Catching up: How I spent my summer vacation

Young Alumni News recently caught up with some young Iowa Staters and asked them what might be considered a common question: How did you spend your summer vacation? We got a few great, uncommon responses, which you can read below. Did you do something cool with your summer vacation? Contact Young Alumni Council marketing committee chair Andrea Fellows ’06 at to share your story with Young Alumni News.


Evelyn Huyhn Roberts (’09 journalism) of Oelwein, Iowa (originally of Des Moines) is backpacking across Europe while her husband is on an eight-month deployment with the U.S. Navy. She quotes Helen Keller — “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing” when asked why she’d head off on a crazy adventure on her own — and blog about it along the way. Young Alumni News recently caught up with her (over email, of course) to find out a little more about her adventure.

YAN: What inspired you to start your traveling blog?
ER: I decided to start my travel blog because I’m doing a six-month solo backpacking trip across Europe and I decided that was the easiest way for friends and family to keep up with me and my travels. It was also meant to help me keep track of all the places I went and all the amazing things I saw. Although, to be completely honest, I am quite rubbish at keeping it updated. I only have three or four posts, even though I originally planned on doing weekly posts. I’m too busy enjoying Europe!

How did your time at Iowa State prepare you for your travels?
You meet such an array of people when you’re at Iowa State. There are so many opportunities to learn about other cultures and customs. Being around such a mix of people really makes you appreciate all the world has to offer. Traveling is no different. I’ve met so many interesting people from every corner of the world on my journey. Although we come from different cultures and backgrounds, it’s incredible how much we all have in common as well.

How do you show that you’re “Forever True” to Iowa State?
To me, being “Forever True” to Iowa State and the state of Iowa in general means being genuine and friendly. I’m sure we all know what it means to be “Iowa Nice,” and that’s what I’m trying to spread as I travel around Europe. I often get remarks that I’m the nicest American people have met while traveling, and I like to think that’s because of my Iowa Nice roots.

What advice would you share with the class of 2015?
My biggest piece of advice to the Class of 2015 is to follow whatever life path makes you happiest. Too often people feel pressured to live their lives a certain way or follow a certain life path. It’s cliche, but don’t be afraid to take chances, seize opportunities, and jump in with both feet. It’s your life and only you know how you should live it. Don’t let others bully you into living their version of your perfect life.

Photo above courtesy Evelyn Roberts; taken at The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.


Giovanna Rajao is a soon-to-be alum and Rio de Janeiro native who spent her summer interning with CNN International at the World Cup in Brazil. Although she’s not a young alum just yet, Young Alumni News was inspired to reach out to her and find out more about her unique experience.

YAN: What inspired you to apply for an internship with CNN International?

GR: I wanted to have the best preparation before applying for jobs upon graduation, and in my mind, there’s no better company to gain an in-depth understanding of the field of journalism than CNN.

What was your role as an intern, and what was your role at the World Cup?
Some of the work I did at CNN International and Español included assisting producers with logging interviews, monitoring news, and compiling material for editing, performing story research and fact-checking for various programs and specials. During CNN’s World Cup coverage, I was responsible for assisting on shoots and on ground crew activities, transcribing and translating interviews and press conferences from Portuguese to English, and research for presenters and shows.

Not only did you have the opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the World Cup, but it occurred in your hometown. Describe what it meant to see your hometown transform into the center of international sports and cultural attention for the summer.
This experience was a dream I never even had, and even though it’s over now, it still seems surreal to me that I was able to be in Brazil for it. The World Cup has always been something sacred to me, and some of my fondest memories as a child were watching the games with my family and cheering for my favorite teams and players. Never did I think though that I’d to be able to be a part of a celebration that for years I’ve enjoyed by watching it on TV. Nothing really compares to it.

How did your classes/studies/experiences at Iowa State prepare you for your roles throughout your time at the World Cup?
Being involved with journalism-related organizations at Iowa State has been crucial to my involvement with CNN. Organizations like ISUtv gave me a feel for the work I knew I’d do in the “real world,” and many of the things I did at ISUtv transferred to the work I did for CNN.

Do you have a favorite Iowa State sports team, player, or coach?
I had never watched a football game before coming to Iowa State, but today, football season is my favorite — and nothing gets me more excited than hearing Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” at Jack Trice.

What advice do you have for the class of 2015?
Be bold, take risks, and get involved. Iowa State is a great place to gain the necessary skills to achieve what may seem to be impossible, but if you work hard, there’s really nothing can stop you from achieving your goals.

Photo above with Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar courtesy Giovanna Rajao.


Five Things

Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:

1) It’s the first day of school! And the first day of college for the class of 2018. Welcome, Cyclones — enjoy your adventure!

2) Last week President Steven Leath challenged ISU Alumni Association president Jeff Johnson to take part in the ALS ice bucket challenge. During the summer ISUAA board of directors retreat, Jeff delivered — alongside board member Ryan York, who also owed some friends an icebath. While there are certainly a preponderance of these videos online, it never really gets old supporting an important cause — or watching some of your favorite Iowa Staters get doused with ice water. And given that temperatures in Ames have been in the 90s over the past week, it’s not really the worst thing one could do.

