 1, 1991. Daniel met Miya when she applied to become a coordinator for SWIFT (Student of the World Invitation to Friendship and Travel), his non-profit organization that provides students an opportunity to travel abroad and experience foreign cultures. The film portrays Miya’s life as an activist, following her as she overcomes many challenges and fights for the rights of others she sees as less fortunate than herself.
Sonya Rodolfo-Sioson is the mother of Miya Rodolfo-Sioson, the only survivor of the University of Iowa mass shooting on November 1, 1991. Miya later passed away from breast cancer on December
Right: Gallery of images
Images provided by Rodolfo-Sioson
On November 1, 1991 Jane Nicholson’s husband, Dwight was shot and killed at the University of Iowa. Dwight was chairman of the physics and astronomy department, and one of Gang Lu’s dissertation committee members. Professor Jane Nicholson recently retired from teaching Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies at DePaul University, focusing on restorative justice.
Left: Wedding party preparations; groomsmen on the farmstead (Dwight Nicholson, groom, far right). June 14, 1969.
Image provided by Jane Nicholson
Disgruntled after not receiving the D.C. Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize for his doctoral dissertation, Study of the "Critical Ionization Velocity" Effect by Particle-in-Cell Simulation, which recognizes excellence in doctoral research, Gang Lu, a twenty-eight-year old former University of Iowa graduate student shot and killed four university faculty and one student. He left another student critically injured before turning the gun on himself.
Reports suggested the shooting resulted from a long time resentment between Lu and fellow Chinese graduate student and friend Linhua Shan. Still upset over Shan’s nomination, Lu shot and killed him as well as his dissertation committee, which included his chair, Christoph Goertz; and associate professor of physics and astronomy, also on Lu’s dissertation committee, Robert A. Smith, while they were holding a regular research group meeting. In under two minutes, after killing Shan, Goertz, and Smith, Lu proceeded downstairs and murdered department chair Dwight R. Nicholson, the man that nominated Shan’s dissertation for the Spriestersbach prize.
After killing Nicholson, Lu moved to Jessup Hall, to the office of academic affairs, where he shot university vice president of academic affairs, T. Anne Cleary and Miya Rodolfo-Sioson, a part-time student employee with no connection to Lu. Cleary died the next day of a gunshot wound to the head. Rodolfo-Sioson, the only survivor of the shooting, was left paralyzed from the neck down, and in 2008, died of breast cancer.