Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Meet Brooke Kindelsperger!

Hi everyone! I'm Brooke Kindelsperger, and I will be one of your peer mentors this fall. 

Moving can be a stressful situation especially when you are moving away from home for the first time.  Hopefully, I can give you a few little tips to make your move to Iowa State a little easier.
Packing is one of the first steps and it starts at home.  If you can, try to go to a local grocery store or gas station to get sturdy boxes for packing.  They will usually just give them to you saving you a little money.  It is also handy to pack things into plastic totes, but if you cannot send these totes home they take up a lot of space in your room.  Be aware of what you are packing and the space you will have available to you.  Labeling boxes can help you decide what is best to unpack first when you get to your new Iowa State home.  Don't waste space in boxes, tubs, etc.  You can even pack things inside of your microwave! :)
Organization is very important in small spaces.  Small plastic containers and organizers can be found at most local stores and are great for putting school supplies, jewelry, and other small items.  You can even pack these before you put them into larger boxes to save time.  I found that a small 3 drawer cart fit perfectly in my dorm room closet for a little extra drawer space.
If you haven't already, talk to your roommate(s) to know what each of them is bringing so you do not have 2 of the same things.  Plus this gives you the chance to know what kind of decorations each of you is bringing.
MOVE-IN DAY! It's exciting, sad, confusing and frustrating all in one.  With all those emotions it's hard to keep everything into focus.  Be aware that there are hundreds of families moving in their children in those two short days so the parking lots and buildings will be busy.  Take advantage of the move-in crew!  They will be easily identifiable and they are there to help you.  They can do anything from helping you carry furniture to directing you to where you can check in at.
Many students choose to loft their beds which works very well.  But, if you are planning on moving your furniture around in your dorm room it is best to do that before you crowd the space with boxes.  This is another thing your roommate(s) and you can discuss before moving in to make things go a little smoother.

Most of all it is important to make the best of your move to Iowa State and to make it your home for the next four years!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Meet Josh Schroetter

Hello 2013 Hixson Scholars! Are you excited for the school year to start?? Well, I know I am. My name is Joshua Schroetter and I am so excited to be one of you peer mentors this fall!

I am a 2010 Hixson from Howard County (in the northeast part of the state) and I am majoring in Computer Engineering with minors in Mathematics and Sociology. I could go on and on about how excited I am to meet all of you this fall, but I think it is about time I get to the actually information part of the blog.
If you have been following this blog for a while, you likely already read about some of the resources here at Iowa State (and if you haven’t been following the blog I am honored this is one of the first posts you are reading). My goal today is to get you more familiar with AccessPlus ( and Blackboard (, which are two websites that you will utilize for you entire time at Iowa State.

Since most of you attended Orientation and registered for classes, you have likely already seen AccessPlus (A+), which is the website that you registered for classes on. That is just one of the great features of A+. When you first log on to A+ (using your university ID number and a password you set up at Orientation) you will likely see two tabs at the top right labeled A+ Home and Student. If you get an on-campus job another tab called Employee will also be up there. You will spend most of your time in the Student tab. Under the student tab you can do things such as look at your U-Bill (which show the money you owe or are being refunded by the university), check out your dining and housing statuses, see your class schedule, check your CyCash balance, see your grades and get transcripts, look for jobs on the Student Job Board, and many more things. The ones I listed are just some of the main ones I use during the school year. I encourage you to log on and just look at all the options that are under the Student tab. I wish I had a bunch of time to cover every single one, but unfortunately I don’t. Consider this your chance to go exploring all the options (and to be honest, I don’t know what some of them do. Shhh, don’t tell anyone that). Any time you select one of the options in the menu on the left-hand side of the page a smaller submenu will appear at the top left. See the screenshot below for any example. If you ever have any questions about A+ feel free to ask your peer mentors, any one in the Hixson office, your Community Adviser, or even any upperclassmen you know. There is also the Student Answer Center in Beardshear you can utilze and ask any questions you may have.

