Honors Clusters FTW

by Maggie Crane, senior in Animal Ecology

Hi everyone! My name is Maggie Crane, and it is my third year here at Iowa State. One of my favorite parts about Iowa State is the people. I have gained so many great friends throughout my college experience, and a lot of them came from my freshmen year residence hall!

My first year at Iowa State, I lived on the Honors cluster Ebbers/Day in Geoffrey, and my living experience on this floor could not have been better. I met an amazing group of people on this floor and found some of my best friends that will stick around for life. 

My friend group consisted of both honors and non-honors students, which is one of the reasons I really enjoyed living in a cluster. It provided the perfect balance. A good percentage of the floor contained honors students, who I often saw in my seminars and classes. But, there were also some non-Honors students on the floor, and they added the opportunity for me to meet people outside of our small Honors community. 

My friends and I would spend our days doing homework in the communal floor den, going to dinner at the dining centers together, and just goofing off late at night. This group of people really became like a second family for me, which was exactly what I needed my first semester away from home. One of the best parts about living in a residence hall during your first years in school is that everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is feeling nervous, looking for friends, and missing home, so it is easier to relate to people and form these strong bonds. 

I was also involved with Geoffrey’s housing association. The Day floor had our own committee, and I served as one of the birthday chairs. Every few weeks, our committee would meet to plan events for the girls on our floor. These events included movie nights, decorating, cookie frosting, and other optional events used to bring our floor closer together. Unfortunately, the year I was on the committee was also the beginning of Covid, so many of our plans did not end up being executed as we had hoped. Nonetheless, these events were a fun way to bond as a floor, and being a part of the committee was a wonderful way to meet new people and get involved!

I loved living on a residence hall, and I will always look back fondly on the memories made with some of my best friends. If you are considering living on an honors floor or cluster, I cannot recommend it enough!! You will meet others honors students with similar interests, which can lead to friendships that will last a lifetime.

The Best TV Show You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

by Sylvia Knight, VERY recent grad in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Hey there! Are you, like me, constantly in search of your next TV obsession? Do you enjoy magic, epic quests, and/or impromptu musical sequences? Have you, like me, watched so many TV shows in the last year and a half that you don’t think you’ll ever find another one you like? Then look no further because I have the show for you. The Magicians, which aired on Syfy from 2015-2020, tells the story of an unlikely group of friends who attend a magical college. I had never heard of it before watching it, but it’s now my favorite show of all time, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The best description I have for it is Harry Potter meets Narnia, but with a large helping of college shenanigans. Allow me to briefly set the stage. Quentin Coldwater and Julia Wicker, longtime friends, are on the way to a grad school interview for Quentin when they are mysteriously invited to take a test for admission into a secret, highly exclusive school. What follows is a glorious five seasons of fantasy filled with characters you’ll love (and love to hate) and heroic efforts to save the world from impending doom. Also, an understanding of the weird looking key I’m holding in the picture is. And the best part? It’s all on Netflix, so it’s a great way to keep yourself entertained on a night in.

My rating: 6/5 stars

Honors Summer Snapshots, But Make It Fall

by Cameron Bristow, junior in Marketing, Management, and Entrepreneurship

Hi everyone! My name is Cameron, and I’m a triple major in Marketing, Management, and Entrepreneurship, with a minor in Leadership Studies. I’m also an Honors Ambassador, which has been such a fulfilling experience. You might be familiar with the fan-favorite Honors Summer Snapshot series, but since I’ve had such a crazy semester, I thought it would be fun to create the first ever installment of “Honors Summer Snapshots, But Make It Fall.” (Name pending, seeing as I am not in charge.)

Play Hard

If you know me, you know how much I love experiencing the live arts whenever possible, and I’m so grateful that I’ve had many opportunities to see some great shows with great friends this semester! Some highlights include: Quinn XCII, Chelsea Cutler, and Tai Verdes, the Jonas Brothers and Kelsea Ballerini, AJR and Sasha Sloan, John Mulaney’s new tour, Harry Styles and Jenny Lewis, Alec Benjamin and Anson Seabra, Bleachers (Jack Antonoff), LANY, Jake Scott, Sasha Sloan, and Kelsea Ballerini, Alexander 23 and Max Leone, Hamilton, and many more!

