Teixeiras to Brazil, part 2

by Honors students and siblings Aline, Eduardo, and Fernando Milach Teixeira

Hello again, and thanks for coming along on yet another adventure with us. If you are new here, our names are Aline Milach Teixeira (senior in Chem E), Eduardo Milach Teixeira (sophomore in Aero E), and Fernando Milach Teixeira (sophomore in Mech E), and we are documenting our yearly trip home to Brazil to visit our family.

Throughout our trip, we took 3 flights:

DSM (Des Moines) – ATL (Atlanta) from 5:35 pm to 8 pm on December 20th

ATL – GRU (Sao Paulo) from 9 pm on December 20th to 8:15 am on December 21st

GRU – POA (Porto Alegre) from 9:15 am to 11:30 am on December 21st

However, things didn’t quite turn out this way… But we are getting ahead of ourselves…

Before our trip, we went to the store and outdid last year’s snacks with a selection of belVita breakfast biscuits (Aline), Reese’s white chocolate PB cups (Eduardo), and the return of the 1.8 lbs of Hot Tamales (not sponsored)(485 g sugar)(Fernando). We did not go to oovoo javer this time, but instead phoned our friend Nic Zimmerman to drive us to the airport.

We took our first flight and gracefully arrived in ATL at 8:15 pm.

Instead of 6 to 12-hour layovers, we made the opposite mistake of booking layovers of less than one hour, so we ran to our next flight, arriving right on time. Little did we know that it would be delayed 2 hours after our arrival…

Our experience went a little something like this:

9:00 pm – expected boarding time (ATL to GRU flight)

9:15 pm – The plane had arrived late from the Netherlands and had to be cleaned

9:30 pm – Boarding began

10:00 pm – The gates were closed, and we sat there awaiting take-off

10:15 pm – Captain announces that there is a ~small~ complication with the plane’s weight distribution, and that they would need some more time to reorganize the suitcases under the plane prior to take-off

11:00 pm – The captain makes another announcement, saying that the problem was finally fixed, and that we would be on our way

11:15 pm – The plane enters the runway, and the pilot does the final safety checks

11:18 pm – An announcement is made that the plane’s rudder failed its safety check, and that we would need to stop by the airplane mechanic station to figure out the issue

11:30 pm – The mechanic enters the plane and does his thing

12:15 am – The pilot announces that it is not safe for us to take off, and that they would need to take the night to resolve the issue. We were given options for hotels and meal vouchers and left the plane.

UGHHHHHHHH!!!!

Tired and frustrated, we booked the best (and most expensive) hotel possible knowing that the airline would pay for it. It had a pool and gym and good food service. They did somehow convince Ed and Fern to give their $60 meal vouchers in exchange for two large pizzas, but that was the least of our frustrations at this point.

(not pictured: some bussin’ supreme and Mediterranean pizza)

Cool cool cool, tight tight tight. So! Aline woke up early to punch away her frustrations at the Hotel’s gym boxing station, and the Teixeiras left for the Atlanta airport once more. We arrived at the gate at 11 am, one hour before our noon flight time. And the adventure began once again…

noon – expected boarding time (new ATL to GRU flight)

12:30 pm – The new plane had arrived late from Tokyo and had to be cleaned

1:00 pm – Boarding began

1:15 pm – We scanned our ticket, and a big “X” appeared. A group of 15-20 people were not allowed to board the plane (including all 3 Teixeiras) for reasons unbeknownst to us.

1:30 pm – We were asked to step aside until everyone that was able to board did so.

1:45 pm – Delta Airlines employees were calling everyone in existence trying to figure out why passengers that clearly had tickets to this flight could not board the plane.

2:00 pm – The airplane captain kept coming in and out, saying that the Sao Paulo airport closed at 2 am and that if we were not able to leave soon, we would not be able to arrive in time and everyone would have to leave the plane and wait another several hours prior to departure. He also threatened to leave without us. Delta employees were desperate at this point and began running back and forth screaming (basically). At this moment, Aline was past her breaking point, and began to pace back and forth and pray a rosary.

2:15 pm – They were able to let one guy in out of the 20(ish) people outside, and began treating each passenger case individually, letting us in one-by-one.

