Veishea lineup contains fun for everyone

4H float work

ISU Collegiate 4-H Club members Emily Bigaman (left), Erin Troendle (center) and Spencer Larson spent time Tuesday making decorations for their Veishea float. There are eight traditional float entries in the parade. Photo by Bob Elbert.

It's that time in Ames when campus and community celebrate Iowa State traditions. Students, alumni and families come together for Veishea, the annual festival that has served as a showcase and display of the university since 1922.

Discover some of Veishea's hidden gems, suggested by ISU's Facebook friends.

Here's a sample of the entertainment and education in store:

Veishea favorites

Canoe races on Lake LaVerne, recreation tournaments and the Cyclone Idol talent search are back, as are perennial favorites Stevie Starr (the regurgitator) and hypnotist Brian Imbus. Their free Friday night performances in the Memorial Union will be followed Saturday night by juggler and stunt show guy Matt Baker, contortionist Jonathan Burns and magician Nate Staniforth. The DJs of "Club Veishea" will rock the south side of the Student Services Building from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The Harvard Sailing Team will perform a free show Saturday (9 p.m., Stephens Auditorium). This New York City-based improv/sketch comedy group (whose members neither attended Harvard, nor sail) has been featured on Comedy Central and VH1's "Best Week Ever." They have appeared at the Kennedy Center, the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival and the National College Comedy Festival, and for six years performed weekly shows at the People's Improv Theater (the PIT) in New York.

This year's Stars Over Veishea musical is Fiddler on the Roof. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday in Fisher Theater. Tickets are $21 ($16 for Iowa State students and those under 18) and available at the Stephens ticket office and all Ticketmaster outlets.

VIPs, provost on parade

Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, along with grand marshal and senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert, will lead the parade. Wickert will be accompanied by his wife, Karen, and daughter Rebecca.

Parade co-chair Rebecca Ahlers, a senior from LeMars, is expecting more than 90 entries, including eight traditional floats, five balloons, seven bands, 10 performance entries and at least 15 dignitaries. The parade will wind its way through campus starting at 10:30 a.m. (beginning near the Armory and ending at the east parking deck).

The parade can be viewed statewide on the Mediacom Connections channel (22 in central Iowa) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, and Monday, April 22. It may air at other times as Mediacom's schedule permits. Anchoring the telecast will be Terry Mason, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of Iowa State's Student Counseling Service; and Steve Mickelson, professor and chair of agricultural and biosystems engineering.

Veishea Village features STEM

A record number of organizations, student groups and Ames neighborhoods will present displays on central campus and in select academic buildings from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Veishea Saturday. The special focus this year is STEM: science, technology, engineering and math. There will be demonstrations featuring rockets, rowing, robots, reptiles and more. Visitors can learn about neuroscience, agronomy, exercise and wellness, sustainability, glassblowing, video game development, animals and all kinds of engineering. And don't miss the mighty Madagascar hissing cockroach in the Insect Zoo.

The Food Science Club will sell five flavors of homemade fudge, the Culinary Science Club will sell gourmet popcorn and lemonade, and the Dairy Products Evaluation Club will offer fresh cheese curds -- all on the second floor of MacKay Hall. In Catt Hall, the Meteorology Club will offer face painting, weather jeopardy, a tornado machine and a weather wall for those interested in trying their hand at TV weather. The Geology Club will hold its annual rock and jewelry sale in 151 Science, and the Hort Club will hold its spring plant sale in the Horticulture Hall greenhouses (plant sale begins Friday, 2-6 p.m.). The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers will have tractors on display with a water fountain arcade game. College of Design students will have T-shirts and student artwork for sale, and will hold a drawing for an iPod. Veterinary students will hold their annual petting zoo, exotic pet expo, hospital tours and open house Saturday (11 a.m.-3 p.m., College of Veterinary Medicine).

So many treats, so little time

Midnight pancake feeds will be held on Friday and Saturday, and a pancake breakfast will be served Saturday prior to the parade (8:30-11 a.m.), all on central campus. Taste of Veishea vendors will be located near Molecular Biology and on Union Drive Friday through 3 a.m. Sunday.