While all of these moments were so great, my favorite memory from this semester was when I took a little weekend trip up to New York! During this time, I got to see Aladdin on Broadway (I’ve seen this musical 11 times and still love it!), went to a taping of The Amber Ruffin Show, and most importantly, was in the audience for an episode of Saturday Night Live! This has been a dream of mine for so long, and getting to be a part of one of my favorite shows was everything I could’ve wanted and more. I slept on the streets of New York just for the chance to get into the studio, and was so fortunate to secure a spot! A fun fact: The audience size is only 300 people, so in the show’s 46+ year history, only about ~250k people have ever been in the show’s live audience! If you look closely, you can even see me in the crowd at a few points in the show! Afterward, I got to meet about half of the cast after the show, which was the cherry on top for an amazing weekend! (Alex Moffat and Heidi Gardner pictured below!)

Work Hard

Each Monday and Tuesday, you can find me down in Des Moines as I continue my internship with Happy Medium! It’s been so rewarding getting to take on a huge variety of marketing and media activities for many different clients – and I absolutely love everything I’ve done so far. After a long hiatus due to COVID-19, I have also returned to my job at the Des Moines Performing Arts! We have an amazing season of musicals, plays, concerts, and more coming up, and I cannot wait to see them with everyone!

Another amazing experience I’ve had fall semester is through Marketing & Sales Case Competitions here at Iowa State! I was a coach for the Ivy College of Business’s MKT 495 class, helping 10 new students develop marketing solutions for real businesses! I also tried something new and participated in this year’s PepsiCo University of Iowa vs Iowa State University Sales Competition, and for the first time ever, we took the gold home for Iowa State! I also won Best Presenter, which was such a great feeling. Go Cyclones.

Wow, The Semester’s Done Already!

I ended off the semester with even more fun! During the weekend between prep week and finals week (risky, I know), I was lucky enough to be invited to Saturday Night Live (after previously flying out and camping for the chance for tickets), and got to be in the audience for the Dress Rehearsal for Billie Eilish’s episode! As a huge fan, it was amazing seeing one of my favorite artists perform in some great sketches and sing 2 of my favorite songs by her. Being at Dress Rehearsal, I even got to see 5 sketches that didn’t make it on air! While in New York, I also got to see the Rockefeller Center Tree, attend the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and went to the Jingle Ball with Ed Sheeran, Lil Nas X, the Jonas Brothers, and more! 

To end off the semester, immediately after I was done with finals, I made my way to Disney World, which I cannot recommend enough if you are able to go!

While it’s been challenging balancing 3 majors, 2 jobs, being smoking hot, club involvement, listening to Red (Taylor’s Version) constantly, and trying to live as much life as possible, I’m so thankful for all of the crazy memories from this semester. Next semester will be a bit different for me, as I’ll be starting an internship with NASA, but I cannot wait to see what the future has in store.

Ames to Pune

by Avani Laharia, sophomore in Biochemistry

Hello everyone! My name is Avani Laharia and I am a sophomore majoring in biochemistry! After the semester ended I traveled from Ames to home, Pune, with some of my friends and I documented my trip to show you all what it’s like!

For this *very* long travel, we took 3 flights:

  • Des Moines to Chicago: 3:15 to 4:40 pm CST (Dec 18th)
  • Chicago to New Delhi: 6:05 pm CST (Dec 18th) to 8:10 pm IST (Dec 19th) (that’s 14.5 hours ;()
  • New Delhi to Pune: 2:05 am IST to 4:20 am IST (Dec 20th) 

So for our first flight, we had to head to the Des Moines airport so the 6 of us piled our 12 suitcases and 6 backpacks in a taxi and I don’t know how we managed to do that but we did! We got there about 3 hours in advance for our flight so we ate some lunch, walked around the airport, and saw some really cute dogs there. I also happened to be at the gate right next to my roommate, Phoebe who was going home for break too! I somehow also got upgraded to business class for my first flight so I truly enjoyed the legroom.

