Catching up: How I spent my summer vacation


Sheena Schreck (’04 communication studies) is the founder of Stand Up Paddle (SUP): Iowa, an organization dedicated to promoting one of the country’s most up-and-coming outdoor recreational sports. While her work and love of the water has taken the Carroll, Iowa, native to Laguna Beach, California, she has never forgotten the place she calls home and has enjoyed the opportunity to bring her favorite sport to her home state. We at the Young Alumni Council were thrilled to have the opportunity to add her story to the feature, and watch for more summer vacation stories to be added to the blog soon. 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.

YAN: What inspired you to get involved in SUP and promote it in Iowa?
SS:The Sup Iowa story began during a family trip in Lake Tahoe, California in 2009. It was during that vacation my sisters and I were offered a chance to try a new sport called “SUP” — stand up paddle boarding. Always having a curious mind and a love for adventure, my sisters Liz and Keely and I decided to set sail on our first experience at sunrise on the lakes of beautiful Tahoe. After a few paddle strokes into the experience, I found myself a new passion that offered a great workout, serenity, and the excitement of something different.

SUP Iowa is born.

Soon after the trip, I relocated from Iowa to southern California and immediately bought my first paddle board. I became immersed in the sport and enjoyed sharing my new passion with friends, local beach bronzers, and my family that would often visit from Iowa. During a sunset paddle session in the fall of 2012, I envisioned bringing two of my passions together — my love of paddling and my desire to give back to my home state of Iowa. Immediately after returning from that paddle session I went to work on how I was going to turn my dream into reality. Fast forward to today, where the coastal experience has been brought to the Iowa lakes! SUP Iowa provides a fun and unique opportunity for the residents of Iowa to enjoy the beautiful waters around the state through the growing water sport activity originating from the islands of Hawaii.

What is SUP and what are the benefits?
Stand up Paddle Surfing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Stand Up Paddling, or SUP for short is a popular water sport where a paddle is used while standing up on a surfboard. SUP has a Hawaiian heritage and translates in Hawaiian to Ku How He’e Nalu: to stand, to paddle, to surf, a wave. Stand Up paddleboarding came about as a way for surf instructors to manage their classes of beginner surfers. The higher viewpoint offered by the SUP style made it easier for the instructors to see what was going on around them and check for incoming swells. The instructors used their regular surf boards and added a single blade paddle.

The popularity of the modern sport of Stand Up Paddle Surfing also has its origins in the Hawaiian islands. In the early 1960’s the “Beach Boys of Waikiki would paddle out on their long boards with outrigger paddles to take pictures of the tourists learning to surf. The term “Beach Boy Surfing,” another name for SUP surfing, came from this. Rick Thomas is credited as being the first modern surfer to bring Stand Up Paddleboarding to the mainland. In 2000 Rick introduced California to the new sport of SUP Surfing as an alternative way to train while the surf was down. Stand Up Paddling has since became huge in the States as well as around the globe.

Stand Up Paddling offers the young and old an alternative to challenge their balance and their core. The benefits range from the satisfaction of trying something new to an intense cardio workout under the beautiful open sky. SUP Iowa offers a variety of options for the beginners and advanced paddlers alike. SUP fitness is a fun and challenging way to get fit, sculpt your body, strengthen your core, improve your balance, and increase your overall wellbeing. Who doesn’t love getting a workout on the water and under the sun? In addition, we also offer SUP YOGA, offering a modified version to your yoga practice. Can you think of anything better than savasana on board, with your fingertips in the water?

How did your time at Iowa State prepare you to create SUP Iowa?
My college experience I had at Iowa State provided me a strong foundation of business acumen and excellent communication skills with the courage to realize my entrepreneurial vision! From my mentors to the curriculum, Iowa State offered an experience that has allowed me to succeed in my “day job,” as well as an opportunity to stretch myself beyond the normal every day. In addition to SUP Iowa, I have been in the pharmaceutical business for the last 10 years. I initiated my career with Pfizer and now have the good fortune to work for Mylan, where I have been for the last five years. Currently, I am a district sales manager for Southern California and Hawaii.

My involvement within the Greek system (Go GPHI-B!) allowed me opportunities to create friendships with positive and talented women across the state and beyond. These women, including my supportive family, have been an integral part of my professional success. I am so appreciative for the wonderful experiences I had as a college student at ISU and still wear my cardinal and gold colors with pride! My time spent at Iowa State enhanced my pride I have for our great state.

How do you show you are “Forever True” promoting your movement this summer?
I will always be an Iowan at heart — always Forever True to the “field of dreams.” Anyone who has ever met me in my career which has taken me all across the United States and around the globe, knows I am an Iowan – born and raised! I once was told by a former client of mine that Iowa should stand for Intelligent Outstanding Women of America. Sounds about right! In all sincerity, my vision for SUP Iowa was twofold: to create a business out of a growing sport I am incredibly passionate about and in a state I will always call home. As a current California resident, I’m a proud Iowan and Cyclone ambassador. I’m proud of the opportunities I have been able to create for the locals and visitors of the Iowa Great Lakes through the sport of SUP. In addition, I am thankful for my SUP Iowa ambassadors who have been an essential part of building SUP Iowa over the last two seasons; two of my ambassadors are current Iowa State students, and I believe their experiences at ISU have helped elevate the experience we have been able to offer for our guests.

