Well, we finally have our first trip planned. It’s been so interesting — and so much fun — to hear from alumni in the states we’re visiting first: Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. You Texas folks are plentiful! We heard from more than two dozen of you. It was so hard to choose! Actually, it was difficult to choose alumni in all four of the states because everyone has such a great story to tell.
One of the questions I’ve been asked the most as I’ve visited with folks about this project (besides “Are you really going to Hawaii?”) is “How are you choosing the alumni to feature in the magazine?” There isn’t an easy answer to this. The alumni we choose will not fit any particular role; it’s not an award that has specific criteria. We are not necessarily looking for the most successful, wealthiest, or most powerful people. We’re looking for alumni first and foremost with great stories to tell. We’re looking for people who are unique and who personify the state in which they live. And we’re looking for all kinds of diversity…all different Iowa State majors, a variety of grad years, different careers, a balance of men and women, ethnic diversity, and widely varied stories to tell. We’re looking for a cross-section of alumni who will truly represent Iowa State.
The hardest part is that we can choose only ONE from each state! So we’re hoping to tell additional stories of alumni we meet right here on this blog.
But back to the first road trip: We’ve chosen to feature an aerospace engineering grad who works for NASA at Houston’s Johnson Space Center… an art and design alum who lives in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans (the hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina and the resulting flood)… the marketing director for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City… and a retired counselor in Bella Vista, Ark.
We also have a full day planned in Austin, Texas, but you’ll just have to follow our blog to learn more about that! We’re also hoping to meet with some additional alumni at Johnson Space Center. Those arrangements are still in the works. (I still have another full week in the office next week to get all the details ironed out.)
I hope to post updates each day on the road as long as I have the time…and free wi-fi! So stay tuned!