While this was happening: all the Brazilians waiting to board with us made a WhatsApp group chat called “lost friends” and began excessively messaging each other non-stop for days.

3:20 pm – Over 10 of us were able to successfully board the plane, and the three of us were the last people to board before they closed the gate for good. Two people were left behind. RIP Analu and Cesar (pictured above behind Aline wearing black and white, respectively).

The issue: because our original connecting flight time (From GRU – POA) was around the same time as our new flight from ATL – GRU, the Delta computing system thought that we were on our way to our final destination (in the POA flight), even though we had never even left ATL. Since one cannot be in two flights at once, they did not let us board our actual flight. Everyone else with a similar connecting flight had this issue.

We somehow made it in and headed to Brazil. For the confusion, Delta Airlines gave us each R$80 (Reais) meal vouchers, which we spent exclusively on pao de queijo and coxinhas de frango upon arrival.

This entry has been insufferably long, so to close off, here is what each of us did during our flights as recounted by the other two siblings 😉:

Aline: Aline drank the whole time. She was drunk. She stunk the whole plane to the point that we had to evacuate the aircraft and delay for the next day.

Fernando: A baby cried the entire 9-hour flight to Brazil. It was Fern. He was upset that the Delta employees did not allow his anime body pillow on the flight.

Eduardo: Ed re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-rewatched the ENTIRE Twilight series movies again. Afterwards, he violently sobbed and journaled about Taylor Lautner.

Thank you for tuning in, and happy holidays!

My Top 5 Must See Cities in Spain

by Jamie Smith, Junior in Communication Studies, Spanish, and International Studies

Hello, everyone! My name is Jamie Smith, and I am a junior in Communication Studies, Spanish, and International Studies. Last summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Valencia, Spain. Besides being able to live with a host family and take classes at the University of Valencia, I also had tons of free time to travel!

Here is a list of my top 5 must see cities in Spain!

1. Barcelona

Of course, one of the first things my friends and I did when we got to Barcelona was make a TikTok to Ed Sheeran’s song, Barcelona because we obviously couldn’t let that opportunity pass us up!Barcelona is home to so many cool places to visit, including Park Güell, the Picasso Art Museum, and La Sagrada Familia. It is a beautiful city, and both nights we were there we hiked to the most amazing areas to watch the sunset.

Funnily enough, we almost didn’t make it back to Valencia from Barcelona on time because my friend and I made a silly mistake and got on the wrong train, and we didn’t realize it until a few minutes before our actual train was about to leave! We had to run to catch it, but we made it and Barcelona helped us be able to navigate trains a bit better. Here is a picture of my friend and I outside of La Sagrada Familia, which is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world, and it also has a backstory that history buffs would appreciate.

2. Madrid

Madrid is the capital of Spain, and it has so much to offer! It’s ridiculously hot during the day in the summertime, but it actually is pretty nice once the sun goes down, so that’s when my friends and I did a lot of our outdoor exploring. One night, we kind of just stumbled across this movie premiere that was happening. Everyone around us was excited about something, so we walked over to see what the buzz was about and ended up watching these famous Spanish actors walk the red carpet into a premiere!

El Retiro Park (basically the Spanish equivalent of Central Park in New York) has free art exhibits, beautiful gardens, and even a crystal palace to check out. My favorite place to visit was definitely the Royal Palace of Madrid, which is the largest royal palace in Europe and just insane to walk through. Here is a picture of it!

3. San Sebastian

San Sebastian is located in Basque Country, which is a cultural region in parts of northern Spain and southern France. It’s gorgeous and has a completely different vibe than the other parts of Spain that I visited – it reminded me a lot of the Pacific Northwest of the United States!

While there, I did a lot of cool hikes, one of which was to a lighthouse where I took this amazing picture of Playa de la Concha, the main beach of San Sebastian. The rest of my time here was spent just hanging out at the beach!

4. Palma, Mallorca

Mallorca is a Spanish island off the Mediterranean coast and was definitely one of my favorite trips from Valencia. Even though it was super hot the entire time my friends and I were there, it was so worth it! Palma is the main city on the island, and it has all sorts of cool churches, markets, and museums to explore.

