Humans of Honors: Alex Snyder

snyderMajor: Business Undecided

Year: Freshman

FHP Section: F1

Favorite Thing About Honors: I like getting to know fellow group (Honors) members and finding fellow driven individuals.

Coolest Thing You’ve Done This Past Year: I went on a 10-day camping trip with church in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona hiking in the wilderness.

Dream Job: NBA General Manager

Favorite Hobby: Playing ping pong

Favorite Movie Quote: “If you’re good at something never do it for free”(The Joker, The Dark Knight)

Historical Person You’d Most Like to Meet: Harambe, because I want to let him know I appreciate his great sacrifice.

Ideal Romantic Getaway: My ideal getaway is a weekend in the mountains of Colorado enjoying the outdoors – skiing, biking, and rafting.

Honors Summer Snapshots: Dineh

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2016 summer routines via photos. Dineh got really into night photography over the summer;here are a few of his favorite shots from OK and NC. Even though it’s technically fall now, we’re JUST BARELY there…so pretend it’s still summer:


This photo was taken at, “The Fourth Annual Zach Braun 4th of July Extravaganza”, a firework show hosted by one of my good friends near a small town called Roff, Oklahoma. My friend hosts the show every year and it always gets better and better.



Messing around with some night photography… the nightly view of the Atlantic plus its many stars was captured while on family vacation in Outer Banks, North Carolina.



No caption really necessary. Just a shot of my happy parents holding their giggling grandchild!

*Last* First Days as a Cyclone, 2016

We shared some FHP students’ reflections on their first weeks as Cyclones here.  Our seniors have a lot of feelings too!  What is it like for them to start the end of their Cyclone careers?


As a senior, I find it more uplifting to focus on the “firsts” that will follow my “lasts.” My last days as an undergrad will be followed by my first days as a grad student, and my last days at ISU will be followed by my first days at a yet to be determined university. Being a senior means that I already knew half of my professors on the first day of class, but it also means that I need significantly more caffeine to make it through my day. Whether the increased caffeine consumption on the first day is due to the change in difficulty of my first class of freshman year (HON 121) and my first class of senior year (MATH 510) has yet to be determined. As the “first weeks” continue, they seem to go faster and be filled with more deadlines (speaking of which, I should probably, ya know, get started on that honors project). It’ll be sad saying goodbye to some of my favorite people, but, luckily, that’s all a year out. So, to all the freshman out there *creepy whisper* enjoy your adventure at Iowa State.

Seth Selken, Mathematics


The best way to summarize the difference between my freshman first day of class and my senior first day of class is to examine the contents of my backpack. Freshman year, I carried around all of my textbooks on the first day. If I remember correctly, that day I started at 8 am and had class until 5. Needless to say, I did not do that again. This year, all I had were two notebooks. One of them is just loose leaf paper that I zip-tied together. All of those engineering classes really paid off.

Angela Wagner, Mechanical Engineering


Starting senior is bittersweet and shocking (where did the three years go?).  Campus has welcomed me back and I am now catching up with friends and spotting the changes around campus. Seeing new students on campus reminds me of my freshmen year and and the differences between freshmen and senior year become more noticeable. I will soon be starting my ISU buck-list to complete in one year before graduation. At the same time, what’s next (the real-real world, aka work) lingers in the back of my head which is exciting and daunting. Returning to campus reminds me how much I have changed since starting at ISU.

Thanks for reading my jumble of thoughts and here’s to the Cyclone class of 2017 and 2020!!

Parker Neid, Supply Chain Management


Parker just returned from a semester in London, where he may or may not have been held in the Tower.


My last “first day” of classes at Iowa State University was surprisingly similar to my very first day. I still rush from class to class, hope I recognize someone in my classes, and try to find some time to eat lunch. The things that haven’t changed over the years are the amazing professors I get to learn from, the friends I’ve made in Honors, and the beautiful Iowa State campus. I can’t believe my time at Iowa State is almost over because it feels like it just started yesterday. Go Cyclones!

Alysun Bulver, Sociology/Interdisciplinary Studies


I love my classes! This is very different when reflecting on freshmen year when courses were focused on boring introductory material, inapplicable to life. The great thing I’ve learning about being a senior is having a sense of confidence to approach professors, speak up in class, and know everything Iowa State related…most of the time. I have noticed that I don’t know as many people around campus, which is hard to come to terms with, but being a friendly resource for the underclassmen is always a role I will cherish.

Megan Elliott, Finance


While my first first day had me prepared with books and notebooks for each class, I started my last first day by reminding myself which courses I was taking and crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t have to purchase the textbook at all. Honestly, school has been filled with lots of ups and downs. Each semester starts hopeful and ends hoping for a quick break.

I distinctly remember when I was a Freshman, looking at the seniors who were leading clubs and starting amazing careers, hoping for just half of the opportunities they’d had. Now, I think I can tap myself from four years ago on the shoulder and be more than impressed with the experiences and opportunities I’ve been able to learn from.

