My kind of (Campus)town

If there’s one thing to keep track of at Iowa State that’s has changed since you graduated – no matter how recently — look no further than Campustown.

“The Campustown Renaissance is exciting to watch,” says Kim Hanna, director of the Campustown Action Association. “Our new skyline along Lincoln Way continues to rise and you can really see now what the new buildings will look like. As new businesses arrive in our district this summer to enhance the amazing mixture of businesses already in the district, alumni will be shocked this fall when they come back for ISU games and see how their Campustown has changed.”

Check out the Campustown Action Association’s redevelopment Web page and “Campustown Reborn” from VISIONS magazine for details about the plans, but meanwhile Young Alumni News decided to ask some Iowa State young alumni about THEIR Campustown.

JILL MASCARELLO WANDERSCHEID (Life Member) (’04 community and regional planning) | Sioux City, Iowa

YAN: What is your favorite memory from Campustown during your time at ISU?
JMW: I think, overall, just hanging out with my friends and roommates at all of the places in Campustown. For me, my time at ISU really started and stopped with Campustown. It started with me walking to class through Campustown from Towers as a freshman and ended with our graduation party at “Big Shots.” So many great memories!

Have you made it back to Campustown as a young alum? If so, where did do you go and what was your experience like?
Yes, I have made it back quite a few times since I graduated. The APA-IA annual conferences was held in Ames a couple of years ago so I spent one of the evenings walking around Campus and Campustown. So much has changed but everything still “felt” the same. It was a great experience.

You currently work as a neighborhood services supervisor. As a trained city planner, why are revitalization and development important to a neighborhood?

Neighborhood development and planning are important to a neighborhood for a variety of reasons. Perhaps a neighborhood is struggling due to aged utilities, poor aesthetics, vacant storefronts, etc. A planner’s role would be to identify the issues and causes and develop a strategy / plan for future investment while pulling together various resources.

How do city planners make sure that a neighborhood’s unique sense of place is not compromised when a revitalization project is undertaken?
Great question! I think the key is engagement and education within the planning process. A focus should be placed on educating community members on why they should care about the project / planning process and how they can get involved. I think the most successful neighborhood projects we have undertaken in Sioux City have been successful because of the public input and community ownership of the project.

NICK HITSMAN (’07 finance/accounting) | Ankeny, Iowa

YAN: What was your favorite Campustown drinking establishment? What was your favorite drink?
NH: Peoples. I loved FAC, especially when Seindenfeld was on stage (Shot of Vodka!). My favorite drink was a Noble from Cy’s.

What was your favorite Campustown eating establishment? What was your favorite food?
Little Taipei – top-notch Chinese food at a good price. My favorite food item, though, was gyro at 2:15 a.m.

Is there anything that could have improved the vibe in Campustown while you attended ISU?
Maybe a stage outside for live music in the summertime.

If you could replicate your favorite Campustown establishment in your current city, what would it be?
People’s, for sure. I think it didn’t work in Des Moines because it was so large/open and didn’t have the homey atmosphere of the version in Ames. If you put the Peoples from college in Des Moines, I would definitely be there for happy hour!

KALEIGH (MARTENS) HITSMAN (’07 LSCM/marketing) | Ankeny, Iowa

YAN: What was your favorite Campustown drinking establishment? What was your favorite drink?
KH: Paddy’s or Club E (element) — two different atmospheres, but it was fun to see friends while they worked at Paddy’s. And it was really fun to go to element and have their pitcher drinks; I think they were $5 for any mixed drink. Seriously, this was out of a water pitcher! Always fun to go dancing, too.

Do you have a favorite memory from Campustown?
I remember junior and senior years I was really close with a group of LSCM majors and we always did projects together and then celebrated weekly on Thursdays at the bars on Welch.

Is there anything that could have improved the vibe in Campustown while you attended ISU?  