The picture I added is of a castle we toured called Castell de Bellver!

5. Valencia

Of course, I had to add Valencia to the list! My classes were over by noon every day, so my friends and I would choose a different part of Valencia to explore each afternoon. The beaches were amazing, and one of my favorite memories was from the Night of San Juan, which was basically a big summer party where everyone had bonfires at the beach and at midnight, it was tradition to jump over 7 waves and make a wish.

The picture I added is of an afternoon trip we took to Albufera Natural Park, which was right on the coast of Valencia. We got to see a ton of wildlife there. On the way back though, we accidentally took the wrong bus, got lost, and ended up in a suburb that we had never heard of before. We eventually found our way back by riding the entire loop of the bus we were on, much to the confusion of the bus driver.

I enjoyed studying abroad this past summer so much that I will be going back to Spain to the University of Extremadura for the spring semester, and I will have the opportunity to travel even more!

Thanks for reading and I hope you found some travel destinations to put on your bucket list!

Gap Years Are Not Just Nap Years

by Jake Brown, graduating senior in Biology and Kinesiology

Hi everyone! My name is Jake, and I am a senior double majoring in Biology and Kinesiology. I will graduate this fall, and I am beyond excited to (hopefully) further my education in one of the many graduate programs I applied for. This spring, I will take a gap year before continuing my education, and it has been one of the best decisions I have made. Below are some reasons why!

  1. Career Preparation. A gap year is one of the best ways to prepare for the next step, graduate school or a big job in a new city. Whether to make some more cash or develop more experience, a gap year is a great way to slow down and take your time before the next big thing.
  2. Flexibility. Want to finally take that cross-country road trip or learn a new language or skill? Taking a gap year allows you to explore new interests and travel in a way that would be almost impossible with a full-time job or a busy graduate program.
  3. Recharge. Being a full-time student can be draining and incredibly challenging. Putting off your next step allows you to rest and recharge before burnout rears its ugly head.
  4. Explore Opportunities. While that new corporate job sounds enticing, a gap year might be a great way to try out a new career opportunity before the 9-5 life kicks in. Being able to finally explore all of your options could help reinforce your career path and make you just that more passionate about any aspirations you may have

Thanks for reading! I hope you are more inclined to take some time after graduation for yourself before continuing on whatever path you are on.

1+1 (Equals Something Chase will Never Forget)

by Chase O’Connell, junior in Electrical Engineering

Hello everyone! I’m Chase O’Connell, an electrical engineering junior in the honors program currently studying abroad at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea! While studying abroad here, I’ve been able to meet so many amazing people and have many novel experiences!

When I was first applying to study abroad in Korea earlier this year, I knew basically nothing about the country other than what I had learned in history classes or heard online. To go to a new place on the opposite side of the world with different culture, language, and social norms is an exciting challenge, and has been a great learning experience for me these past few months!

Within the first week of being here I had already embarrassed myself multiple times through trial and error of trying to acclimate to my new surroundings. For example, my shampoo fiasco at the HomePlus store in Korea: I had gotten up to the cashier with all my items, and when it was time to check out the cashier repeatedly pointed at my shampoo bottle, saying “1+1” while I stood there clueless. I attempted to use a translator app, but with the dozen or so people waiting in line behind me the cashier wasn’t willing to take the time to take my phone. So with the 4 Korean words I knew at the time, a combination of hand gestures, and a nice middle aged lady in the line behind me, I was able to understand that there was a mandatory buy one get one free, where you could not get just a single bottle of shampoo. The lady behind me in the line had run to the opposite corner of the store to get me another bottle, accidentally bought back the wrong one, ran back to get the correct one, while I held up the line in a confused daze being yelled at in a language I didn’t understand. When I finally made it out of the store with 4 large shampoo bottles somehow, you better believe I remembered what 1+1 meant in Korea. Through this interaction, I also learned just how important communication is even for very mundane tasks.

(Fun fact: There’s a great boba tea shop in Ames called 1+1! I finally understand the significance of the name now.)