Student food stands will be on central campus Friday (noon-5 p.m.) and Saturday (8 a.m.-5 p.m.).

The ISU Alumni Association will hold an open house Saturday (1-5 p.m., Alumni Center). There will be free root beer floats from Olde Main Brewing Company (while supplies last), self-guided building tours and nostalgic displays. Spin the Wheel of Fun to test your Veishea trivia knowledge and shop for ISU Alumni Collection merchandise.

The International Food Fair on Saturday (11 a.m. -3 p.m., MU Great Hall) will feature more than 40 foods and beverages from 15 different countries. Admission is $3 plus the cost of food samples. While you're there, head to Art Mart in the nearby Campanile Room (9 a.m.-4 p.m.), bag a bargain and support local artists.

And don't forget to pick up your cherry pie -- an Iowa State tradition since 1919. Hospitality management students will make and sell 14,500 of the delectable little tarts on Friday and Saturday (7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily or until they're sold out, 16 MacKay). Pies are $1 each; proceeds help fund scholarships.

The Smoke Over Veishea barbecue competition is back for a second year. More than 30 grilling and barbecue teams from around the Midwest are registered for the competition on Saturday (10 a.m.-4 p.m., west of the Molecular Biology Building). From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 10 of those teams will take part in the people's choice competition. They'll provide free samples and ask Veishea goers to vote for their favorites.

LIVE @ Veishea concerts in the Molecular Biology parking lots

Tickets for the Friday and Saturday night outdoor concerts are available to ISU students, faculty, staff and alumni. Concerts will be held rain or shine; tickets are nonrefundable. Bags, backpacks, food, drinks and weapons of any kind are prohibited at the concerts. Tickets will be exchanged for wristbands at the concert venue.

Through 4 p.m. Friday, anyone with a valid Iowa State ID can purchase up to five tickets ($15 for single night or $20 for both nights). Faculty, staff and students should buy tickets online.

'VISIONS' Across America

Nice view of Alaska's Turnagain Arm

Carole Gieseke, Jim Heemstra and alumnus Laura Tauke (center) along Alaska's Turnagain Arm, billed as one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in America. Photo by Jim Heemstra.

In the past year and a half, VISIONS magazine editor Carole Gieseke and Des Moines photographer Jim Heemstra have been on a mission: To meet, interview and photograph Iowa State alumni in every state and the District of Columbia. To that end, they've logged 17,341 miles in 10 rental cars and boarded 26 planes, two boats and one hot air balloon.

They've also gotten to know more than 80 alumni, from an embryologist in Texas to a CIA officer turned antiquarian book dealer in Vermont. And there are 19 states to go. They'll hit those states in a series of road trips in the coming months, concluding their travels by fall.

The basics

  • Name: Carole Gieseke
  • Position: Chief communications officer and VISIONS editor, Alumni Association
  • Years at ISU: 16

Follow Gieseke and Heemstra's road adventures in the VISIONS Across America blog. Special features about alumni they've met along the way will appear in an expanded edition of VISIONS sent to all alumni association members in spring 2014. The special issue also will be available for purchase.

How did you hatch the idea for a 50-state alumni visit?

During a drive back from an assignment, Jim and I were brainstorming about stories we would love to do. It was pie-in-the-sky stuff and this was one of the ideas. We sort of laughed. All 50 states, ha ha. We wouldn't have time. We could never afford it. But then we started fixating on it. I talked to [alumni association president] Jeff Johnson and he said, "Put together a business plan." And so I did, and we fund-raised to cover additional expenses and it happened.

Carole's list

Best food: New Mexico, Austin, Boston.

Best views: Almost anywhere in Alaska and the Maine coastline

Friendliest folk: We've encountered friendly people everywhere we've gone, but in the Deep South, they're just falling all over themselves being nice.

Standout alum: Bob Gannon, Las Vegas, who circumnavigated the world two and a half times in a single engine plane -- by himself

Most difficult driving: Boston

Most laid-back airport: Big Island, Hawaii

How did you find alumni to interview in all the states?