I don’t really think so. I loved the setup of Welch and being able to walk everywhere around campus to get things that were needed — food, drinks, post office, book store, dorms, classes, apartments.

If you could replicate your favorite Campustown establishment in your current city, what would it be?
Wallaby’s. I’m more of a restaurant person vs. a bar person now that we have a family!

DAVID LANGNER (’12 animal science) | Storm Lake, Iowa

YAN: What was your favorite Campustown drinking establishment? What was your favorite drink?
DL: Es Tas. Loaded Corona.

What was your favorite Campustown eating establishment? What was your favorite food?

Café Beaudelaire Burger with ham and beef.

Do you have a favorite memory from Campustown?
Beating Oklahoma State in Ames when they were highly ranked and celebrating in Campustown afterwards

If you could replicate your favorite Campustown establishment in your current city, what would it be?
We’d have a bar that plays Enya, does karaoke, and has top-shelf drink specials on Tuesdays.

NICOLE BURFORD (Annual Member) (’11 advertising) | Denver, Colo.

YAN: What was your favorite Campustown eating establishment? What was your favorite food?
NB:Es Tas. The cheese balls there are amazing — definitely something I miss since graduating!

Is there anything that could have improved the vibe in Campustown while you attended ISU?
Cleaner bathrooms

Have you made it back to Campustown as a young alum? If so, where did do you go? What was your experience like?

Yes, I have. We went to Outlaws and Sips. It was a great time, but I felt pretty old compared to the crowd in the bars.

Spotlight on Cyclone hoops

This article was originally published in the Feb. 27 issue of Young Alumni News, an email publication of the ISU Young Alumni Council sent bimonthly to graduates of the past 10 years. For more information about Young Alumni Council and the Alumni Association’s young alumni programming, contact Tillie Good at

With the airing of ESPN’s College GameDay from Ames Jan. 17 and the Cyclone men’s basketball team enjoying unprecedented levels of media attention under head coach Fred Hoiberg, excitement about Iowa State basketball is greater than ever. So Young Alumni News wanted to know: What is it like to be at the center of all this hubbub? We recently caught up with Joel Gourley, Cyclone Alley Central Committee co-chair, to find out what life is like at Hilton these days. (Full 2014-2015 Cyclone Alley Central committee pictured at right)

YAN: First of all, how long have you been involved with Cyclone Alley and what do you do as co-chair?
JG: I have been involved with Cyclone Alley for three years. I was a committee member for 2 years and am a co-chair for this season. As co-chair, I work with my other co-chair and committee members to create the best possible atmosphere for our men’s and women’s basketball teams. Specifically, my fellow co-chair and I work with the athletics department to come up with new ideas to increase attendance and reward students for attending basketball games. We also oversee timeout promotions and other in-game activities that our committee puts on.

What about Cyclone Alley has changed or improved over the past three years?
I would say the biggest change has been in our reward system. We reward students for attending games by assigning points for each game attended. Then there are rewards for receiving a certain amount of points. We have switched our rewards and/or the criteria for receiving rewards each year. I feel this year we have our best system in place and have the best rewards we have ever offered.

Student tickets seem to be a hot commodity these days. Students have camped out overnight for tickets and even to appear on College GameDay. Describe the organization and planning required to meet this kind of demand.
Both of the Cyclone Alley co-chairs serve on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, and that body serves as Jamie Pollard’s connection with students as the athletics department forms ticket policies and makes changes. While we don’t have any direct control over ticket policy, Cyclone Alley was one of the first groups to begin discussions about overselling the student section to allow more students access to men’s basketball specifically. For the most part the Athletics Ticket Office manages the organization required to sell tickets, and Cyclone Alley is committed to helping in any way we can.

What role does social media play in engaging Cyclone Alley members?

Social media is a huge asset for our marketing department. This is our main way of communicating with students about special events and opportunities that we may have going on. We use Facebook and Twitter to inform students about gamewatches, rewards, and giveaways. We also tweet updates about games for students unable to make it to Hilton.

