Honors Summer Snapshots: Leah

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2019 summer routines via photos. Leah Henderson (sophomore in Horticulture and Spanish) is doing field research in agronomic crop test plants…so wave at her if you see someone tromping around in a field near Huxley:

I am going to be a sophomore next year, double majoring in Horticulture and Spanish. This summer I’m interning with Bayer Crop Science in Huxley, Iowa. I’m doing all sorts of data collection and traveling around the state to work in various fields. These are some pictures of what my life has been like so far this summer!

Early this summer I went to Reiman Gardens and got to see all the crabapple trees in full bloom; I can’t stress enough how much you need to go to Reiman in late May to see these trees!


As a horticulture major I haven’t learned much about corn and soybeans in my classes, so I’m learning all about agronomy every day at work.


My standard equipment for a day in the field: an iPad to record data, stakes so you know where you are in the plot, and PPE (safety glasses, long pants and sleeves, and later in the summer we will start wearing face nets as well)


My parents got a new dog– a 3 year old ball of energy named Goldie. Since I’m living at home this summer I’ve gotten to spend lots of time with her, a perfect way to relax after working in the field all day.


My favorite plant, which I propagated almost a year ago, is finally developing its characteristic plantlets! This is the Mother of Thousands Kalanchoe, so named because it grows new baby plants on the edges of its leaves.


Reading outside is a favorite summer activity of mine, pictured here is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, which I highly recommend.


I’m really enjoying my summer so far, and it seems like it’s only just beginning!


Honors Summer Snapshots: Emma

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2019 summer routines via photos. Emma Troyer (senior in Biology) is spending the summer prepping to apply for medical school, as well as helping ISU’s Biology department with new student orientation:

Country roads, take me home! I snapped this on the way to my home, in the country.


Campus is so peaceful during the summer! You can take up a whole sidewalk, and take pictures without everyone judging you!


I walk to campus every day and love walking through central campus to take amazing pictures like this!


During orientation, we ask the freshmen what they are most excited about and what they are most scared of. All of it is compiled into a huge excel sheet and the data is used in orientation class!


This is the place where we register the incoming freshmen for classes! There are four Biology majors that help students register for classes through AccessPlus.


I got to go home one weekend while working and I saw my beautiful puppy, Tucker!

Honors Summer Snapshots: David

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2019 summer routines via photos. David Uselman (sophomore in Math) is continuing his First Year Honors Mentor Program research in Ames for part of the summer, and running and biking all over:

My name is David Uselman and I am going to be a sophomore this fall majoring in math and minoring in philosophy. I was an active member of the Hockey Pep Band and will be the Treasurer of the club next semester. I was also a member of the Marching band last fall and will return to the trumpet section this coming semester. I am spending the first half of my summer in Ames helping Dr. Rana Parshad with his research, tutoring in Calc 1 and 3, and taking Analysis. Below are some snapshots of the first part of my summer.

After finals ended, I spent about a week at home with my family and my dog in Madison WI. Her name is George Jones (named after the country singer). She is always on the prowl for snacks! Here she is hoping my dad will share his cereal.


My sister and I had quite the adventure during the week I spent at home when we went from Madison to Minneapolis to Ames to Minneapolis to Madison in three days so that she could attend her class for going abroad that took place on Tuesday and Thursday, and I could move on Wednesday. Here we are in Minneapolis at Minnehaha Falls.


Here my sister Allison is giving Cy some love outside Hickory Park after she helped me move from Martin to Freddy Court. We spent the night in Ames and watched Thor Ragnarök and ate Moose Tracks ice cream before heading back to Minneapolis the next morning.


After my adventure with Allison I spent the rest of the week at home and then drove from Madison to Minneapolis to Ames on Saturday so that Allison could fly to the Netherlands and I could move in time for class. Here are my mom and other sister, Margaret at Hickory Park when they dropped me off.


