Five Things

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


1) Despite our less-than-helpful communication about the issue over social media yesterday, we think Cyclone Nation is now aware that the Iowa State men’s basketball team starts its Big 12 tournament run Thursday night at 8 p.m. (ish) at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The sixth-seeded Cyclones will take on third-seeded Oklahoma in the second game of the 6 p.m. evening session.

If you’re in KC following the Clones, be sure to join us for the ISU Alumni Association Club of Kansas City’s pre-tourney party Wednesday night at Kelly’s Westport Inn (500 Westport Rd., 5 p.m.) and our pre-session spirit rally Thursday afternoon in Room 1501 of the KC Conference Center (corner of Wyandotte and 14th St., 3 p.m.) As the Cyclones advance in #HiltonSouth, more pregame rallies will be held as scheduled by the league office. We will post information as it becomes available at

See you in KC!

2) The state of Iowa is poised to become the site of the country’s 18th regional affiliate of the national Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC), a nonprofit group of more than 700 universities, colleges, research labs, hospitals and government agencies that works to generate a large jobs database to help member institutions recruit and retain the best employees. ISU officials say the creation of the affiliate could provide a big boost to the university’s faculty and staff recruitment efforts — something that is in great demand as President Steven Leath strives to achieve a 16:1 faculty-student ratio. Due to rapid growth and escalating national demand for an Iowa State education, our record enrollment of 36,001 has resulted in what is currently a 19:1 faculty-student ratio.Getting down to 16:1 has to be a long-term goal, Leath admits, as it would take 300 new faculty and zero new students next year to move the needle.

An informational/networking event for the potential Greater Iowa regional HERC is set for Tuesday, March 29.

3) In 2011, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law. Also in 2011, Angela Shaw ’03 ’06 was an Iowa STATEment Maker honoree as a rising star food scientist at Texas Tech University. Today Shaw, who earned her PhD from TTU in 2010, is back home at Iowa State as an assistant professor of food science and human nutrition. And she’s also — thanks to a three-year, $950,000 grant from the FDA — the person in charge of launching the new North Central Regional Center for Food Safety Training. The center, which will be housed at ISU, will provide guidance to food processors and growers in 12 Midwestern states as specified by FSMA guidelines.

Shaw is eager to embrace the challenge of educating Midwesterners about how to comply with federal mandates and strengthen the U.S. food safety system. It’s a task, she says, that aligns well with ISU’s land-grant mission.

4) A recent feature by WHO-TV takes television viewers inside the cow maternity ward at the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center. “It’s kind of like a hotel,” assistant professor of veterinary medicine Tyler Dohlman said. “People can drop their cows off when they’re gone.” Learn more about ISU’s “Moo-tel 6,” if you will, by watching the story online.

5) Beating Iowa is always fun. And that’s exactly what the Cyclone gymnasts did Friday night against the favored No. 17 Hawkeyes at Hilton Coliseum — by the skin of their teeth! Five ISU gymnasts earned or tied career highs on individual events as the team netted a season-high score of 196.025. That score beat the Hawks by a whopping 0.025 — but a W is a W, and this one was an instant classic and a true nail-biter.

“Going into the last event we knew it was going to be tight,” ISU head coach Jay Ronayne said. “We were down just a tiny bit. It was head-to-head, we just had to stay on pace with them. It came down to the last competitor.”

Check out highlights from Friday night’s win online, and follow the latest in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series scoring here — it all comes down to softball on April 20!

Part of the Cyclone Family


A fan approaches and asks to take a picture to share with his grandson. Two girls a few tables over sneakily snap pictures on their iPhones. Drivers passing by on the street tap their brakes and twist their necks for a view.

All of this activity centers on two young men sitting at a café table, but they’re not at all distracted. This is just a normal morning in Ames.

Iowa State men’s basketball seniors Georges Niang and Nazareth Mitrou-Long have embraced their celebrity status as Cyclones. Both are four-year Iowa State veterans whose bios in the roster are followed by long lists of awards, honors, and impressive career statistics. But off the court, these two players have capitalized on their local prominence, using it as an avenue for interaction and a way of giving back to the community they say has given everything to them.

“They do a great job of being ambassadors for the university, and I think that’s a responsibility you have if you’re going to play at a school like Iowa State,” head coach Steve Prohm says. “Guys like Georges, guys like Naz, they really embrace that.”

And for every interaction they have with fans, Niang and Mitrou-Long feel that they get something back.

“The fans here care for us as whole individuals,” Niang says, explaining that fans ask about their families and studies almost as often as they ask about Cyclone basketball. “They don’t realize how much that motivates our drive to get up every day and be better, not just for ourselves, but for them. The best thing we’ve experienced is seeing the happiness from the fans with us winning and with how we conduct ourselves. We never want to let them down.”

“There aren’t any professional teams in Iowa, so we kind of get treated like that. Love is the word,” Mitrou-Long adds. “It is wholehearted love and people will never truly understand what their support means.”

Niang and Mitrou-Long consider it a part of their duties to help spread that Cyclone love. Both regularly volunteer their time at events in the Ames community and beyond. If you spot them between classes, eating dinner or roaming the aisles of a supermarket, odds are they will be patiently fielding requests from fans with smiles and selfies.

Niang and Mitrou-Long make an effort to interact with fans through social media as well. Their Twitter accounts are used for behind-the-scenes glimpses into their daily routines and as a way to interact with fans far beyond the borders of Iowa. More than a few selfies find their way onto those pages, too. No matter the setting, the guys enjoy interacting with the fans.