3) This morning marked the funeral of Ferguson, Missouri’s Mike Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9. But although Brown has been laid to rest, the controversy surrounding his death continues. CNN’s Anderson Cooper recently caught up with ISU Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences Gary Wells, an expert on the reliability of eyewitness testimony who pointed out that although there were witnesses of Brown’s shooting, it is no surprise that their accounts differ and we will probably never know for sure what happened.

4) Want to live in a college town? recently made its choice of the best one — and it probably won’t surprise you.

5) In case somehow you didn’t hear, the 2014 Cyclone football season kicks off this weekend. Make a weekend of it by attending the Campustown Action Association’s Campustown FAC (5-9 p.m.) this Friday night and Cyclone Central (8-10:30 a.m.) this Saturday morning before the NDSU game. You can view all of the CyclONE City sculptures and meet the newcomers to the ISU men’s basketball team while you’re there. (Register by Wednesday if you want to eat breakfast with us, too.) Go, Cyclones!

Five Things

Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:

08-07 ISU Iowa State Fair_62351) It’s all about YOU at the Iowa State Fair this year. Iowa State’s exhibit theme is “Adventurous Iowa Staters Making Iowa Greater” – and the names of 97,002 alumni living in the state of Iowa are featured on a giant wall as part of the display, so be sure to stop by the Varied Industries Building and look for your name. Also, if you’re an Iowa State alum living in Iowa, tell us how you’re making Iowa greater by using the hashtag #myadventure on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Vine. Your story will be shared on the online tagboard AND live at the fair. Read more about Iowa State’s presence at the State Fair, which runs through Aug. 17.

2) Already nostalgic about the 2013-14 year in sports? You can relive it here with this Cyclone athletics year in review. (Remember when nearly 18,000 Cyclone fans filled “Hilton South” in Kansas City last March? How about when the football team came back from a 24-point deficit to beat West Virginia?) Highlights include Big 12 championships, individual milestones, grad rates, academic brag points, awards, and student-athletes giving back to the community.

MR8K3) So you wanna be an astronaut? It might be too late for most of us, but five Iowa State students had the opportunity to “think like an astronaut” Aug. 4-10 in a class taught by Clay Anderson (A)(MS ’93), an ISU distinguished faculty fellow in aerospace engineering. “We turn out excellent graduates at Iowa State in aerospace engineering, but they don’t know how to think like an astronaut,” Anderson said. The workshop exposed students to training programs similar to ones he completed as a NASA astronaut. Anderson retired from NASA in 2013 after two trips to the International Space Station. Read more.

4) It’s hard to believe that Iowa State classes begin in just two short weeks, but next week the new freshmen move into the residence halls and Destination Iowa State starts Thursday, Aug. 21. To get some insight into today’s Iowa State students, follow this fun blog: Cyclone life is written year-round by ISU students who post their thoughts, photos and videos as they go about their daily lives.

IMG_00985) The bright blue porta potties are out in the Iowa State Center parking lot and a couple of tents are up near the Jacobson Building. Could football season be far away?

VEISHEA is cancelled permanently

President Steven Leath has announced his decision to permanently discontinue VEISHEA, supporting the recommendations of the 2014 VEISHEA Task Force and ending a celebration that has been overshadowed by destruction and violence over the past three decades.

“I understand that it is very sad and disappointing to see this 92-year tradition come to an end, and there may be some who are upset with this decision, but I am not going to continue to put students at risk so that we can preserve what, to many, has become a week-long party,” Leath said at a news conference this morning. “I will not be the president who has to call a student’s parents in the middle of the night to say your child has been critically injured in another VEISHEA-related disturbance.”

Leath suspended VEISHEA 2014 in the aftermath of an April 8 late-night disturbance in Campustown. He appointed a task force, led by Tom Hill, senior vice president for student affairs, to examine the celebration’s future. The task force submitted its final report and recommendations on July 11.

Leath said that numerous changes to VEISHEA and attempts to prevent related disturbances since 1992 ultimately did not succeed. Citing student safety as his No. 1 priority, Leath said his decision was a difficult one, but it is the right one for Iowa State.

“It’s time to stop the cycle. We can’t continue to do the same thing and expect a different result,” he said.

Some traditions associated with VEISHEA will likely continue, such as a musical theatre performance. Leath said he remains open to a future university showcase or events, but the content and timeframe have not been determined.

He also said he plans to work with members of the Faculty Senate, deans, and Hill’s office to evaluate the university’s student disciplinary regulations, and he plans to collaborate with city, neighborhood leaders, and local law enforcement to address the task force recommendations related to security and city ordinances.

Even as VEISHEA ends, Leath reiterated his pride in Iowa State.

“I don’t want (this) to, in any way, diminish all of the other extraordinary things we’re doing every day, in every college, department, and unit on campus,” he said.