What advice do you have for the class of 2015?
Start with why! One of my favorite books is Start with Why by Simon Sinek. In this book, Sinek enlightens readers as to why some leaders have the gift to inspire others more than the rest. In a nutshell, it is those who know their “why” who often generate the most impact on others. I believe it’s about finding what you are incredibly passionate about and pursuing it relentlessly.  In addition to discovering your why, I think it’s all about taking advantage of every opportunity! From the friendships you form to the classes you take, each opportunity is a choice you can make to further your personal and professional development. Carpe Diem! Lastly, the social media generation has produced an “immediate gratification” mentality where text messaging and twitter trump the face to face conversation. Although I am a big fan of many of the social media platforms that allow connectivity across the globe, we must remember the power of human contact. Relationships are key to realizing success. Invest the time to pick up the phone, or meet in person and spend the time speaking and listening to others.

Catching up: How I spent my summer vacation


Brandon Woods (’12 biology) is a third-year student in the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine who reached out to us after the August issue of “Young Alumni News” to tell us more about how he spent his summer vacation: On an internship in Borneo, researching endangered orangutans. (Read more from Brandon on the EcoHealthNet Alliance website.) We were thrilled to have the opportunity to add his story to the feature. Watch for even more summer vacation stories to be added to the blog in the coming weeks. 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.

YAN: What inspired you to pursue this opportunity and travel to Borneo?
BW: My inspiration to pursue this opportunity in Borneo boils down to four things: a curiosity of new cultures, a concern for wildlife conservation, a passion for public health, and of course a great thrill of adventure! After I discovered the internship on the EcoHealth Alliance website, I felt like this global veterinary research project was the perfect culmination of all my experiences. I wanted to make the most of my last summer before I started my senior year of clinical rotations, and what could sound more exciting and practical than an overseas study on orangutans?

How did your time at Iowa State prepare you for the cultural differences as well as the challenges of the internship?
I believe that two of the reasons why I was selected for this internship were my past international experiences and research projects at Iowa State University. Studying abroad for a semester in Tasmania pushed me out of my comfort zone in a land down under, where I explored cultural diversity and grew more independently. Likewise, volunteering on a Nicaraguan veterinary mission trip also taught me how to be culturally sensitive in a foreign country. For example, I respected the local traditions while I toured the Kotakinabalu mosque and tasted exotic foods like bird nest coffee and grilled eel. My years in ISU’s Honors program and my capstone Lyme disease project prepared me for the internship challenges surrounding wildlife ecology research. I learned valuable skills such as how to manage a demanding work load, how to communicate effectively, and how to problem solve and persevere. Although nothing could quite prepare me for a hike through a cockroach and bat-infested cave!


How did you show you are “Forever True” while in Borneo?
Even though I was half way around the world in the hot, humid heart of Borneo, I still showed pride for my alma mater. When I wasn’t wearing my jungle gear or a white lab coat, I sported the good ol’ cardinal and gold and shared Cyclone stories with my new-found colleagues and friends!

What advice do you have for the class of 2015?
I think three of the most important pieces of advice that I learned in Borneo were to remember the big picture, collaboration is key, and balance your time OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwith work and play. Sometimes you’ll get frustrated and can’t see the forest for the trees, but try to keep positive, zoom out, and remind yourself of your overarching goal. I would not have been able to do this internship and promote orangutan conservation without the widespread collaboration of veterinarians, wildlife forest rangers, scientists, and others — so remember that the keys to success are teamwork, compromise, and communication. Lastly, this trip would have been more fatiguing than fantastic if I only worked and never truly experienced the culture, cuisine, and color of Malaysia, Borneo. On one of my days off, I went scuba diving in a crystal clear coral reef and it definitely was a breath of fresh air. Stay focused and work hard, but take time to explore, reenergize and monkey around, at least for a little while.


Five Things

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

1) In what is becoming a trend that might make you laugh if it didn’t make you cry, the Big 12 Conference office has reprimanded and suspended two football officials for negligence that contributed directly to a Kansas State touchdown in Saturday’s heartbreaking 4-point Cyclone loss at Jack Trice Stadium. And in case you were wondering: No, it doesn’t change anything. But the Cyclones (0-2) head to Kinnick Stadium with chips on their shoulders Saturday.

2) The unveiling of the CyclONE City project lived up to its hype — and more. Visitors and fans were truly wowed by the artistry of the unique sculptures, which made their official debut and were on display in front of our building Aug. 29-30. They’re now scattered across Ames. In case you missed the chance to see them at the Alumni Center last weekend, check out the Cyclone City Web page (scroll down to the bottom) for a photo gallery that shows all of the sculptures — and where you can find them in Ames. They are definitely worth checking out.

3) School’s back in session. Want to know you can help your child have a successful year? Why, yes: Extension can help with that.

4) “Beat Iowa Week” means the return of another tradition in Chicagoland — the annual ISU vs. Iowa alumni flag football game. The game has traditionally predicted the winner of the big game later in the week, so if you live in the Chicago area, be sure to suit up for the Cardinal & Gold and help do your part for the Cy-Hawk Series. The game is set for Wednesday night; get details on Facebook.

5) ISU football fans are likely to remember Hiawatha Rutland (’03 psychology MEd ’08), the former Cyclone running back who led the team in rushing before suffering a career-ending foot injury in 2003. What you may not know about Rutland was what a Renaissance man he was, from his work as a stand-up comic who appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Standing to his volunteer work abroad to his summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to his career as a teacher at NYC’s Lower Manhattan Arts Academy. Rutland, who was working toward his dream of teaching in Africa, died last month at the age of 33 after he drowned in Lake Erie. Read more about his remarkable life that was cut so tragically short in his hometown newspaper.