About half the ideas came from the alumni themselves, responding to emails we sent to known addresses prior to our visits. We'd say "Tell us about yourself. What do you? What's your story? We'd love to follow up with you." We also got ideas from folks on campus. Some names came from news clippings that I already had in my idea files before we even started this project.

What's been your most surprising road trip so far?

I didn’t expect to fall in love with the Deep South -- Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina. It was awesome. We have the coolest alumni down there. And we were there in the spring. It was beautiful. I also didn’t expect to really love the Southwest, because I'm not a big fan of the desert. We went down in November, and again, it was this great group of alumni. Everywhere we go, we have great alumni, but the Southwest trip was really fun. We went to Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and California.

Did you have any mishaps along the way?

We haven't had any huge mishaps. No car accidents. We haven't had one single plane be late, let alone have a flight canceled. We get lost. That’s the thing. It's sort of embarrassing because I'm the navigator and we have all these redundant systems. I've got an actual map, printed MapQuest directions and GPS. We still manage to get lost almost every day. We miss a turn or decide to go a different direction. And Jim likes to take shortcuts, so that's part of it.

Carole Gieseke and Jim Heemstra with Chicago artist Theaster Gat

The VISIONS team with Chicago artist and urban planner Theaster Gates. Photo by Jim Heemstra.

You've met alumni in all locales and walks of life. Is there a common thread among these people, beyond the cardinal and gold in the closet?

Man, there is. A few themes are recurring. First, their lives were changed at Iowa State. Over and over, we're told this story. Someone took a class or met a professor or something else happened, and a light bulb went off and it changed that person's life. Also, they all seemed to have really taken advantage of everything that Iowa State had to offer. That doesn't necessarily mean they were involved in a lot of clubs and organizations. Sometimes they were but, sometimes, it was just really focusing on their studies or getting those leadership skills.

Second, the people who we have met are very passionate about what they do. That's usually a career, but it could also be something else, like triathlons, for example. They're just very passionate and focused in their lives.

Some of these people are not real rah-rah. They're not necessarily sports fans or even members of the Alumni Association. But they had a good experience here. We haven't encountered any alumni who weren't 100 percent positive about their experience.

Congratulations, emerging leaders class

Twenty-five faculty and staff have been chosen to participate in the next cohort of Iowa State's Emerging Leaders Academy (ELA).

ELA is an academic-year initiative to develop faculty and professional and scientific staff currently serving in leadership roles at Iowa State, or who aspire to hold leadership positions. Beginning this August, participants will attend monthly sessions on leadership theory and practice, current issues in higher education and university-related challenges and opportunities. Each participant also benefits from a mentoring relationship during the year with a current Iowa State leader. The program is sponsored by the office of the senior vice president and provost.

The 2013-14 ELA class members are:

  • Jason Alread, architecture department
  • Lequetia Ancar, College of Engineering student services
  • Nicola Bowler, materials science and engineering department
  • Ann Bugler, College of Human Sciences administration
  • Greg Davis, library
  • Daniela Dimitrova, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
  • Chad Gasta, world languages and cultures department
  • Caroline Hayes, mechanical engineering department
  • Stacy Joiner, U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory
  • Steven Kovarik, electrical and computer engineering department
  • Brandi Latterell, facilities planning and management
  • Catherine Logue, veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine department
  • Elizabeth Lonergan, animal science department
  • Jennifer Margrett, human development and family studies department
  • Sree Nilakanta, supply chain and information systems department
  • Mark Petri, Iowa Energy Center
  • Jennifer Plagman-Galvin, College of Human Sciences administration
  • Dan Ryan, College of Business administration
  • Eulanda Sanders, apparel, events and hospitality management department
  • Dorrance Smith, College of Human Sciences administration
  • Jacob Vogel, veterinary clinical sciences department
  • Tong Wang, food science and human nutrition department
  • Susan Wohlsdorf-Arendt, apparel, events and hospitality management department
  • Joseph Zambreno, electrical and computer engineering department
  • Andrew Zehr, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences administration

John Schuh, Distinguished Professor emeritus in educational leadership and policy studies, will lead the program. Schuh worked with an earlier leadership development program called Shared Leadership for Institutional Change.