Blackboard (BB) (I like shorthand, it makes this typing thing easier) is another webpage that most of you will use almost all of the time. BB is where most professors and teachers will post information about their classes. You will log on with your Net-ID (the first part of your ISU email address) and a password that you setup during Orientation. Once logged on, you will see a lot of different things, but the main one you will use is My Courses. In that section you will see all of the classes you are in where the professor has setup BB for the class. As you can see in my screenshot I currently only have one class since it is the middle of summer. Fall classes will show up sometime in August. On the main page you can also see other sections such as My Tasks and My Calendar. Depending on how your BB courses are setup, assignments and deadlines will show up in those sections. However, I have nothing due so they are all empty. You can personalize this main page as much as you would like. I set mine back to default for the screenshot so your BB account should look the same when you log in for the first time. Digging in a little deeper, you can go into each class specifically to get more options. The bottom part of the screenshot shows what a class page looks like (I have blacked out the Announcements since they aren’t important for this blog post). The class page will usually open to the Announcments section if it is setup. This is a good place to look at any thing the professor wants you to know about the class. Things that end up here are also sent in an email to you as well. As you can see, there are a lot of menu options on the right-hand side. The main one you will likely use is Grades. Most professors will update this fairly regularly so you know what scores you are getting in the class. There may also be different menu options such as Assignments. This would be where you can see all past, current, and upcomming assignments for the class. Professors may also post extra materials and class syllabus, usually under the Course Content section. Depending on how the class is setup by the professor, you may also use other sections or have a section that isn’t in the screenshot. I know in the past I have also used the Discussions tab (this is a forum for the class) for help in the class or for certain assignments. Unfortunately I don’t have time to cover all the little nuances of BB, but if you have questions you can ask them to your peer mentors, the Hixson staff, or your class professor (you should probably go with your class professor first).

The last thing I want to mention is that if you ever forget your password for either A+, BB, or even your email account, you can contact the Soution Center (515-294-4000,, 195 Durham Center) to get it reset. They can also help you out with other technical issues you have with either website.

Well, I apologize for the long blog post, but I had a lot of stuff to cover. While A+ and BB may seem confusing at first, you will come to love and hate them with time. Oh, and you will learn how to use them as well. They are full of options and resources and you will use them pretty much all the time while you are here at ISU. With that, I will call it a blog post. I can’t wait to meet all of you in the fall! The school year is almost here, get excited!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Meet Jessica Overturf

Hey Everyone!  My name is Jessica Overturf and I’m a 2011 Hixson Scholar from Warren County.  In this post I’m going to share with you guys about living in the residence halls and working for ISU Dining.  

So, by now I think you all should know where you’re living in the fall and hopefully during your orientations you were able to tour the hall you’re moving into next month so that’s exciting!  When I thought about living in the dorms all I heard was that they were small and cramped and you’ll have no room, but it’s really not that bad.  You guys will be fine as long as you don’t cram too much stuff into that little room!  There are plenty of opportunities to meet new people through living in the dorms.  If you’re the type of person that likes to be president of something or really get involved, they will have those opportunities on your floor and your CA will talk more about it after you move in.  There will be various get-togethers that your whole hall will do too, like my freshmen year there was an area for people to make tie-dye t-shirts and other activities but it was a lot of fun and a good activity for you and your new friends to do together!  Living in the residence hall was one of the best experiences I had at Iowa State my freshmen year.  My random roommate is now my best friend and I’ve met the most amazing people from living there.  You’ll make many great new memories with everyone you meet and have a great experience here!  Now some of you will have a job on campus your freshmen year, if that is so make sure that you’re filling out applications now online if you haven’t already done anything so if they still have spots open they’ll be able to fit you right in.  I’ll put a link for those of you who want to look into working for ISU Dining.  It’s a good experience working for ISU Dining. They’re very accommodating with your class schedule and if you need time off to study for an exam for the most part if you warn them ahead of time you’ll be fine!  There are plenty of different locations you are able to work for on campus, you’ll see the different locations on the link.  If you have any questions, I think most of them can be answered on the page, choosing a location to work at, your starting wage will be $8.65, and you get to pick how many hours you want to work.  Just a tip, watch the amount of hours you work compared the amount of hours you are in class.  You don’t want to take on a heavy class load and a lot of hours at work, you’ll tire yourself out quick.  I would advise you to start small and if you want more hours I’m sure you can talk to your supervisor or just pick-up shifts when other people aren’t able to work them. Here is the link for the ISU Dining Employment page,