I thought longer hair would help my picture-taking skills, but it looks like I was wrong…

Garret Meier, Software Engineering


Garret then


Garret now


Hmm, now I do not have to check my phone every class to find out where my next class is located, and I feel much better in general to talk with the professors after class to clarify things or ask questions. I love getting to know them because they can be some really cool people! It is so surreal to be almost finished, and time flies quicker than any other part of my life thus far. I just want to make it stop! I love Iowa and Iowa State, and I will miss so much. I love learning and meeting people with so many different passions who want to do so many different great things in the world. It truly is a wonderful place!

Rachel Jones, Kinesiology and Health/World Languages and Cultures


Week one is over, and what a crazy (awesome) week it was! My friend, Ana, who I met while studying abroad in London, came to visit and it was amazing to get to show her around our beautiful campus. Seeing her reaction to her first time on an “American campus” reminded me a lot of my first time at ISU, and also reminded me that soon I will be missing the long (beautiful) walks across campus, hearing the campanile, and constantly running into friends this spring when I graduate.

David Cordaro, Architecture


(This photo is with my friend Ana from San Sebastian, Spain who I met while studying abroad in London)


Wow it is hard to believe that I have officially started my last year of school! My “last first day” hasn’t really been too different than my first days as a freshman, except for one major difference which is now I’m in Rome. Studying Abroad for my last first day of school brought back many memories of my first first day, like the fact that I didn’t really know where any of my classes were and leaving insanely early to make sure I was on time. One major difference are my actual classes, I now know people when I walk into class (even all the way in Rome) and am confident that this is what I want to do. Iowa State has given me opportunities I would never have gotten anywhere else to grow as a person and see the world.

Lauren Carter, Graphic Design


One thing that changed from freshman year to (super) senior year is my level of organization – my roommate and I have been making do with basically no silverware for the last week, which has made cooking / eating a bit of a challenge! No worries – we finally resolved that yesterday. It’s just hitting me how little time I have left here – it’s my last semester, so I’m enjoying the time I have with the wonderful people in my department and ISU and looking forward to what’s next!

Catie Meis, Materials Engineering

First Days as a Cyclone (2016)

We asked First-Year Honors Program students to tell us a little about their first official week as Iowa State students…here’s what they said! Here’s what they said in 2015, 2014 and 2013, too.


I’m having a great time on campus! I miss my family, but the independence is great. Learning how to be on my own is a little hard, like trying to decide what food I want to buy and what meals I want to eat every day. I also am learning how to pace myself and divide time between homework, the gym, and socializing. I love spending time in the Gerdin Business Building and Jischke Honors Building because the environments are so calming and the modernity of the buildings just clicks with me. I’m going to the Honors Salon with my suitemates tonight and I’m so excited! I’m not studying mechanical engineering, but who wouldn’t want to learn about the science behind blood splatter? All in all, college is definitely not as overwhelming as I thought it would be and I’m glad I’m a Cyclone!

Emily Hammer, L2, Pre-Business



The face you make when you realize you’re not the only girl in AeroE 🚀 Priscilla Joel, H1, Aerospace Engineering


I was able to rent out an HTC VIVE (VR headset) the very first week!

Austin Garcia, F1, Software Engineering



We are loving college life! The adjustment period is tough, but there are friendly people all around to keep your spirits up🙂 Katie Shepherd, D2, Pre-Dietetics


My first week was AWESOME! I’ll be honest, in high school I was not a fan of school. At Iowa State, my classes are intriguing because they are taught at a higher level of thinking and also pertain to topics that interest me. My honors seminar about National Parks is a class full of discussion, which is a nice change of pace from the usual heavy load of homework that traditional classes can have. I’ve met a lot of new people in my HON 121 class, and I love hanging out in the Jischke Honors Building. College rocks!

Peter Bancks, F2, Computer Engineering

Honors Summer Snapshots: Natalie

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2016 summer routines via photos. Natalie has been working inside a lab all summer, but has spent basically every other second outside enjoying Ames, Minnesota, and Colorado:

Pic 1 Work

So, this summer I’ve been working full time at the USDA National Animal Disease Lab here in Ames! I work as a Biological Science Aid in the Virus and Prion Unit. I wake up at 7:00 every morning to be at work by 8:00 where I do a lot of protein purification. The government frowns upon taking pictures in the lab, so I’m going to talk about some of the other fun stuff I’ve done this summer!

Pic 2 Minnesota

I spent the week of the 4th of July up at our family’s cabin in northern Minnesota. It was great to get away from work and spend time with all of our family and friends that have cabins up there! Some of our activities included kayaking, water badminton, racing RC boats, biking, 4th of July games, movie and board game nights, and a glimpse at the Northern Lights! On my way home from the lake I stopped in Minneapolis for my soon to be sister-in-law’s bachelorette party. We went downtown to eat dinner, and then saw The Lion King.