Me and my roommate Phoebe at DSM airport
The beautiful sunset I got to see on the flight!

Once we got to Chicago we had roughly an hour to get onto our next flight which was lowkey stressful. We fast-walked across the terminals at the Chicago airport and made it in time for our flight. We all bought something to eat and then we went back to our gate only to find out that there was a problem with our flight and it was being delayed. So we had to stand there for about 1.5 hours while they fixed what was wrong with the flight but it was a fun time because I was with my friends! Finally, we boarded the plane, and then set off for the next 15ish hours. I have no idea what happened for this plane ride because I slept for about 12 hours of it. I am highly certain I missed some of the meals but the one meal I was awake for was really nice!

My friends and I waiting at the Chicago airport ;(
Dinner on the flight!

After an incredibly long plane ride, we finally reached India! I was so exhausted but also so happy to be back home. At the Delhi airport, all of us welcomed ourselves back home by ordering some delicious Indian food! I ordered a favorite of mine – chole kulche. We had about a 6-hour layover for our connecting flight but it went by really quickly because all of us were so excited to go home! Our next flight was just 2 hours so it was pretty easy and then we finally landed in Pune, grabbed our luggage, and then head out of the airport to see all of our families waiting outside for us! I was quite emotional to see them and so were they and I am so happy to be spending this break at home with my family!

The chole kulche I ate at the airport
This is me finally at home!

No Sleep Til Brazil

by Aline, Eduardo, and Fernando Milach Teixeira

Hi everyone! Our names are Aline Milach Teixeira (Junior in Chem E), Eduardo Milach Teixeira (freshman in Aero E) and Fernando Milach Teixeira (freshman in Mech E), and we are documenting our trip home to Brazil to visit our family. Thanks for coming along on this adventure with us!

Throughout our trip, we took 3 flights:

DSM (Des Moines) – MIA (Miami) from 5:27 am to 9:04 am on December 18th
Yes, we had an 11-hour layover *sigh*
MIA – GRU (Sao Paulo) from 8:00 pm on December 18th to 6:20 am on the 19th
Another 6 hours of nothingness
GRU – POA (Porto Alegre) from 1:45 pm to 3:30 pm on the 19th

Since our first flight from Des Moines to Miami left very early in the morning, we decided to not go to sleep until our first flight. We instead went out for a drive to see the pretty Christmas lights and went to the store to buy lots of snacks. Among them: Dot’s Pretzels (Aline), 1.8 pounds of hot tamales (485 g of sugar) (Fernando), and peanuts (Eduardo).

We went to oovoo javer at 2:30 am, got our boarding passes, went through security, and all that good stuff, and we slept the entirety of our first flight.

When arriving in Miami, we did a lot of sitting around for our 11-hour layover. We picked up some empanadas and pastries at a Cuban place and visited the small shops nearby. When we sat down, Eduardo slept most of the time, Fernando watched Jojo’s Part 3, and Aline read They Both Die at the End while contemplating the meaning of life.

After our long waiting period, we waited at the gate for boarding. It took forever though, because our flight was overbooked by 12 people which meant they were giving out $1200 vouchers for anyone willing to take the next flight. We tried to, but the next flight was 3 days away and we didn’t want to wait that long to get home. Here are the things we did during the 10 hour flight to Sao Paulo:

Aline: I watched the movie In the Heights twice, and slept for the other half of the flight. I also had the middle seat, and quietly fought the guy to my right for the arm rest the entire time.

Eduardo: I ended up watching 3 movies during the airplane (Godzilla vs. Kong, Free Guy, and Nobody). By the end of the flight I listened to a podcast and feared that I lost my phone for 20 minutes only to realize that it was in my bag the entire time. I also foolishly only slept 40 minutes during the whole flight which I would quickly regret as you will find out.

