Iowa State University Alumni Association

Cyclone Stories

Cyclones are everywhere...

...and the Alumni Association is keeping you connected by bringing you their stories in print and online media. Here's the latest on your fellow Iowa State alumni and friends.


The football off-season can drag for NFL beat reporters, so they do things like compile listicles. The Sun-Sentinel earlier this month decided to take one of the greatest NFL franchises in history -- the Miami Dolphins -- and identify its 10 all-time best offensive linemen, which even if just a listicle is a pretty distinguished group in which to be included. Coming in at No. 7: three-time Pro Bowler Keith Sims ('90 indus ed & tech), who played for Miami and Washington during his 11-year pro career and was inducted into the Iowa State Athletics Hall of Fame back in 2006. Sims was an all-Big Eight performer for the Cyclones from 1985-1989; the father of five also, in case you missed it, moonlights as an extreme couponer.


Mr. South Sudan Akol Dok (’16 pol sci) is the reigning Mr. Africa International – a global ambassador for his homeland who spent his undergraduate career at Iowa State sharing his story and advocating for South Sudan. He moved from Renk, South Sudan to Des Moines at age 5 but has never forgotten his war-torn roots. It is with his Iowa State education that he seeks to make a difference in his homeland – not unlike the late South Sudan vice president John Garang (PhD ’81 econ), a controversial but powerful Sudan People’s Liberation Army rebel who studied at ISU before him.

“[Garang] set the standard for us as Africans,” Dok told the Iowa State Daily last fall. “He as our leader for movement, for independence.”

This summer, Dok is partnering with the Daily as an alumnus to tell his and his country’s story through a series of editorials. Read “The war in South Sudan,” “Analysis of South Sudan National Dialogue,” and “The most marginalized tribe in South Sudan” online.


When Jaya Halepete Iyer’s 3-year-old daughter, Svaha, said she wanted to grow up and become an astronaut, her mom wanted to support her dreams. Iyer (A)(PhD ’06 textiles & clothing) took her to the National Air and Space Museum and read her stories about female astronauts. But when Svaha requested a T-shirt with an astronaut on it, Iyer could not find a single space-themed T-shirt designed for girls.

Iyer’s desire to find clothing that defied gender stereotypes, coupled with her work experience in apparel merchandise and buying, she started a brand-new company, Svaha, Inc., in 2015.

“I noticed a huge gap in the market and really wanted to address the gap,” she said. “The idea behind our clothing is to move away from gender stereotypes and encourage science, technology, engineering, and math among girls. Our focus is not necessarily on girls, but to create designs that are not easily available in the clothing market. We have unisex T-shirts in different colors that a girl or a boy could wear. We have pink car T-shirts, blue butterfly T-shirts, and a red cat T-shirt for anyone who loves cats.”

Svaha, Inc. sells clothing for women and children online at Iyer says the company’s best seller is a glow-in-the-dark constellation dress. Other popular items are a caffeine molecule scarf, a DNA dress, a glow-in-the-dark jellyfish dress, and a science lab dress. The company even sells a “budding scientist” outfit for babies, and a new line of science jewelry. 


Read previous Cyclone Stories features >>


Notable Alumni:
First female governor

Former Iowa lieutenant governor Kim Reynolds ('16 liberal studies), who recently completed her degree from Iowa State University after initially dropping out of college in her youth, became the state's first woman chief executive May 24. Reynolds was sworn in as governor following the confirmation of longtime governor Terry Branstad as the Trump administration's U.S. Ambassador to China.

Notable Alumni

A sustainable future

Since 2004, Iowa State’s Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods has made an impact on nearly 60,000 people in Uganda’s Kamuli District – one of the poorest regions of that East African country – by improving access to clean water, nutrition and health for mothers and infants, school gardens, livestock and entrepreneurial activities, and crop and livestock extension programs.

Read the story online


More to explore:

Living a Life Podcast Series
Class Notes

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