It seemed like it has rained every single Tuesday so far. It really makes bike rides wet and runs muddy, but it really made the flowers grow, a fair trade in my book.


There is no place to eat lunch on campus quite like sitting on Lake LaVerne looking back at the Campanile poking through the trees.


The main reason I was in Ames at all this summer was to conduct research with Dr. Rana Parshad. I was connected with him through the First Year Mentor Program and it was an amazing fit. We are looking at how three species food chains work when you give protection at certain levels of said food chain. Specifically, we are looking at giving shelter to the bottom two species when the top predator is invasive. Most of my part is running code in MATLAB and writing up what I find.


I may not be the best cook in the world, and most of my meals are PB and J or craft mac-n-cheese or some other college staple, but a burger with a smoothie, chocolate milk and some greens really hit the spot after a 10-mile-long run.


I was about 17 miles out from my apartment on campus and got a flat tire. Fortunately, I had my patch kit! If I have to get a flat, I’ll take it on a day like today that is sunny, warm and has wind of only 15 mph, about as calm as it gets out on these country roads.


Here is one of my other favorite spots in Ames. This is the bridge on the Audubon Trail out by my apartment in Freddy Court. It’s always nice to sit in nature and read or to run here instead of out on the roads.


My dad came down to Ames over the weekend and we went down to Des Moines to see an Iowa Cubs game (the triple A team for the Chicago Cubs). I had to represent the Brewers deep in enemy territory and I must have brought the Cubs bad luck because they lost by one in 12 innings.

Honors Summer Snapshots: Madelyn

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2019 summer routines via photos. Madelyn Ostendorf (sophomore in Journalism and Mass Communication) studied abroad in Ukraine doing documentary photography and media packages about aspects of Ukrainian culture, and shares one of those days with you:

Have you ever woken up at 4 a.m. to walk to the top of a cold, rainy mountain in Ukraine to film a Buddhist monk’s morning prayer? If not, it is exactly as surreal as it seems.


I went to Ukraine for a three-week study abroad, where we were tasked with creating a multimedia story about some aspect of life in the Carpathian Mountains. My group–comprised of me and two Ukrainian students, Oksana and Nazar–were documenting the life and travels of Sergij, a monk who established the first Buddhist temple in Ukraine. The night before, at about 7 p.m., a taxi drove us to the base of one of the mountains, and we walked up for 45 minutes. We had no idea where to go, just to look for a monk who would be waiting for us. We got there, pre-interviewed for a while, and then went to bed.


The next day started at 4. Sergij usually left around 4:30 for the mountain peak, but we had about ten pounds of equipment to prepare, pack and maneuver. Sergij was up with us, and had tea ready for us when we finally made it downstairs. After a twenty minute conversation about how he came to the Carpathian Mountains, it was time to start the hike.


Sergij led us on a ten minute walk up the steep, wet mountain. I was holding one camera, trying to make a video of him walking, while Nazar and Oksana used two other cameras to take pictures of his climb. There was just barely enough light to take photos with. The whole walk up, Sergij hit his drum and sang his morning prayer.


Once at the top of the mountain, the three of us were already cold, and the rain started. Of course, when we had left the mountain cabin the day before, we hadn’t thought to also pack umbrellas. So the three cameras, my cell phone (to make a time lapse) and a pretty expensive sound recorder were all covered by our jackets and hunched over bodies. It worked about as well as you would expect, but all the equipment ended up being fine! A good thing, too, because we had several hours of shooting to go.


The next several hours, we interviewed Sergij. We set up, in three different locations, an interviewing tripod for a steady camera and a moving camera that could catch other angles, as our videos could be more interesting. During one interview, Sergij was sitting on the floor of his temple room, and we could not get the camera low enough to fit him appropriately into the frame. We were frustrated, because this was an important scene. Nazar finally tossed his hands up in the air and whisper-yelled “We will mount the camera upside-down!” We all thought it was a joke, but it actually worked, and all we had to do was rotate the video in post-production.