“We love activities where we can be active,” Niang says. “We’re all competitive, so when we can participate, it’s the coolest thing. We can interact with fans or people that look up to you in a game setting – like playing softball. That really brings out who they see, and who we are on the court.”

But the community atmosphere isn’t the only thing that makes Ames a special place for Niang and Mitrou-Long. They thrive on the unique atmosphere of Hilton Coliseum as well.

“When you think about it, when we’re down is really when Hilton is the loudest, or when we’re going on a crazy run,” Mitrou-Long says. “I don’t think many places have an atmosphere like that.”

Niang says the crowd support often wanes for other home teams when Iowa State builds big-point leads on their courts. “But our fans really rally around us in that situation. They’re the only fans that I know where if I get scored on three times in a row, they’re cheering to me even louder,” he says. “The passion they have is second to none, and the world is just starting to realize what we’ve had the blessing to experience for four years.”

The sensation of fan support hit full force for Mitrou-Long during one of his first games as a Cyclone. “I remember being so nervous and looking around thinking, ‘Wow, this place is packed, this is more people than I’ve ever played in front of.’ The thing is, once I made my first shot, all the nerves just went away. It was a sigh of relief; it was great,” he says.

That feeling is something that both players share with new recruits. “I tell them you’re not going to find another place like this where good or bad, rain or sunshine, the fans are going to be right there with you. You won’t find a better place than this with a more
family-oriented feel,” Niang says.

And although their time at Iowa State is quickly drawing to a close, Niang and Mitrou-Long don’t plan to leave the Iowa State community behind altogether.

“It gives us something to cherish for the rest of our lives,” Niang says. “All those special moments that we’ve had together, as a team and with people in the community.”

“The people out here treat us like family. We’ve spent four years of our lives here and it’s been surreal,” Mitrou-Long says. “It’s crazy to think that it’s coming to an end soon, but Georges and I will always have an attachment to Ames. We want to be able to come back here and look up to the banners in Hilton and say that we’ve done things that will be remembered in this place forever.”

Cy’s Suitcase: March 2016 Edition

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A Message from Shellie

One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.

– Edith Wharton

shellie_marchI have traveled to a lot of different countries. I have seen scenery that looks like postcards. I have eaten some very interesting food – some delicious, some not so much. I have swum in some of the most beautiful waters on Earth. I have stepped out of my comfort zone and ziplined in Costa Rica and crawled through narrow dark tunnels in Turkey. Despite all that I have experienced, it is the people I meet who have changed me the most. It is often  in the countries that have the least that the people are the nicest. They aren’t caught up with the latest fashions, the greatest technology, or who said what to whom. And with each person I meet in some of the poorest countries, you know what I hear each time? “Please come back and visit us.” I love that. There are so many reasons I love to travel, but discovering how many kind people are out there restores my faith in the world.

I was recently fortunate to travel to Cuba and Egypt. The people in both places were so hospitable. I am not sure what I was expecting, but not that. In Egypt, everyone was so excited to see us. There hasn’t been any tourism since the Arab Spring over four years ago. The locals were ecstatic to see a tour bus! I felt completely safe the whole time I was there. I urge you to visit each destination. You won’t regret it.

I am currently putting together our trips for 2017. Be checking our website at for many exciting places for you to visit. And meet some of the kindest people in the world.

Safe travels,

Shellie Andersen ’88, Director of Alumni Travel
Iowa State University Alumni Association

Oceania wins top ratings

marinaMany of you have traveled with us on an Oceania cruise. For those of you who haven’t, you may want to give it a try, especially after they ranked high in an award program through

Two of the large sized ships, the Marina and Riviera, placed 4th and 6th, respectively, as overall winners. Other categories in which Oceania received awards were cabins, dining, embarkation, fitness, public rooms, service, and value.

Travel tips

1) Patience is important. Don’t sweat the stuff you can’t control, like flight delays and cancellations. That is a perk of traveling with us; we help you make those annoyances much easier to deal with by having the tour operator on your side!

2) Stash extra cash. Just in case you lose your card or your wallet gets stolen, stash some extra money (maybe $200) somewhere in case of an emergency.

3) Meet local people. Start conversations with local people. Amazingly, basic English is spoken all over the world — so it’s easier to communicate than you might think. I love talking to the locals to find out how they live. It makes the trip so much richer for me.

4) Pack a scarf. This simple piece of cotton is one of the most useful travel accessories with many different practical applications. It is great to cover you up in the cold airplane or to use as sun protection.

5) Take lots of photos. You may only see these places and meet these people once in your lifetime. Remember them forever with plenty of photos. Don’t worry about looking like a tourist. Are you traveling to look cool? No one cares. Great photos are the ultimate souvenir.

6) Take good notes. My memory is horrible. I often think I am going to remember everything about a trip, but a year later, I don’t remember many of the details. I regret not writing down the people I met, the food I ate, or what I felt in the new experience.

7) Don’t be afraid. The world is not nearly as dangerous as the media makes it out to be. When you travel with the Traveling Cyclones, your guides are locals and will know when a situation is sketchy. Do you know you are more likely to be hit by falling furniture than to die from a terrorist attack? A CIA agent at a travel conference told me that.

About Zika…
Check out some tips from ISU’s Thielen Student Health Center about protecting against Zika virus when you’re traveling this spring.

Interested in alumni travel? Contact Shellie:
(515) 294-9310
(877) 478-2586 (toll-free)