Similarly, I had to learn Seoul’s public transportation system, and all the spoken and unspoken rules that go along with it. I’ve learned that it is very taboo to talk while on the metro or bus system, how to use the very well thought-out T-Money card to get from one place to another, how to read signs in Korean, the color coded seats based on demographic, and so much more. Through all these different experiences even just in the first week, I had become much more adaptable and flexible to new social situations. Although a bit overwhelming at first, I was really able to grow and learn how to handle these new challenges.

The way I approach studying has also been very different in Korea. There are many differences in the school system compared to Iowa State with much more emphasis on self studying and exams. Although this difference has been one of the most challenging parts of studying abroad, I have really had the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and learn new ways to approach studying.

More recently, I was able to go to Jeju Island this past weekend, the South Korean equivalent of Hawaii that I had never heard of until a month or so ago. Staying at an Airbnb for the first time on a Korean island with a guy from Egypt and a guy from Switzerland was a very surreal and fun experience. I was able to learn so much about the differences in our cultures, how each of our experiences differed in Korea, and how our interests aligned. On top of that, I was able to see some cool beaches, historical sights like the Jeju Stone Park, famous waterfalls, and try foods like the Jeju black pork and Jeju tangerines! Coming from Iowa, this level of diversity has been really exciting and engaging. I’ve also met and befriended people from Mexico, Hong Kong, Sweden, France, Indonesia, and of course Korea, as there are people from all over the world studying here at Hanyang University.

As I get into the last month of my experience studying abroad here in Korea, I look forward to exploring and experiencing even more of Seoul, as well as spending my Christmas and New Year’s Day in Tokyo, Japan this winter break! Studying abroad in South Korea has been an amazing experience so far, and I’m very happy to have met so many people and made so many memories along the way. I have really been able to get outside of my comfort zone and see the world from a new perspective. If you are considering studying abroad, I cannot recommend it enough! Thank you for reading!

*Last* First Days as a Cyclone, 2022

We shared some FHP students’ reflections on their first weeks as Cyclone here. Our seniors have feelings too!  What is it like for them to start the end of their Cyclone careers in 2022:

Monday was my last first day at Iowa State, and the feeling was definitely bittersweet. It feels not so long ago that I was waking up, hot and sweaty, in my unairconditioned dorm and frantically trying to get to my chem lab on time. This year, I was unphased as it all feels so normal, and it’s crazy to think that next year at this time I won’t be waking up in Ames, Iowa. Campus used to be full of unfamiliar faces, and now I can’t go anywhere without seeing someone I know. 
In some ways I’ve changed: I know how Cyride works, I understand what a flex meal is, and I don’t get those first day jitters… does that mean I’ve been here too long? 
However, I remain true to who I am: I have never been good at getting up before 10, my phone is constantly dead and all my friends know it, and I have to triple check to make sure I turned in my homework on Canvas.
This semester is drastically different from every other I’ve had at Iowa State. Preparing to apply to dental school this past summer had been a strong driving force of my motivation: 3 lectures in a row followed by 6 hours of lab? No problem. But now that senior year has hit, I can barely make it to my 10 AM genetics class and it’s really a stretch asking me to get to volleyball at noon. What do I do with all this free time? I’ve really been making the most of it. Afternoon nap, gym, bother my friends because I’m not busy, maybe work on my honors project or sequence some DNA in the lab if I’m feeling it. But don’t get me wrong…free coffee and bagels in Jischke? I’m there. 
I’ve learned a lot about who I am and what is important to me in my time here. If I could tell freshman me anything I would have quite a list:
+nothing good comes from staying in your comfort zone
+have a better plan for what to do when you get a pet during COVID and previously signed to live in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets… 
+everyone has a lesson they can teach you, you just have to be open to what you can learn
I’m so excited for one more year with some of my best friends as they’re the ones that will make Iowa State so hard to leave. Okay nobody say anything about graduation, I actually might cry! Until then, roll Clones.
Shawna O’Malley, Biology