I look forward to meeting all of you in the fall, I hope you have a great rest of the summer!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Meet Coreen Robinson!

Hello 2013 Hixson Scholars! My name is Coreen Robinson and I am a 2011 Hixson from Plymouth County double majoring in journalism/mass communication and history. I cannot wait to get to know all of you as I serve as one of your peer mentors in the fall!

For this post, I will identify some campus resources that you may find useful in the fall as you begin your adventure as a Cyclone!

One of the very first resources you encounter on campus will be your community adviser, or CA. This upperclassman will live on your floor and will be able to help you answer any question you might have about residence hall life and beyond. Your CA will be a resource in your very own building that you can approach at any time.

When it comes to classes, one of the most important resources is your academic adviser. I highly suggest going to meet your academic adviser early in the semester and getting to know them. This person will help guide you in choosing your coursework and fulfilling the requirements for your chosen major. Advisers can also help you network for more involvement in clubs, organizations, and internships and jobs!

The one-stop spot on campus for all of your academic questions is the Academic Success Center, located right next door to the Hixson office in the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center. Whether you have questions about classes, need a tutor, or want to seek academic counseling, the Academic Success Center is the place to go!

For questions regarding financial aid, loans, AccessPlus, and more, the Student Answer Center located in Beardshear Hall is the place to go! I found the entire AccessPlus system confusing as a first-year student, but a stop at this center will put you on the path to understanding!

Last but not least, the Thielen Student Health Center on campus is the place to go in the event you become ill or even if you need a prescription refilled. The health center is a great on campus resource that can help you avoid commuting off campus in the event of an emergency.

Perhaps most important of all, we as peer mentors and staff are resources for you! Please feel welcomed to ask us any question any time, because there really is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to transitioning into college life! We’re here to help you make that transition a huge success! My email is, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions before classes start!

Since there are truly innumerable amounts of resources at your fingertips on campus, the following PDF can give you information on more campus resources that I don’t have the space to explain here!

I am sincerely excited to meet you all in just a few weeks! Enjoy the rest of your summer and GO STATE!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Meet Katie Osterman!

The Traditions and History of Iowa State University of Science and Technology

Hi 2013 Hixson Scholars!  My name is Katie Osterman and I will be one of your peer mentors for the upcoming fall semester.  I am a 2011 Hixson from Wright County, majoring in history education, with endorsements in coaching and all-social sciences.  I look forward to getting to know everyone better as you “Choose your Adventure at Iowa State!” I'm the one not in the prom dress in the photo! 

In this post, I highlight some of the history and traditions of Iowa State.  Iowa State has a rich history of nearly 155 years and several traditions that all Iowa Staters take part of!

Iowa State University of Science and Technology was created on March 22, 1858, by the legislature of the State of Iowa as the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm.  The Farm House was erected as the first building on campus (and still stands today).  In 1862, the Iowa legislature voted to accept the provisions of the Morrill Act, officially establishing Iowa State as a land grant institution, renaming the college Iowa Agricultural College and in 1898 becoming Iowa State College of Agricultural and Mechanic Arts.

The first class entered in 1869 and the first graduating class of 24 men and 2 women graduated in 1872.  The nation’s first state veterinary medicine school was created at Iowa State in 1879.  In 1959, Iowa State was officially renamed Iowa State University of Science and Technology.  The current enrollment has reached over 31,000 students.

Iowa State is known for its advancements in the fields of agriculture, design, engineering, and research science.  Iowa State is one of the top research-institutes in the nation. 