We took hundreds of photos in between each interview. I was pretty much silent through the whole day, as the only words in Ukrainian I even sort of knew were “please”, “thank you” and “no”. Sergij knew almost no English, so all of the interviews were conducted in Ukrainian. However, he did know enough to tell me that he was sorry he couldn’t speak to me more, ask where I was from and how I was liking Ukraine so far. It was only a thirty-second conversation, but it made me feel a lot more comfortable.


At about 2 p.m., it was time to walk the 45 minutes back down the slippery, muddy mountain road that was impassible to cars to meet our taxi driver, who would take us the 30 minute drive back to our hotel. The roads in the Carpathians are pretty much lined with cattle, roaming free and eating grass. This one, pictured above, followed us for a good ten minutes.


Once we returned to the hotel, we crashed, ready to hit it hard again the next day. We had about a thousand photos between the 4 SD cards and more than 5 hours of video footage to look through. Our multi-media project is not yet up on the Ukrainian site “The Reporters”, but our 4 a.m. trek certainly paid off!

Honors Summer Snapshots: Joyce

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2019 summer routines via photos. Joyce Lai (sophomore in Electrical Engineering) has had a summer full of jobs, classes, and cooking…and also has some bubble tea recommendations for you the next time you’re in Cedar Rapids:

Hello! My name is Joyce Lai, and I’m a sophomore studying Electrical Engineering and minoring in Biomedical Engineering at Iowa State University! Last semester, I was involved in chamber and symphony orchestra, private violin lessons, tutored calculus II, the First-Years Honors Mentor Program, and more. My favorite parts about ISU so far are the cultural nights. This past school year, I went to Diwali Night, African Night, Malaysian Night, and the International Food Fair! Trying to do both E E and BM E, symphony orchestra, volunteering, tutoring, and have fun is still a work in progress. Keep reading to see how I balance my life throughout the summer while I’m at home in Cedar Rapids, IA!

The Saturday after finals, I attended my friend Stanley’s junior prom at Linn-Mar High School. I was really lucky because I didn’t have to pay for my dress — I borrowed it from my good friend, Chelsay! I had a lot of fun, mostly at the after-prom because of all of the free good and activities! My favorite parts were glow-in-the-dark dodge ball and ice skating. Fun fact: this was actually my first and only high school dance. I never attended a single school dance, but hey, I did attend after-prom my senior year!


The first week of summer, I really was bored out of my mind, so I decided to cook! I learned a lot of Taiwanese dishes (beef noodle soup, dumplings, steamed meat buns, stir-fried veggies) and also tried making chickpea gyros and some Japanese cuisine for my family. The chickpea gyros were inspired by Heaping Plato, my favorite place to use my flex meals on campus. My good friend, Chelsay, helped to roll the sushi, while I did the ingredient preparation, fried tofu, and miso soup.


After walking so much on campus this past semester, it felt weird to be trapped at home, so my best friend, Iris, and I took a road trip up north to Pike’s Peak State Park. Funny story: we actually planned on hiking some of the shorter trails at the bottom of the map, but we ended up getting lost and walked for 5 hours. After finding our way back, we took another glance at the trail map, realizing we had actually walked the longest trail (as far north as the trails went!) and most of the other trails (some were even hiked more than once because we failed to retrace our steps). I was unlucky enough to get two bug bites on the same eyelid. The positives: we learned we could physically handle a lot more hiking than we’d expected, and we took a break to enjoy our o-nigiri (お握り) rice balls that Iris made!


About the same time I moved back home, my mom’s friend had just opened a bubble tea shop called Hi Tea. I started working there in addition to my old job at Kumon Learning Center (the job I had throughout high school). This is the only bubble tea shop in Cedar Rapids, so I’ve been inviting a lot of my friends here — I even brought my mom’s friend’s kids, Max and Neo, there after watching Neo’s soccer game! The shop also sells shaved ice and rolled ice cream. The photo on the right is of the first rolled ice cream that I made. Fun fact: bubble tea originated in Taiwan, which is where my parents are from.


