A couple of Cyclones in the smallest U.S. state

23 Jan


Listening to Sam and Kylie (Stemple) Pfile describe their lives in Rhode Island is something akin to hearing the story of the blind men and the elephant.

“I like the day trips,” Kylie says happily. “In two-and-a-half hours you can go to six states.”

“You’ve got to get used to being out here,” Sam counters. “The driving is awful.”

“You’re so close to so many things,” Kylie says. “I like the outdoor activities… the cities, the food, the history.”

“The people here are really different,” Sam says. “Most of our friends are from the Midwest.”

Sam clearly misses the Midwest.

But they both agree that they moved to the East Coast to see what it was like. Kylie (’03 art & design) grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa; Sam (’01 ag business) was born in Mason City, Iowa, but grew up in Illinois. They met at Iowa State when Sam transferred from a junior college.

“I did a college visit, and after five minutes on campus I said, ‘I’m coming here,’” Sam says.

“We lived on the same floor in Larch Hall,” Kylie says.

They married in 2004 and moved to Colorado, Minnesota, and Massachusetts for Sam’s job as a food safety inspector for the USDA. (“I’m known as The Iowa State Guy at all the plants,” Sam says.) They moved to Rhode Island in 2008. Sam still works for the USDA; Kylie does sales and product design for AVID Products. They have a dog named Gus, whom Sam refers to as “the most spoiled beagle ever in recorded history.”

Sam, you will not be surprised to learn, is eager to move back to the Midwest someday. Kylie is in no particular hurry.

“There’s a misconception by people I meet here that we left Iowa because it was dull and that there was nothing to do and we just wanted to get out,” Kylie says. “But it’s not true. We were just curious about what’s out here.”

Jim and I spent the day with Sam and Kylie (and Gus, who doesn’t seem so much spoiled as just really happy) at their Riverside, R.I., home (not far from Providence) last October. The couple has the distinction of having completed all 50 states on the Wall of Alumni and Friends at the ISU Alumni Center when they purchased a wall plaque after meeting ISUAA president Jeff Johnson at the ISU vs. UConn game in the fall 2011. Rhode Island is the smallest U.S. state, the state with the fewest ISU alumni, and, until they purchased the plaque, the only state not represented on the wall.

Thanks, guys!

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