Four years, countless cups of coffee, and endless memories finally come to an end this year. Freshman year, I walked into Iowa State without knowing a single person on campus. Over the past several years, Ames has become my second home. I will always be thankful for the friends I have made along the way and the memories we created.
The difference between freshman year’s first day of class and senior year’s first day are staggering. Freshman year was filled with anxiety and stress about my schedule, calculus, and other courses. Senior year has been relaxing and I have a new find sense of confidence. Although my classes may have gotten significantly more difficult, I believe that my classes will go well.  Senior has also been filled with catching up with friends I haven’t seen all summer and hear all their new stories. 
Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way here at Iowa State. Although my education may be coming to an end, I will always be proud of being a Cyclone. Have a great start to your semester.
Matt Decker, Civil Engineering


I got to spend my last first day of school in Washington, D.C! Although it is bittersweet not to be spending my time on the Iowa State Campus this semester, I am happy that my college experience has led me to be an intern for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. One thing that I learned from ISU is there will be so many trials and tribulations in your academic and professional experience, but if you work hard and put passion into everything you do, you will find your way to graduation and to other amazing opportunities. I learned so much from being a student here, and most importantly, I made lifelong friends and had transformative experiences.
Anna Olson, Journalism and Mass Communication


I don’t think many of us Seniors actually want to believe that this is our last year in Ames. With all the sadness that comes with being this close to graduation, I’m keeping positive and remembering to make the most of this year! There’s no way I’m going to miss a single home football game, Greek Week festivities, or Workspace crafts. I’m so excited for our Freshmen class to experience their first year as Cyclones and wish them the best! Make the most of your college experience, meet all the people you can, and remember that you can always go to graduate school if you’re like me and not ready to leave college yet. 🙂
Jennessa Sharratt, Dietetics


This school year is so bittersweet, I didn’t even realize it was my last first day until I was done with classes on Monday. It feels like I haven’t been in college long enough to be almost done, as my first day of college classes feel like they were just last week. It’s such a cliche to say college goes fast, but college went by even much faster than I imagined it would. My very first college class was German, which I also had on my first day of senior year. It’s odd to look back at where I was at as a freshman and where I’m at now, my time in college really shaped my personality and helped me be more confident. It’s scary to think this chapter of my life is almost over, but I’m excited to see what is in store for me after graduation. 
Nicole Hasek, Journalism and Mass Communication

First Days as a Cyclone

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 2021 and 2020 as well.


The past two weeks I’ve been in Ames have been great! The first few days after moving in were a little hard, but after that everything was great! Before classes started, the FYP kickoff event was a great way to meet new friends, play games, and learn about the honors program. When the first day of school rolled around, I was excited to see what college classes were like and to start my adventure at Iowa State. So far, my favorite place on campus is the study room that’s on my dorm floor. I’ve already spent some long nights studying in there! 
Jonathan, Pre-Business, B2


The freshman 15 is real. I’m on a 6-day streak of going to the ISU creamery, some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had with over 20 unique flavors. My plans are to go every day until I’ve tried every flavor, other than the plethora of activities going on classes have been fairly manageable, and I rarely find time to stay in my dorm, so the small no a/c room is no big deal. Overall I’m impressed with my first week, and I’ve attained a piece of mind that my decision to come from D.C to Iowa isn’t as “crazy.” as everyone makes it out to be.
(Also, I’m bathing in all the free food and merch with various clubs/events, I can’t wait for the ice cream social later!)
Vikram, Industrial Engineering, A3


Even with all of the craziness and business of the first week, I found that the horticulture hall is my favorite place to be. 🙂 I’ve also loved getting to know the other students in my honors orientation!
Emma, Global Resource Systems, J2


My first official week as a Cyclone has been challenging and yet very rewarding. It was difficult to be apart from my family, but the FHP gave me a community and class that I could look forward to taking part in. I have found that there are ample opportunities to participate in activities you are passionate about and so many ways to connect with new people. I could not be more thankful for the support of my FHP leaders and the new people I have met through the FHP kickoff! Looking forward to seeing what next week brings!
Grace, Design, H2


My first week as a cyclone was amazing! I found my favorite study spot during my Honors 121 Parks Library tour, which is an honors student-only space on the fourth floor with a breathtaking view of Central Campus. I will also be a weekly regular at The Hub; their hot cinnamon latte is to die for!  
Reilly, Engineering Undecided, A1