What new cheers, props, or skits are you using this year?
This year we have made an effort to be even more active and visible during the games. We decided that investing in “big heads” that we could rent out during the games could accomplish that and improve the game atmosphere. So now we have 11 big heads to rent to students to wave during the game. We have also come up with new timeout promotions to try this year, including the 3-shot contest and the Naz Long 3-point shot of the game.

As a veteran on this committee, I have seen how new ideas can grow and evolve and the effect it will have future years.  I am excited to see what we can put in place now that may be there 5 or 10 years from now.

The Cyclone women’s team has a very loyal fan following and consistently ranks among the top 10 nationally. Talk about being a part of Cyclone Alley at the women’s basketball games.
It is very exciting to be a Cyclone Alley member during women’s games. The whole Ames community is so close and does a great job of supporting Iowa State events. It is this special bond that makes women’s games so fun. As you said, our women’s games attendance is one of the best in the nation, and as a student you can get extremely close to the action making you feel like you are a part of the game.

Cyclone Alley treats the men’s and women’s games equally and doesn’t do anything unique for women’s games, per se. However, as I mentioned before, we have a rewards system in place to reward students for attending games. Attending a men’s game is worth 1 point and attending a women’s game is worth 2 points.


**The ESPN College GameDay experience was a memory that will last a long time for ISU students and fans alike. Check out some great photos of the production from Jim Heemstra

**Students aren’t the only ones who can make it loud at Cyclone basketball games. The ISUAA Club of Washington, D.C. recently road-tripped to West Virginia to cheer on Fred & Co. The Cyclones won, of course. Find out how you can connect with other ISU alumni in your community for gamewatches and road trips at

**Help make some #HiltonSouth Magic with us this March! If you’re planning to follow the Cyclone women’s and/or men’s basketball teams to the Big 12 Tournament, be sure to check out for all the latest fan events and details.

Catching up: With an alum who knows how to get her kicks

Rockette PhotoVania Boland (’13 apparel, merchandising, and design) is the events and customer service coordinator for the Iowa State Historical Building in Des Moines, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. And while Vania’s happy with her work as an event planner and historian, she’s also passionate about dance – including a particular holiday tradition that is truly one-of-a-kind: the Radio City Rockettes. Young Alumni News caught up with Vania and asked her about her recent experience at the Rockette Summer Intensive at Radio City Music Hall. This article was originally published Dec. 17 in the December issue of Young Alumni News, a bimonthly publication of the ISU Young Alumni Council.

Tell us about your experience at Radio City Rockette training camp.
Training with the Radio City Rockettes was a fantastic yet eye opening experience for me. The Rockette Summer Intensive is a dance program designed to teach the Rockette style of jazz, tap, musical theater, lyrical and the legendary kick line – all held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Not only did I have the opportunity to work side-by-side with the Rockettes’ director/choreographer, but I also met many dancers who shared my passion for performing on stage. Our last day ended with a final performance on the Radio City Music Hall stage. (The same exact stage, I might add, where so many professional singers and comedians have performed, along with the Grammys, the Tonys, the MTV Video Music Awards, and the ESPY Awards.)

What was the most memorable part of your experience?
Being able to work side by side with the Rockettes themselves. We had two trainers who would choreograph and correct technique with all dancers. On our very first day, the Rockettes give the dancers attending the camp a tour of the space – including dressing rooms and backstage – and share stories on the costumes. I just remember how honest they were with their careers. The dance industry can be very hard on the body and the mind. The instructors gave great advice and shared personal stories on how being a Rockette changed their life. It was very comforting to realize how genuinely nice and encouraging these women were for us young dancers.