Fernando: While everyone else in the plane was watching movies from the seat in front of them, I spent the whole time either sleeping (which I got very little of because the person next to me slept on me the entire flight) or watching JoJo (I downloaded the whole Part 3 before the trip). I try to stay away from airline food (cause like, what’s the deal with it), so I suffered through the dreadfully long flight on an empty stomach. Upon arrival in Sao Paulo, we immediately rushed to find the nearest bakery shop for some savory Brazilian treats. We got pao de queijo and coxinhas de frango in one go, and Aline and Fernando sat and talked while Eduardo drifted off to sleep once again.

When Aline and Fernando noticed this, they saw an opportunity…

They played a game to see how many sauce packets they could place on top of Eduardo’s head before he woke. After placing all of them, they were forced to up the stakes. Since he had headphones in, Fernando grabbed his phone (unlocking Ed’s face ID with his own face) and blasted hard metal music in Eduardo’s ears. When this still didn’t work, Aline and Fernando proceeded to scream laugh so hard they started crying.

We then boarded our last flight, Ed sleeping once again, and then we all arrived at our final destination—Porto Alegre. Our parents picked us up from the airport, and we were so happy to finally be home.

Harry Potter and the Honors Seminar(s) of Awesomeness

by Sylvia Knight, senior in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read Harry Potter: a) immediately go read it, b) I’m serious, how have you not read it yet, and c) potential spoilers exist in this post.

Hi everyone! My name is Sylvia Knight, and I’m a senior majoring in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering (IMSE for short); and I’m here to tell you why Honors seminars are about to be your new favorite thing. In case you don’t know, Honors seminars are small, one-credit-hour classes that meet once a week and are all about some random topic that a professor wants to teach a class about. You do need to take at least two to graduate with honors, but I guarantee you’ll want to take more than that. They’re pass/fail, so you don’t have to worry about your GPA, and generally a TON of fun. I’ve yet to find one that I haven’t loved.

This semester I’m taking an Honors seminar called “Looking Back at Harry Potter.” However, given that this is by far the best class ever, I have renamed it “Harry Potter and the Honors Seminar of Awesomeness,” which is far more accurate. Every week in this class, we discuss a different topic or theme from the Harry Potter series. Who doesn’t want to do that?? We’ve covered everything from the possible villainy of Dumbledore (he did intentionally withhold information from an 11-year-old) to the inner workings of a Slytherin’s psyche (is it really so bad to want to improve your place in the world?) to whether or not Lupin was actually asleep on the train when the dementors attacked (seems rather convenient that he would have woken up right then) to talking about the possibility of loving the books separately from supporting the personal choices from the author (our discussion agreed it was possible).

Like most Honors seminars, this one also includes a final project. Unlike most Honors seminars, this one gave me an excuse to bring the Harry Potter books to college to use as a reference for said final project. This project was left pretty open for us. The professor just asked us to create something connecting Harry Potter to our major/a hobby/an interest/something else random. One of my personal favorite things about the world of Hogwarts is Quidditch. And, as an engineer, I love all things number-related and spreadsheet-adjacent. How do we combine those two? By going through every written description of a Quidditch match in the books, recording stats for the players, and drafting an All-Star Quidditch team, of course!

But if Harry Potter isn’t up your (Diagon) alley, never fear. There are plenty of other Honors seminars to choose from. I have taken three other ones during my time at Iowa State. The first was on the evolution of monsters through human history. We started by reading Beowulf and ended with playing modern horror video games. The second was on orchids and was taught by a person who is probably tied for the most enthusiastic professor I’ve ever had. The third was about musicals and the common structure that most of them share. That one was taught by a University of Florida professor who graduated from the ISU Honors program and has actually produced a couple of Broadway shows! It was super cool to get an insider perspective on what goes on behind the scenes on Broadway. Final thoughts: take Honors seminars! Take all the Honors seminars! And Go Cyclones!

Spring ’22 seminar registration opens on November, 17, 2021 at noon: https://www.honors.iastate.edu/program/uhp/seminars/spring-2022

Top 10 Things I’m Thankful for at Iowa State

by Cameron Bristow, junior in Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Management

Hey everyone, it’s Cameron! I’m a triple major in Marketing, Management, and Entrepreneurship, with a minor in Leadership Studies. I’m also an Honors Ambassador, which is very cool! As we enter the beautiful month of November, I thought it was the perfect time to reflect on my blessings and express what I’m thankful for here at Iowa State. From the amazing people to the alluring environment to the world-class resources, here is a list of some things I’m the most thankful for:

10) The Squirrels – Tell me you’ve seen a squirrel on campus and didn’t smile. You can’t because you’d be lying. They’re amazing.

