Honors Summer Adventures: Lily Learns to Love Ames (and Horses)

by Lily Cooper

I never thought that the very first summer after my freshman year in college would be spent six hours away from home. An idea was planted in my mind back in December when Dr. Caston, an equine assistant professor at Vet Med, informed me that she was searching for a year-round student worker. When I first realized that staying at Ames during the summer was an option, I was apprehensive. What if there weren’t any other students? What if I couldn’t afford a place to live? How on earth was I going to stay busy enough? Luckily, I had the semester to grow used to the lab work that Dr. Caston had in store for me. Working in a Vitamin D lab culturing cells as part of my First-Year Honors Research Project certainly cultivated a fascination for the work as well, solidifying my decision.

MUFountain of the Four Seasons by Jingwei Yang: http://photostream.iastate.edu/photo/view/id/1539/sort/newest

One thing led to another, and I found myself settling into an apartment here in town when the last day of classes rolled around. Surprisingly, this summer has filled itself rather quickly. Not only do I work with Dr. Caston as her student research assistant; I also drug test race horses at Prairie Meadows Racetrack down in Altoona, and I am an occasional vet tech for Abby Roads Veterinary Service. As one of my friends put it, “because [I] like to let money slip through [my] fingers,” I am completing two Animal Science requirements online this summer (AnS 210 and AnS 216) in addition to my work. Despite all of the hours I’ve been logging in various jobs, classes, and volunteering, perhaps the most inwardly thrilling part of this summer so far has been showing my mother my new place; it’s crazy to think about the fact that I am taking the first steps to creating a life of my own away from home. Overall, I find myself extremely fortunate to experience firsthand how much Ames has to offer students of Iowa State University, even during the summer. For a college town especially, the attractive vitality of the town, and the strong sense of community, has not diminished one bit.

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