Does knowing how to do a Rockette kick line help with your current career?
Strangely, yes – considering how important teamwork and individual representation is to a Rockette. The two most important techniques I use in my current career are presentation and communication. Your presentation during a meeting, interview, or even working an event can portray a message to other clients. When I feel confident I perform better, and that’s why dancers have rehearsals while event planners have timelines. I’m also very fortunate to have such a great team with the Department of Cultural Affairs. Just like on stage, communication is very vital to a performance or project. Everyone must be on the same page or have the same counts in order to be successful. Being a part of a team is all about sharing your talents to become a stronger unit.

In addition to Rockette training camp, what other unique experiences helped guide you to your current career?
I’m a firm believer in the saying “You never know until you try,” and it hasn’t failed me yet. During college I had multiple interests but struggled with a career choice. All I really understood was that I loved my textile history courses at Iowa State and wondered how I could create a career from this. So I ended up reaching out by phone and sending emails to see if I could simply job shadow. Then during my junior year, I became an intern with Jodi Evans, museum registrar, and the Iowa Arts Council working with textiles and art collections. After graduation in December of 2013 I traveled to Decorah in northeast Iowa and worked with the Vesterheim Norwegian- American Museum’s textile collections. I’m also happy to announce I’ll be traveling with Vesterheim to Norway in May 2015 for their textile study tour!

Aside from the Rockettes holiday special, what is your favorite holiday tradition?
That’s a hard one, but I would say watching certain movies on the countdown to December 25th. My family is growing fast, and some of us live out of state. So when we’re all home, my father brings out “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.” In my opinion, those are two of the best holiday films!

Catching up: With our former feathered friends


Young Alumni News recently caught up with some young alumni who have a very special thing in common: They were members of the mascot squad during their college years. Read on to find out more about their Cy experiences in honor of the big guy’s big 6-0 this Homecoming. This article was originally published Oct. 1 in the October issue of Young Alumni News, a bimonthly publication of the ISU Young Alumni Council.

Noelle Lichty
lichty_blog1Noelle Lichty (’11 marketing and management) is an assistant manager with Hy-Vee Food Stores in West Des Moines, Iowa who performed as Cy from 2008-2011.

YAN: What initially inspired you decide to try out for the mascot squad?
NL: I have been I huge Cyclone fan my whole life. I grew up traveling to Ames from my hometown Sioux City to attend many Cyclone events. Many of my family members are graduates and now supporters of the Cyclones. My freshman year I was attending a men’s basketball game cheering in Cyclone Alley. I was watching Cy work the crowd. I thought I had enough school spirit and what it takes to be Cy. I jokingly told my friends I wanted to Cy. With a few loudmouths in my friend group, word got around that I was interested. A few weeks later I tried out and made the squad!

What was the most challenging part of being Cy?
The most challenging part of being Cy is that it’s hard work. You start sweating the minute the suit goes on until the minute the suit comes off. People sometimes forget that there is a person inside the suit. Your body definitely takes a beating.

What was your favorite moment(s) as Cy?
It’s hard to name my favorite memory as there are so many. To name a few: traveling with the football team to Texas and being a part of the upset. I will never forget watching all the Texas cheerleaders and dance team members cry after we defeated them. Also, Cy is stored in two massive red bags. When I would carry them from appearance to appearance people would always look at me like I was crazy. I would never disclose I was carrying Cy around but say I had two dead bodies. People really didn’t know what to think.

Did things ever not go as planned while you were in the suit?
When I was Cy Craig Brackins was our big basketball star. The night before the ISU vs. Kansas game at Hilton Coliseum, my friends dared me to chest-bump him during the game. They thought I would never do it. Before the game started the starting players names are called as they come off the bench and the sold out crowd all on there feet cheering as loud as possible. Craig Brackins was always the first name announced. I positioned myself at the end of the player tunnel so I would be the last person Craig met to give a high-five. However, he was not going to receive a high-five from me. His name was called as he made his way down the tunnel toward me. I was in prime chest-bumping position. He reached me and started to leap in the air. I also leaped; however, my leap was not nearly as high as his. Craig’s vertical jump was a tick higher than mine, to say the least. I went up and came back down as he continued to go up. Our timing was off and as I landed on the ground I felt my bird head slip away up over my head. The hot stuffy confined space was no more as fresh air hit my head and light shined in the eyes. The bird head was not on my head. I’m the center of attention of over 14,000 fans in a giant bird suit with no head on. My cover was blown. Everyone saw who was inside one of most popular figures on campus.