9) eduroam and IASTATE – It’s so great that ISU offers 2 Wi-Fi networks, so we can connect to whichever one is actually working for the day! I’m writing this on IASTATE as we speak. 

8) Dua Lipa – She isn’t necessarily Iowa State related, but Future Nostalgia has gotten me through many sad studying nights, so I think she at least deserves #8. Stream Future Nostalgia – The Moonlight Edition, now available on most major music platforms. Love you Dua. 😘

7) Steve Butler’s Calculus Videos – Admittedly, I taught myself calculus out of the textbook, but these videos have brought so much happiness to my friends’ lives, which makes me happy in return. I’ve highly considered taking Calc II just to have some more Steve Butler content in my life. Decisions, decisions. 

6) CyRide – Can we talk about how great Ames’ public transportation is? Like, you can get almost anywhere in Ames for free as an ISU student. Shoutout Orange 23 for saving me from the cold on so many days. I’m writing this on eduroam as we speak. 

5) The Trees – The trees on campus are freaking sweet. There’s a reason Iowa State gets rave reviews for its campus, and no doubt, it’s because of the trees. I’ve tried picking a favorite but it’s like picking a favorite child. If you’re reading this, please comment below and tell me what your favorite campus tree is! 

4) Macubana – Macubana is one of my favorite stops in Ames. Whether I’m catching up with friends or taking a girl on a date that doesn’t work out, Macubana always makes my heart and stomach full. I highly recommend the poutine fries and the garlic witch. 11/10.

3) Nick Serck – Tell me you’ve seen Nick Serck on campus and he didn’t bring a smile to your face. You can’t because you’d be lying. He’s amazing.

2) Jischke – The building where I’m either the most productive or the least productive. There is something so special about a place where I can learn all of Business Law one moment and sing karaoke at 2 AM the next. 

1) The People – What I’m most thankful for from my Iowa State journey are the people I’ve met along the way. From those who I can joke around with every day at Jischke to the friendly faces I see all around campus, it’s the individuals here that make me the happiest. If you’re reading this, I probably really appreciate you.

Please enjoy this totally legit, not photoshopped photo

Reflection on WE21 National Conference

by Hanna Stec, junior in Aerospace Engineering

Hello Honors People,

My name is Hanna Stec and I am a junior studying aerospace engineering here at ISU. I’m also the President-Elect of the ISU chapter of Society of Women Engineers. Every year there is a big SWE National Conference and this year it was held in Indianapolis! I was fortunate to attend in person with 26 other women from ISU and wanted to share some of my thoughts with you all!

One of my favorite parts of attending conference was the ability to get to know some of my fellow ISU SWEsters better. Taking time away from school to just hangout and have a great time by exploring a Harvest Festival or navigating a new city (aka, getting lost) was something I didn’t realized I needed. I think it’s so easy to get caught up in deadlines and forget that we are surrounded by some pretty awesome people.

In addition to being with people I interact with on a nearly daily basis, I found myself surrounded by 16,000 SWEple excited about empowering gender minorities in engineering. The theme of the conference was “Aspire to Inspire” and I truly felt these words seeing the sheer magnitude of people who were in Indy to celebrate the accomplishments of women engineers. I experienced this at the career fair where I was able to speak to a multitude of companies who gave advice on how to acquire competitive internships (including a lovely woman from NASA who took the best selfie ever with us). I also experienced this at a collegiate lunch that celebrated the potential we bring to the professional engineering world. There were also professional and personal development sessions that inspired me to be my best self in nearly every aspect of my life.