"ELA graduates can be found throughout Iowa State's academic programs and administration," Schuh said. "Nurturing the next generation of university leaders will help sustain ISU as a premier land-grant institution and propel the university to even greater achievements in the future."

The provost's office established the ELA program in 2009 to help prepare a broader and more diverse group of faculty and staff for leadership roles across campus. The 2013-14 ELA class is the program's fourth.

Animal genomics center falls to leaner budgets

After 11 years of successfully building Iowa State's research capacity and scientific prestige in the field of genomics, the Center for Integrated Animal Genomics is ending its activities.

The center was one of the Presidential Initiatives established in 2002 under former president Gregory Geoffroy. Nearly 100 scientists from five colleges affiliated with the center worked on collaborative research projects to identify, map and understand genes of importance to both animal agriculture and human health. The center provided a successful seed grant program and numerous lectures by prominent national scientists.

The center's financial support primarily came from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. It also received support from the offices of the president, provost and vice president for research and economic development, Office of Biotechnology and the colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.

In 2011, CALS dean Wendy Wintersteen informed center director and Distinguished Professor in animal science Max Rothschild that the college and Experiment Station no longer could support the center, following $12 million in state budget reductions over two fiscal years and the cumulative impact of multiple years of cuts that reduced Experiment Station funds by 25 percent.

Rothschild and the center's supervisory committee received permission to operate the center past 2011, using the last of its funds from the Experiment Station and the three colleges. In March, the center held its last annual symposium and, with no remaining funds, the decision was made to close the center. There are no staff positions lost because of this decision.

"The research made possible by the center's support and collaboration has been internationally recognized," Wintersteen said. "Affiliated faculty leveraged the center's support 17-to-1 in successfully competing for external grants. The center led campus-wide discussions that influenced the university's direction on the future of the biological sciences."

The successes of the center's faculty affiliates prove the value of collaboration, collegiality and communication, Rothschild said. "I'm especially proud that the center provided seed funding to both new and senior faculty as a springboard for exciting new research. It really helped ISU move forward in animal, microbial and comparative genomics," he said.

Hidden gems

Iowa State's Facebook friends shared their favorite Veishea activities that might be a bit off the beaten path. Here's what they recommend:

  • Campanile tours, April 20 (3:30-4:30 p.m., tours limited to ages 13 and older and groups of nine)
  • Geology Club sale (rocks, minerals, gems, jewelry and fossils), April 20 (9 a.m.-5 p.m., 157 Science I and lobby)
  • ISU Groove drumline performances, "Channel Surfing," April 20 (2, 3:15 and 4:30 p.m., Tye Recital Hall, Music)
  • Horticulture Club plant sale, April 19 (2-6 p.m.) and April 20 (9 a.m.-5 p.m., Horticulture Hall greenhouses)
  • Midnight pancake feed, April 19 and 20 (11:59 p.m.-3 a.m., central campus), $3
  • Society of Chemistry Undergraduate Majors show, April 19 (7 p.m.) and April 20 (9 a.m. and 2 p.m., 1002 Gilman Hall)
  • Society for Creative Anachronism medieval demonstrations, April 20 (9 a.m.-5 p.m., MacKay south lawn)

The complete list of Veishea events is online, including a list of this year's Veishea Village participants. Or, you can view a summary of activities, by college:

Cardinal and gold preview

Paul Rhoads, 2012 spring football game

Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads will give fans a glimpse of next season at the 2013 Cyclone Gridiron Club spring game on Saturday, April 20, at Jack Trice Stadium (2 p.m.). The annual intrasquad scrimmage wraps up a string of 14 practices over the last three-and-a-half weeks.

Admission to the game and parking is free. Fans are asked to park in lots A, B, C or D; and enter through gate 1 on the north side of the stadium. Seating will be limited to the east side.

Free copies of the 2013 Cyclone football poster and schedule card will be available on the stadium's northeast concourse; and the athletics ticket office will be open (1-3 p.m.) for season-ticket purchases and questions. Cyclone merchandise will be on sale on the plaza north of the Jacobson Athletics Building, including clearance items from Cy's Locker Room. File photo, courtesy of athletics communications.