One of my goals for this summer was to get outside more. Chelsay and I took a walk to a park near my house and the sun was creating some serious lighting. You also can’t see, but we were sitting at the top of a jungle gym just for fun!


Linn Hall, Kirkwood Community College — where I am currently taking Physics 2. It’s definitely an intense 6 week course! So far, I’ve had exams every week, and lecture is about 2-3 hours Monday – Friday, beginning at 8 am.


Iris and I are sticking to our goal of getting outside by playing soccer (or attempting to) after working out at the Collins Aerospace Recreation Center, where both our parents work. We were a bit inspired after watching the FIFA Women’s World Cup!


Iris and I went to see Aladdin and loved it! We also became big fans of Zhavia Ward who is featured in A Whole New World, the end title song from Aladdin. We got hooked on the show, The Four, after watching Zhavia’s performances on it.


Friday, June 7th was the Dragon Boat Festival (duanwu jie / 端午节), one of the biggest holidays in China and Taiwan. There’s a whole legend behind the holiday that I won’t get into, but it’s tradition to make zhongzi (粽子), which is a special sticky rice that is usually consists of pork belly, mushrooms, salty egg yolk, and is heavily seasoned. The whole thing is wrapped in a bamboo leaf in a pyramidal shape.


Saturday, June 8th was my friend Christine’s 19th birthday, and we celebrated at her family’s restaurant, Oyama Sushi & Steakhouse. Definitely had a food baby afterwards.


If you’ve read thus far, thank you ~ I hope reading about my summer was worthwhile!


Honors Summer Snapshots: Matthew

We’re back for another summer! Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2019 summer routines via photos. Matthew Brandt (junior in Computer Engineering) has ventured to central Minnesota for adventures in programming and cooking:

I’m spending my summer in the small town of Willmar, Minnesota, about two hours west of the Twin Cities. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, it’s strange moving out here where there isn’t even a Chipotle within an hour’s drive. Here’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to:

This where I spend most of my waking hours. I am interning for a manufacturing company called Relco on their Automation Engineering team.


I’m learning how to program PLC’s (Programmable Logic Controllers) to have machines control processes like attaching labels on boxes and sending pallets out to be shipped.


Here is an input and output device I hooked up to run with the ladder logic code I made.


Basically, the code tells the IO module when it is off or on, and how much current to produce when on. The photo above this one gives a reading that I’m having the IO module output at 43% of its max.


I’ve come to learn a little bit about the town I’m staying in this summer. The biggest growth for Willmar was probably when the Great Northern Railway added a division point here. Trains go by hourly every day. And they only sometimes wake me up at 2:30 a.m.


I thought I might have a bit of free time on my hands this summer, so I figured I might as well earn some credits while I’m at it! I’m taking developmental psychology online through Iowa State this summer. It gets me that much closer to my psychology minor, and I can take my exams in my pajamas!


I’ve also had to learn to cook on my own. I’ve made scrambled eggs with onions for breakfast a few times and they turned out pretty good.


Above is also my first attempt at making dinner. It turned into French onion soup with chicken meatballs and I promise it tasted better than it looks.


When I’m not studying or working or messing up my dinner, I like to take walks and see what I can find.


The nice part about living in Minnesota is that there are lakes everywhere, including less than a mile from my house!

Marching Band?

by Allissa Van Steenis

So you’re thinking of joining the marching band, but wondering “is this the right thing for me?” Having finished my rookie year, I’ll see if I can answer some questions and offer some advice.

Iowa State Has a Marching Band?
Yes. The marching band is the Iowa State University Cyclone Football ‘Varsity’ Marching Band or ISUCF’V’MB for “short”. It is a group of around 350 college students who enjoy playing music and having fun together. We play a wide range of music in the stands and on the field.