The crowd went silent. Craig Brackins finally lands from his leap and, in shock, says “Holy shit! Cy’s a girl.” As I look frantically for the Cy head, it is nowhere in sight. The head had flown across the floor of Hilton Coliseum. I run across the floor to retrieve my costume’s giant red bird head. I quickly put it back on my head and wonder what just happened. Craig comes up to me as I continue to digest the situation. He asked me if I was OK. I stayed on the floor for the rest of pre-game with a detached head. I tried to act as nothing had happened. The minute the game began, I ran to our changing room. The other members of the Cy squad ran after me. In shock of what happened, they calmed me down. All of Hilton Coliseum just saw me, a female, in the masculine mascot suit. My performance throughout the game was extremely awkward because the mascot everyone believed to be a male was in fact a female. I was known around campus and amongst Cyclone fans as the mysterious female Cy. It opened people’s eyes that Cy can be a woman. Women can put on a large suit and act like an idiot for other people’s entertainment. In that game against Kansas, Craig Brackins scored a record number points — 42. The paper’s headline read “Brackins opens Eyes,” with the first sentence mentioning how he knocked off the female mascot’s big red head. I was pictured right underneath.

What was your favorite part of performing?
The best part of being Cy was being able to do whatever you wanted to do. The more crazy and obnoxious, the better. You were always the center of attention.

Photos courtesy Noelle Lichty.

zelle_blog2Ben Zelle
Ben Zelle (’14 ag business and management information systems) is a marketing representative for Deere & Co. who was a member of the ISU mascot squad from December 2011 until he graduated in May 2014.

YAN: What initially inspired you decide to try out for the mascot squad?

BZ: Growing up a Cyclone fan and having loved Cy as a kid, it seemed like a great opportunity to give back and support the Cyclones. I had mascotted once in high school, then served a few years as Iowa Corn Association’s mascot, Captain Corn. The try-outs were posted right before Thanksgiving break, and I was encouraged by a friend to try out. Right after Thanksgiving break, the try-outs were in the indoor football practice field. I figured, “I’ll at least get to try the suit on and say that I did it.” Well, the rest is history.

What was the most challenging part of being Cy?
The physical demands of the mascot suit. Although you adjust to it over time, it is taxing on your body to subject yourself to 30-degree increases in air temperature that could push inside suit temps to easily over 100 degrees. It is also a high-energy demand to provide a consistent experience to fans at every event. No matter if it is your first or 1,000th picture where the camera operator does not have the camera ready (<-please have your camera ready!), there is a need to provide that same Cy experience, so that every Cyclone to come has the same love for our mascot.

What was your favorite moment(s) as Cy?
I have two: National Cheer Association (NCA) Mascot Competition in Daytona Beach, Florida and winning the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament. In 2013, Iowa State participated in NCA nationals for what we believe was the first time in the mascot competition. While we didn’t take home first place, it was a great adventure putting a skit together and then having the opportunity to preform on the Beach Bandshell Stage. Supporting the Iowa State men’s basketball team through the 2014 Big 12 tournament championship was a memorable experience. Cheering from the sidelines as our team showed its true colors and #cycLONEnation came out in full force to support was amazing. I’ll never forget that moment and being on the court while they cut down the nets!