I’m loving the beautiful campus and being an Andersian! Today, Barton Anders went to the Reiman Gardens and experienced the incredible butterfly house. I attached a picture of the trip and my first day of school pic! I LOVE BEING A CYCLONE♥️💛♥️💛
Ellie Grace, Music, J2


Before anyone else, my honors community welcomed me and became my first friends
David, Physics, E3


A word to describe my week would be overwhelming!
Everything is so new! After 4 years of the same old-same old, it feels so weird to be in a new place again. I think the strangest feeling was walking into one of my first lectures for Chem 177. I had never seen so many people in one room for one class!
There have been a few nice things this week though. I did enjoy the FHP kickoff. I feel like I connected with my group and my leaders a lot, and I feel like I’ve made some new friends through that experience.
Kylee, Chemical Engineering, F2


This week felt incredibly long but fulfilling. My classes have all gone successfully, and all my professors/instructors have done a good job explaining the class and assigning work. The tiers in Parks Library have become my go-to study spot, because of how quiet and isolated they feel compared to the rest of campus. This week has been better than last in terms of staying cool, but I’m still trying to spend as much time as possible in my house lounge.
Excited to have a break this weekend, and I am optimistic for next week and everything after that!
Jack, Mechanical Engineering, D1


My first week of school was honestly ruff but that is okay, because that’s life and life is filled with ups and downs. Skateboarding around with a backpack that weighs about a ton on sidewalks that generously handout concussions left, and right is not much fun. In contrast, my favorite thing at Iowa State so far is the Periodical Room at the Parks library. I find it so fascinating how a huge space can be so quiet and peaceful, and entering it gives me chills every time.
Abdallah, Kinesiology and Health, A1


I had a great first week of school, and the FHP class was great! I was nervous going into it, but the group of students and the leaders were cool. We bonded over music, and they are an easy group to laugh with; so far, the Honors program is great! I am also enrolled in a seminar class—the one taught by Dr. Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, and I love it!!!! I really am enjoying my time here at Iowa State and I believe the Honors Program will only further that enjoyment.
Viviana, Mechanical Engineering, J1


My first week was awesome. The band played our first performance on Friday for Victory Day, I went to ISU AfterDark, and I met so many new people!
So far I can say my favorite place on campus is the fireplace reading room in the library. It’s not silent, but I love the decorations, the fireplace, the gentle chatter of the cafe next door, and the comfy chairs. 10/10 great reading space. I also like the library’s quad, because it’s quieter than central campus’s quad, and if you’re out at the right time, you’ll hear the marching band kids practicing their pass-offs outside. I love sitting out there at night, watching the stars, listening to the crickets. It’s really peaceful.
First week as an Iowa-Stater was mundane and surreal at the same time. I know it’s a privilege to be here, studying engineering, and the student habits of going to class kicked in and I feel like a normal college student (even though I’m in the marching band and the honors program). I spent a lot of time in the library, doing my homework in the mornings. Honestly, going to college already feels normal only a week in. It’s still an adjustment and I have to remind myself that I haven’t been doing this for that long so I can check in on how I’m doing. 
Angela, Engineering Undecided, C1


I had a great time at the FHP kickoff, I really enjoyed how the games helped me bond with my small group and learn about them. My first day of class was fun, it was nice to meet people in my classes, some were even in my major. I took a first day-of-school photo on the third day, I forgot to do it sooner! I don’t really have a favorite spot on campus because there are so many areas I haven’t explored yet but I love walking by the Campanile when its playing. The no air conditioning part is not too bad because I don’t spend much time in my dorm during the day and it’s a bit cooler at night! 
Victoria, Environmental Engineering, J3


I first day as a Cyclone was very hectic because I have a busy Monday, but the rest of the week went very well!! I got to meet all of my professors and my trombone professor which was really cool. I would have to say my favorite spot on campus so far is the music hall. They just got new furniture and it is really cool and comfy to sit on!! Plus, music hall is where most of my classes are so that makes the transition from studying to in class a lot easier!! I thought the FHP kickoff went well, but I really liked the first day of my honors class. It felt as though it was a productive break in the day from learning or studying. And yes, even though it wasn’t too hot this week, I have a new appreciation for air conditioning!!
William, Music, F1