                  Did you know that Iowa State played a significant role in the Manhattan Project (the top-secret government program that developed the atomic bombs that were used during World War II)?  Iowa State, through the Ames Laboratory, perfected a cheap and effective way to purify uranium that was used to make the bombs.  During its time with the Manhattan Project, Iowa State purified over 2 million pounds of uranium using the Ames Process.  The Ames Process is still widely used today in industry because the process is so effective and cheap compared to other processes.

                  Did you know that Iowa State invented the first digital computer?  Dr. John Vincent Atanasoff and his graduate assistant Clifford Berry created the first automatic electronic digital computer between 1939 and 1942 and was known as the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC).  However, credit for this discovery did not go to Dr. Atanasoff until a federal court ruling in 1973, declaring that Dr. John Vincent Atanasoff was the first inventor of the automatic electronic digital computer.  A working replica of the ABC is housed in Physics Hall.

                  Did you know that the “Cyclones” were created in 1895?  Iowa State became the Cyclones after they leveled Northwestern in 1895.  On September 29, 1895, the Chicago Tribune noted: Struck by a Cyclone It Comes From Iowa And Devastates Evanston Town.  “Northwestern might as well have tried to play football with an Iowa cyclone as with the Iowa team it met yesterday.  At the end of 50 minutes’ play, the big husky farmers from Iowa’s Agricultural College had rolled up 36 points, while the 15-yard line was the nearest Northwestern got to Iowa’s goal.”

                  Did you know that Jack Trice Stadium is named after ISU football player Jack Trice?  Jack Trice was the first black athlete at Iowa State and died after injuries suffered during his first college game in October 1923.  The stadium was officially named Jack Trice Stadium in his honor in 1997.

                  Did you know that all members of the freshman class had to wear red beanie caps?  From 1916 until 1934 red “prep caps” or “freshmen beanies” were required attire for freshmen class members.  In the spring, the caps were burned in a bonfire during a “moving up” ceremony, when the freshmen officially became members of the sophomore class.

Iowa State has many traditions that have developed over the years.

The Zodiac
Students and faculty alike walk around the zodiac in the north entrance of the Memorial Union.  If you step on the zodiac, you will fail your next exam, but this can be reversed by throwing a coin into the Fountain of the Four Seasons.

Homecoming is a big tradition, with celebrations lasting throughout the week.  The first homecoming was in 1912 and this past year (2012), Iowa State celebrated its “Cy-Tennial” with 100 Homecomings!  Homecoming traditions include Food on Campus, Campaniling, Yell Like Hell, Lawn Displays, Fireworks, and of course, the big football game. Go State!

VEISHEA began in 1922 and has become the one of the nation’s largest student-run college festivals.  VEISHEA stands for: Veterinary Medicine Engineering Industrial Science Home Economics Agriculture.  VEISHEA includes traditions like Stars Over VEISHEA, Campaniling, Cherry Pies, Canoe Races, Intramurals, and  a host of other activities throughout the week.

Hilton Magic
“Hilton Magic,” the power of the Coliseum faithful to produce unexpected victories, was first recognized by Des Moines Register sportswriter Buck Turnbull.  On a February 14, 1989 showdown with No. 3 Missouri, the Cyclones conjured up the spirit of the Hilton crowd to produce a stunning 82-75 victory.  The following day’s headline read “Hilton Magic Spells ‘Upset’ One More Time.”

In the article, Turnbull called for more “Hilton Magic” in the Cyclone’s upcoming bout with Oklahoma State, which had pummeled ISU 102-74 just three weeks earlier.  On cue, “Hilton Magic” displayed its powers, as the Cyclones defeated the Cowboys, 90-81, marking a 37-point reversal from the season’s prior meeting.

A student officially becomes an official Iowa Stater when he or she is kissed under the campanile at the stroke of midnight. 

Lake LaVerne

It is said that if you walk around Lake La Verne three times in silence with your significant other, you are destined to be together.