It’s difficult to fully capture how impactful this experience was. Attending the conference in-person reminded me why I love my SWE community and how sky’s the limit for my success. The people that I met elevated my experience and reminded me why women empowering women can be so powerful. The lessons and memories I have from WE21 will help carry me through the rest of this semester, and I look forward to implementing the lessons I learned in the ISU SWE section and my own life.

P.S.- If you want to have a similar experience next semester, we will be attending WE Local in Des Moines during the Spring 2022 semester. Keep a lookout for info and you can always email me at hestec@iastate.edu to learn more about our ISU SWE community 🙂

Where is YOUR study spot?

by Lydia Stanley, senior in Genetics

Studying without distractions is so hard…especially after spending a majority of the last two semesters online. That is why it’s so important to find your study spot: that one place where the stars line up, the clouds part, the world makes sense, and you can finally trick your mind into focusing. For me it’s the fourth floor of the library. Perhaps you could try the quiet room in the library, or the atrium of the ATRB building, or the basement of Lagomarcino, or one of the numerous hidden study rooms in any building on campus. If you require a more natural ambiance, might I suggest a café around Ames, or sitting out in the grass on a lovely day. No matter where you decide to “settle down” it should provide with a sense of ease and, I hope, comfort as you grind your work out.

5 Reasons You Should Leave Ames While at ISU

by Allee Koestner, senior in Agronomy

I completed a National Student Exchange (NSE) to the University of Hawaii at Manoa during the spring semester of 2021. Although I love Ames, the experiences I had during that semester had a huge impact on me. Therefore, if you are considering a study abroad or national exchange experience, I want to give you five reasons why you should make it happen.

1. The People

Don’t get me wrong, the “Iowa nice” around here never gets old, but meeting new people with different backgrounds, passions, and cultures is also great. It is interesting to learn about how different someone’s background and culture can be from the ones that we experienced growing up in the midwest. Even just learning about the restaurants that a person loves or where they like to grocery shop can lead to entire conversations about the place that they are from and how that compares to your experience. The best part is, these people that you meet can be lifelong friends. Since my experience with NSE, I have been visited by a friend from Boston, MA and Tulsa, OK and I get to go visit them later this year as well.

2. The Places                       

Do you prefer the ocean or the mountains? Well, you can’t find either one in Iowa so you will have to travel for a semester to gain that experience. Being an agronomy major, I also enjoy seeing more varied forms of agriculture aside from the corn and soybeans that are grown here. If the outdoorsie things aren’t your style, branching out of Iowa can also bring the experiences of find new local businesses and events to support in a different community. In Hawaii I was able to experience both the ocean and the mountains while supporting many local restaurants and volunteer organizations that I would not have been able to connect with from Iowa.

3. The Food

Food is a huge part of culture. When traveling to a new place I think it is important to be open to trying new foods as they may be important to the people and places that you are visiting. Learning how and why a food is prepared and eaten can be very interesting.  And who knows, you may find your new favorite meal. In Hawaii, I learned to love poke bowls, spam, and lots of rice from the dining halls.

4. The Reflection

Possibly the most important part of traveling for a semester is being able to reflect on yourself and your goals for the future. It is not an easy task to move thousands of miles from home for four months to a place you have never been with people you have never met. However, through that experience I was able to learn more about myself, how I build relationships, and what my goals for the future are. You may find your new home in the place you visit or discover you don’t want to stay in Iowa after graduation. Even if you decide the midwest is your forever home, you may catch the travel bug and begin a continuous list of places you want to visit.

5. The Education

All of the previous reasons to leave Ames come down to this one right here. There are an unlimited number of experiences waiting for you and the amount of knowledge and growth that will come with them is amazing. Attending a different university for a semester opens the doors to classes on topics that aren’t even considered at Iowa State. For example, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa there are classes on surf culture, Hawaiian culture, and tropical agriculture systems that have no parallel at Iowa State. I was able to learn about the issues that Hawaiian face each and every day and how that affects the environment of the state of Hawaii. This, along with all of the knowledge I gained from becoming a travelor and not a tourist, is what set my semester apart from all the others.

For more information visit the study abroad website (https://www.studyabroad.iastate.edu/) or the NSE website (https://www.nse.dso.iastate.edu/).