I have had a great first week and half on the Iowa State campus so far! Contrary to my pre-move-in nerves, it didn’t take me half as long as I expected to get used to college life and being away from home and my family. I feel very at home already here at ISU and it only took me about a day to feel that way from when I first watched my family drive away. I have met so many people already, including so many people from all across the states and even from other countries. I love the diversity here! I feel like I have a family here and hope to continue to gain closer connections with people I have met and continue to meet. I have already felt like I’ve been here for such a long time even though it’s been two weeks. But not in a bad way. I love the constant activity of every day rather than just sitting around and doing nothing. I feel like the first week of classes went by well and I believe I’m off to a great start. My favorite class is honestly probably the Honors 121 seminar. I also really like my English teacher  and I’m excited for future Biology labs. Even though I really miss my family and my dog and my friends back home, there’s just something about being here at ISU that makes me not want to leave. Even though I did not get an apartment with air conditioning, it’s really not as bad as I thought with 5 fans to compensate and I love my roommate! I’m still slightly getting used to the full layout of campus but I like how I can get my exercise in every day by walking. And I will definitely be frequenting the two bubble tea places in the area. 😉 Loving it so far!
Paula, Biology, H2


My first week of being a Cyclone has been liberating as someone who has not lived in a town for just about two years. During that time, I practically had no reason to go outside much other than to sit by the lake for an hour a day or so. Thankfully with class and other responsibilities, I spend a multitude of time outside of my dorm exploring the environment and enjoying the blissful rooms inside of the library. It’s been a huge relief living next to a library for the first time in years. It’s different living in such a close community, and that’s a good type of different.
Noah, Data Science, L1


So far, this first week has been very positive! There’s been a lot of classes and homework, but also a lot of fun events and people! I have really been enjoying playing a variety of games with my floor like kickball, soccer, volleyball, and basketball. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality of all the dining centers for lunch and dinner. Honors has been fun, too. I like my group and leaders and it seems like it will make for a really fun year!
Willem, Industrial Engineering, M2

Honors Summer Snapshots: Matt

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2022 summer routines via photos. Matt Butler (junior in Global Resource Systems) has emerged from his tent to reflect on his summer in the woods in northeast Iowa:

Howdy Honors folk! My name is Matt Butler and I am an incoming junior studying Animal Ecology and Global Resource Systems. I had an incredible summer working and camping in the northeast Iowa town of Decorah. First of all, shoutout to the driftless area of Iowa; if you are looking for somewhere in Iowa that doesn’t look like Ames…or really Iowa at all, make a 3 hour trip up to Decorah (and stay at Pulpit Rock Campground)! I spent the summer working as a Land Stewardship Intern for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, whose mission is to protect and restore Iowa’s land, water, and wildlife. The organization acquires land from private landowners and either keeps it for restoration or holds it until public organizations like the Department of Natural Resources raise funds to purchase it.

My main responsibilities over the summer were:

  • To walk miles of gorgeous prairies and woodland removing invasive weeds like the wild parsnip and determined mullen (that is growing out of a rock) pictured below,
  • Felling (chopping down) cedar trees, cutting them up, and stacking them in piles to dry. Even though cedars are not invasive, they had moved into historically prairie ecosystems, choking out the biodiversity built up by the thousands of years of prairie development. Below you can see the most impressive cross-section of a tree I cut over the course of the summer and a checker table I made to go along with 24 thin cross-sections (also known as cookies) I cut one afternoon and painted black or white.
  • And finally, burning piles of material we had cleared, as seen below when a nearby dead stump also caught fire for a pretty spectacular fire show.

Last, I wanted to share my absolute favorite part of the job – the views. Again, these pictures below are taken in Iowa: at our main property Heritage Valley northeast of Decorah and with my visiting 121-co-leader-turned-girlfriend Logan at a property on the Mississippi.