Pic 3 Minnesota

Pic 4 Minnesota

Pic 5 Colorado

My family and I went backpacking in Colorado in mid-July. As I carried my 40lb backpack up the mountain I was reminded of my first day of college, when I hauled all of my textbooks to my classes because I was a freshman and I didn’t know any better. It was a tough hike, but once we got to the top every breathless step was worth it!

Pic 6 Colorado

Pic 7 Colorado

Pic 8 Frolf

Although I wish I could have spent my whole summer hiking in Colorado or lying on the dock, the majority of it was spent working in a lab with no windows. Luckily I get off of work at 4:30, so I still have some time to do fun things like frolf (disc golfing), roller blade around town, or play some sand volleyball with friends.

Pic 9 Rollerblading

Honors Summer Snapshot: C.J.

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2016 summer routines via photos. It’s safe to say C.J. Konopka has earned a nap after his summer as a camp counselor:

Hello everyone,
My name is C.J. and I’m a Software Engineering major entering into my junior year. However, this is probably the first time I’ve used my computer for something productive all summer (I don’t think playing Overwatch counts). This is because I decided to return to my job as a summer camp counselor. This year a strict no picture/snapchat rule was put in place. But like an intrepid photographer entering North Korea, I made it my mission to show all of you what life is truly like in Camp Alotta Fun.

Konopka 1

We went to Brookfield Zoo for one of our big field trips. You may be asking “CJ, why is this a picture of a playground and not of animals?”. Well curious reader, that is because I had a child decide to sit in the middle of a busy walkway and proclaim that he would not move until his mom came to pick him up. We were an hour away from camp. Luckily, this playground was nearby to occupy my other campers until my boss came over.

Konopka 2

Field trips take a lot of work! One of the best parts of field trips is the relative peace of the bus ride home. My coworker was quick to post this meme to our counselor group chat when I decided to get some much needed rest.

Konopka 3

Not everyone enjoys a running game like sharks and minnows. When you’re out you’re supposed to act like seaweed and tag people from a seated position. This girl decided to be more of a dead starfish. With 60 children in one group it’s hard to please everyone.

Konopka 4

Some of these children are pretty athletic. This girl seems to be ready for State Gym’s climbing wall at only eight years old! I wonder if my baley training carries over to there.

Konopka 5

A favorite pastime of the girls is doing a female counselor’s hair. I decided to let them do mine one day; let’s just say there were mixed results. P.S. sweating from a day outside makes for great hair gel.

Konopka 6

Nothing stirs up competition like a boys vs girls dance battle! The girls tend to get everyone dancing but seeing a few of the eight-year-old boys pop-n-lock and do the worm is hard to beat.

Konopka 7

On weekends, we counselors like to plan our own “field trips.” This one was a closed game of paintball. Running around cover and trees shooting at my coworkers was a blast. I can’t think of a better way to end the week.

Honors Summer Snapshot: Emily

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2016 summer routines via photos. Emily Forsyth skipped right over summer and has already jumped into the fall semester in New Zealand:

Hey there, everyone! My name is Emily Forsyth and I am a junior studying Kinesiology and Health, Pre-Occupational Therapy. This summer/fall I am studying abroad at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand!

I have been here for about a month now and I have already finished 4 weeks of the semester! The campus here is beautiful, Buzzfeed ranked it the 14th most beautiful campus in the world. (Iowa State was #5)

Forsyth 1

Some of the oldest buildings on campus!

The big adjustment has been leaving the warm weather in Iowa and coming to the middle of winter here. It is about 40-50 degrees on average, but it might snow tonight.  Let me tell you, people lose their minds here when it snows! On one of the nicer days, I hiked to the top of Signal Hill Lookout which has incredible views of the Otago Harbor.

Forsyth 2

Forsyth 3

You can’t quite see Antarctica from here, but you can sure feel the breeze!

One of the highlights of my trip so far has been watching a rugby game at Forsyth Barr Stadium! Rugby is the national sport of New Zealand. I’m a big Cyclone football and basketball fan, but rugby is some next level stuff here. If you want to see more rugby pictures and videos:

Forsyth 4

Forsyth 5

Another unique experience you can’t see anywhere else was watching the 2016 Cadbury Jaffa Race. I live about 10 minutes away from a giant Cadbury Chocolate factory and about 15 minutes in the other direction is the steepest inhabited street in the world!  It was quite the sight, thousands of people lined the streets in hopes they had purchased a ticked for the winning Jaffa. I’ll back up a moment to explain, the Jaffa Race is sponsored by the local Cadbury factory as a charity fundraiser. There are three races for three separate charities, each with 25,000 pieces of chocolate rolled down the street. Spectators buy a ticket with a number on it for only $1, if the corresponding Jaffa comes in the top 5 of the race there are sweet prizes associated. Sadly, I didn’t win – that would have been sweet! (Pun intended)

Forsyth 6

Forsyth 7

So that’s a snapshot of my summer so far! Studying abroad is by far the hardest thing I have done during my time as a Cyclone, but so worth it. I am making connections with people from all over the world and learning a ton about myself at the same time.

If you’re interested in following more of my adventures, check out my blog at