Did things ever not go as planned while you were in the suit?
During basketball season, I was working the crowd at a men’s game during the pregame warm-ups. There was a family that had courtside seats with a young boy. I came onto the floor to give him a high five when he dropped his hot cocoa onto the sidelines. Yikes! I went immediately into ‘customer experience’ mode and ran to the bathroom and got paper towels then into the maintenance room to get a towel with cleaner spray bottle. I ran back (which is difficult with Cy’s big feet) and began cleaning the spill. After getting the floor shined up, I knew there was an opportunity to really change this experience around for the young Cyclone fan. I looked up at the clock to see 15 minutes till tip, then took off up the stairs to the concourse. I grabbed a Hilton staffer on my way and went around to the stand that sold hot cocoa. I then attempted to explain the story and order the drink using all non verbals. (Try that the next time you are ordering something beyond a Clone Cone!) We finally got it worked out, and I carefully walked back down to the court to deliver the drink to the young boy, who had a renewed love for Iowa State’s mascot. While I was exhausted before the players were even announced, it was an awesome example of the impact Cy can have — even when things don’t go as planned.

What was your favorite part of performing?
Making a memorable experience for fans. There is often the opportunity to make or break a fan’s experience. There is literally a few split seconds to make a child cry or love mascots, and we get that experience almost any time we suit up. Making a memorable experience for them like I had growing up is what kept my passion during my tenure as a mascot.

Photos courtesy Ben Zelle.

Zane Brugenhemke
Zane Brugenhemke (’12 athletic training) is a graduate assistant working with the football program at the University of Akron. He suited up as Cy from April 2008-Fall 2012.

YAN: What initially inspired you decide to try out for the mascot squad?

ZB: My love for Iowa State Athletics and the chance to be more than just your average fan.

What was the most challenging part of being Cy?
Toeing the line, I would say. Every game, it seemed we had people complain that Cy did something they didn’t think was appropriate. But honestly, that is kind of Cy’s persona! Cy isn’t always a nice a friendly mascot; he is a bit of a prankster and sort of likes causing a bit of mischief. Some people didn’t always like it, but I found the vast majority always had a laugh if Cy was stealing their purse for a few minutes or stealing their nachos!

What was your favorite moment as Cy?
Winning the Capital One competition in 2008 and being able to go out to L.A. to shoot the commercial.

Did things ever not go as planned while you were in the suit? We know you were involved in an incident at the ISU vs. UConn football game in 2011 where you were injured while falling in the opponents’ student section. The incident was covered by media such as and the ESPN Big 12 football blog, where David Ubben described the situation as an “ugly incident.” Describe the event.
That event has been a very big part of my life. Even now, working here at the University of Akron, people ask me about my scars on my arm and can’t believe the story I tell them. The blunt and honest truth is very far from the story that the press like and David Ubben heard. The UConn press release was really a bunch of frustrating lies. Here is the story as short as I can make it.

ISU had scored and I was in the corner end zone that also had our fans in it. After James White scored the TD, I looked up and saw a UConn fan heckling our fans. I had encountered this before as a mascot, and it is fun to play with opposing fans. I saw this and decided to run up the stairs to where he was standing. At the top of these stairs there was no guard rail on one of the ends. I DID NOT KNOW THIS BEFORE CLIMBING THE STAIRS. I then started shaking my finger just to be playful with the UConn fan and trying to tell him to be nice to us! I then tried to climb over the small guardrail into the stands and I must have placed a hand on him and he didn’t like. So he decided to punch Cy in the face and then push me the rest of the way off the ledge that didn’t have a guard rail. I DID NOT FALL DOWN THE STAIRS ON MY OWN. I WAS PUSHED. I wasn’t in the UConn student section as the UConn press release stated.

I knew right away my arm was broken. I was then taken to the medical room and, in the middle of removing the suit, a UConn policeman burst in asking if I wanted to press charges. I said yes, but I was very busy right now dealing with an arm that was broken in three places and I would talk to them later. I was never contacted by UConn police again, and they conducted the rest of the investigation without ever talking to me.

The rest gets boring and just involves me having surgery the following Sunday in Omaha, Nebraska by Dr. Crabb and his incredible staff. Two plates and 13 screws later I am doing just fine and have a hell of a story to tell.