Marching Band….in Iowa… Dino Suits???
Yes. We were the band with the inflatable dinosaur suits. (If you haven’t seen it, google it. 🙂 ) The students in the suits were part of State Storm, the other marching band on campus.

Do I Have Time for Marching Band?
Possibly. Marching band is a large time commitment. Rehearsals are an hour and a half every weekday and game day fills up Saturdays. New members are allowed to miss rehearsals once a week due to class conflict, returners are allowed to miss two rehearsals per week. Then, all students can miss a total of 180 minutes or 2 rehearsals for one time events, like an exam, study session, or any other event. The big thing, which you’ve probably heard countless times already, is to communicate.

Great, You Can Miss Some Rehearsals, But Do I Have Time For Marching Band While Being Involved In Literally Every Activity On Campus?
Unlikely? A big mistake that’s made when starting college is overloading. You could attempt to take a full course load, be in marching band, and 4 clubs that sounded super neat at club fest, but you probably won’t be having a good time. Personal advice, don’t sign up for everything at once. Give yourself time to adjust to college. It’s a new environment with all new people and it can be overwhelming at times. Start with a few things and add to it; this will allow you to get adjusted and find your limit for involvement.

Is College Marching Band Like High School Marching Band?
Sort of. This depends on the band program you come from. College marching band doesn’t have competitions like in high school. There is a new show for nearly every game, so you are always learning new drill and music instead of focusing on one complicated show for the whole season. College marching band goes through the entire semester. The ISUCF’V’MB has some really early mornings, like, 6 am call time early. In both, you make good friends and spend time with your band family.

Yes, yes you did. On game days we have a call time of about 5 hours before the kick-off. This allows for a final rehearsal, the step show, and all the other fun game day traditions.

There’s a Second Band?
YAAASSSSSS!! State Storm is a smaller group of students, around 65, in the second marching band. In comparison to the ISUCF’V’MB, they meet twice a week and have their own traditions for game day. Also, they play at the wrestling tournaments and soccer games and join the ISUCF’V’MB on the field for one game per season. You don’t audition directly for this group when auditioning everyone auditions for the varsity band.

YES! You have to audition to be a member of the marching band. There is a music and marching component to the audition. The music is probably already on the website and you’ll learn the marching at rookie camp. Personal advice: practice and memorize the music before rookie camp starts so you can focus on your marching technique.

What’s Rookie Camp?
It’s basically band camp, but with the students trying out for marching band. At camp, you’ll learn the marching technique used at Iowa State and other marching band things. This is before classes start, so you move in a few days early.

What If I Don’t Own My Instrument?
All good! The music department has some instruments that you can rent for the season for a low cost (maybe $25?) that is charged to your U-Bill.

What’s a U-Bill?
That’s not band related! Ask at orientation.

I Bet There’s a Fee.
You are correct. There is a uniform fee to cover the cost of cleaning and maintenance of uniforms (around $90). This is also charged to your U-Bill.

But I’m Not a Music Major?
All good! Most of the band isn’t. Fun fact: only about 5% of the marching band is made up of music majors. Another fun fact: nearly 40% of the marching band is made up of engineers. Another another fun fact: 100% of the marching band is made up of nerds. 🙂

Do You Travel?
Yes! The ISUCF’V’MB travels to some away games and high schools for exhibitions. During the last two seasons, the band traveled to the bowl games! The university covers the cost of traveling.

Will I Make Friends?
Highly likely. You still need to talk to people whether in or out of your section, but the marching band is a great way to meet people!

Okay, You’ve Convinced Me. How Do I Join?
Easy! Go to the marching band website and find the How To Join button. Follow instructions from there! This link may work: https://www.music.iastate.edu/org/marching

I’m Thinking About Doing Music But Maybe Not Marching Band?
There are other types of bands (and choirs) at Iowa State! You can find one that suits your schedule and interests.

Check the marching band website using the link above. There is an FAQ section that might answer your question. If not, go to the marching band booth at orientation and ask there.


TL;DR: Do band!