It was an amazing summer working outside in my field on some sweet nature stuff, but still being close to home for a few other big events: my brother’s wedding, high school best friend’s wedding, and a family vacation to North Carolina. The summer was an incredible learning experience but this little monarch was as happy to smell my sweaty feet as I am to be back in Ames this fall (which is a lot)!

Honors Summer Snapshots: Emily

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2022 summer routines via photos. Emily Gress (senior in Biology) is wrapping up a summer filled with family trips, camp counseling, and Bernese Mountain Dog cuddling:

Hi guys! My name is Emily Gress and I am a senior in biology. As always, summer has been flying by, but it has been filled with some pretty cool experiences.

To start the summer my family took a trip to St. Augustine. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we enjoyed getting to spend time with each other!

After we got back from Florida, I started working for Easterseals Nebraska as a camp counselor. Easterseals runs summer camps for kids and adults with disabilities and it was easily the best job I have ever had! Getting to spend the summer outside while helping create memories for incredible people is an experience I won’t ever forget!!

Besides camp, shadowing, and volunteering, I was able to fit in some weekend trips and quality time with family and friends (and of course the doggos 😊 ).  It’s been a great summer so far but I’m definitely looking forward to school starting soon! See y’all back on campus soon!!!

Honors Summer Snapshots: Kaitlyn

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2022 summer routines via photos. Kaitlyn Bennett (senior in Chemistry) has had a summer of chemistry, concerts, cats, and making a lot of progress on her temperature blanket:

Hello! My name is Kaitlyn Bennett and I will be going into my final semester in chemistry this fall! This summer I’ve spent my time divided between Ames, Ankeny, and Altoona.

A majority of my time this summer has been spent interning at the Criminalistics Laboratory in Ankeny for the Department of Criminal Investigation. I work with two other interns helping out with various tasks in the Toxicology section. We spent a lot of time doing data analysis for a research project in which I got to learn a lot more about the metabolism of different drugs in the body. We also worked in the lab making standards for the instruments used in their case work. Some smaller projects we got to work on were scanning old case files in to the system, work on evidence returns with the criminalists, and even fun arts and crafts projects for the MAFS gala. This has been one of the best experiences I’ve had during my time at Iowa State and learned a lot that will help after graduation.

Of course, my summer wasn’t all work and no play. I also spent some time with friends either hanging out at home or going to concerts (mainly in Kansas City). In June, we went and saw Wallows and Rex Orange County perform in some of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever been in. This last weekend, we made it back to KC for the concert of my childhood dreams – Big Time Rush!

My summer has also been filled with tons of time with cats! I made it home to Altoona a few times to spend time with my cat, Takao, who I don’t get to see very often being in Ames. My roommate and I also got new kittens this summer, Morgana (mine) and Mac (theirs).

Finally, I spent a lot of time catching up on the biggest crochet project I’ve ever done. I made it to the 200th row of my temperature blanket and it is on track to be about 7ft long at the end of the year.

This has been one of the most amazing and fun-filled summers of my life and I’m so glad I got to share it with all of you!

Honors Summer Snapshots: Elena

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2022 summer routines via photos. Elena Knops (junior in Chemical Engineering) returned from studying abroad and promptly threw herself into a very busy summer:

Hey everyone! My name is Elena Knops and I am a Junior in Chemical Engineering. Most of my summer has been spent at my co-op at Amcor at the Neenah Innovation Center! The past two months have been absolutely amazing. Amcor is a company that creates plastic packaging for many consumer goods. I’ve learned so much about Amcor’s sustainability pledge and am super excited to start a project involving plant-based material! I’m currently in the Meat, Poultry, and Seafood segment as a Research & Development Engineer. Kind of ironic since I’m a vegetarian. My brother and dad enjoy all of the free meat that I bring home to them (my sister and mom are also vegetarian). I get to interact with a ton of other R&D engineers, process engineers, plant managers, machine operators, sales, and marketing employees. I worked in a manufacturing role in a plant last summer and work in a lab doing undergraduate research during the school year. This position does a really good job at bringing both of those experiences together and giving me the opportunity to experience both at the same time!

Don’t worry, I haven’t just been working the whole summer. Luckily, I’ve had a lot of time to hang out with friends, visit family, travel, go camping, walk my dog, and go to concerts!