How has that night changed your perception of mascotting or athletics fan bases in general?
It hasn’t. I will say that I almost hate UConn as much as the Hawkeyes, but I still work in college athletics and see a new fanbase every week. It is all part of being a fan, and that one UConn fan can’t be a representation of fans across America. My assumption is that he was drunk and made some poor decisions, and I honestly probably should have never gone up those stairs in the first place.

What was your favorite part of performing?
The OSU (football) game (in 2011) had to be the greatest moment of my life thus far, and the fact I got to be Cy for that game will be something I always remember.

My first two years and the squad we had with Brent Behrens, Noelle Lichty, and John Shroyer were some of the best of my life. Those guys were some of my best friends, and I have so many fond memories of having some great times with them on and off the field. I really do miss it, even though I thought I wouldn’t after doing it for almost five years. Every time I see Cy now, I am always watching to see how good [he or she is]. Cy is truly one of the best things about ISU, and I am so proud I got to be a small part of his history. Cy truly made my college experience a great one… broken bones and all!

James Ortiz
James Ortiz (’11 chemical engineering) was only a part of the mascot squad for one season (summer-fall 2010), but, he says, “I did have a blast doing it!”

YAN: What initially inspired you decide to try out for the mascot squad?
JO: My cousin was the mascot at Oral Roberts University, “Eli”, the Golden Eagle… Was hoping ISU and ORU would meet someday…

What was the most challenging part of being Cy?
Trying to keep mascotting fresh. I was always trying to think of different things I could do that would entertain fans/little kids, without being too repetitive. Also, pesky kids pulling my tail was challenging.

What was your favorite moment as Cy?
Crowd-surfing up the student section.

Did things ever not go as planned while you were in the suit?
Once I wore a bandana that would come loose during pictures and walking around the tailgates before the game. It’s tough getting around in the suit when you’re blind!

What was your favorite part of performing?
I really liked feeling like I was an important part of the gameday experience: Messing around with kids, taking pictures with fans at the tailgates, and giving the football players high fives after the games. It was a lot of fun! I only wish that I would have gotten involved earlier in my college career! It really was a blast.

Catching up: How I spent my summer vacation

shanemairetShane Mairet (’09 horticulture) owns and operates Mairet’s Garden Center on Highway 61 in Muscatine, Iowa. This summer, he put his ISU entrepreneurship minor to good use by adding an ice cream store to attract customers to the garden center. What could be more summery than that? We at the Young Alumni Council recently caught up with Shane to add his story to the feature on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” 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 start the ice cream shop?
SM: The ice cream shop came about as I was looking for an addition to the garden center and produce farm part that would pull in new people from Hwy. 61 that runs in front of my store. So I decided food was how I wanted to go, but I needed to do it without building an full restaurant. I also love making homemade ice cream, so I combined the two into a ice cream shop. Then I wanted it to be something different than anything else in the area, so I went on the hunt for the best hard serve ice cream I could find. That led me to Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream out of Madison Wisconsin.

How did your time at Iowa State prepare you for your business career?
Iowa State does a great job preparing students for their futures. In my case, I was strongly encouraged and given many opportunities to strengthen my networking skills with programs like Wakonse, the Okoboji Institute of Entrepreneurship, and the great job fairs the colleges organize.

Another opportunity I had at Iowa State that has really helped in preparing me for my position as a business owner is the peer mentoring program. Being a peer mentor to the freshman and transfer horticulture students taught me to think outside of the box to keep people engaged and how to bring many different people together to accomplish a task.

Being comfortable as a leader and networking with other people are invaluable skills that I use almost every day, and I have Iowa State to thank for helping me develop and enhance these skills.

What advice do you have for the class of 2015?
My advice to the class of 2015 is to never let fear dictate the choices you make. Too many times in life we let the fear of what might/might not happen or what other people will say or a million other fears influence what we choose to do. By being true to yourself, you can accomplish amazing things.

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.