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 New Yorker recently ran a fantastic feature on an Iowa State architect and artist Mohamad Hafez ('09 architecture), whose tiny models depicting the ruins of his homeland are now on exhibit at the Lanoue Gallery in Boston. Hafez, who has returned to Syria just once since he first arrived in the U.S. to attend Iowa State, is now an architect with the ISU alumni-owned firm Pickard Chilton. By day, he designs skyscrapers. By night, his creations are the exact opposite of massive structures -- but their impact as a reminder of the horrors of life in Syria today loom large. Hafez tells The New Yorker he actually started making his tiny building models while he was a student at ISU.

"I realized if I couldn't go home, at least I could re-create it in miniature," he said. "And the process of making and detailing these models was very therapeutic."

Read the feature on Hafez and his unique art online.


For more than a decade Iowa State’s crack basketball statistics crew – including Rich Pope (’74 ag & life sci ed, MS ’89 agron), Chris (Chip) Andringa, and longest-serving member Steve Shuey – has been the Big 12’s “A” team for women’s basketball, each March working nine or more games in four days of the Big 12 tournament after getting tuned up during long seasons statting all home ISU men’s and women’s games. 

So when the Big 12 received the bid to host this year’s women’s Final Four in Dallas, they knew who to call to serve as official statisticians. Pope, Andringa, and Shuey reunited with former stat crew member Pete Roberts (’02 indus tech) and headed to the Big D to keep the official statistics for the biggest games of the year – where, as it turned out, they ended up witnessing some really great basketball and an epic upset.

“It was so unexpected. UConn had beaten (Mississippi State) by 60 in the tournament last year,” Andringa says. “It was an exciting game, but we are watching it through a different lens. By the time we check the stats, get the records updated and everything, it’s like 10 or 15 minutes after the game. That’s when you finally have a chance to process it and you say, ‘Holy cow.’”

“I really thought our crew showed its experience by not getting caught up in the emotion of that upset,” Shuey says. “I attribute that a lot to working games at Hilton and the Big 12 tournament.”

Keeping calm and professional is just the name of the game for these seasoned professionals – who still managed to have some fun during the trip, including getting “Babb-tized” at Babb Bros. BBQ, the restaurant owned by the famous ISU hoops family.

For a job that, let’s be honest, no one really notices unless you screw up, the ISU crew flew under the radar at this year’s Final Four as a well-oiled machine. When Pope tripped on a cable run in the dark, veteran ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe was there to catch him. And none of their worst fears came true – the computer locking up (“Chip always says there’s no such thing as a statistician’s timeout,” Pope says. “If that happens you just gotta find ways of catching up again.”); a team wearing unreadable jersey numbers (“There was no Grambling men’s team from 1997 situation,” Pope says with a laugh, “light yellow on yellow; that was fun.”); or a preponderance of overtimes (“I’m really glad [Morgan William] made that shot,” Andringa admits, “because I didn’t think I wanted to do a second overtime at that point.”)

In the end, the trip to Dallas was another bonding experience for a crew that Pope describes as “disparate personalities but really good friends.”

“I’m thankful for the guys that I work with; they’re the reason we’re so successful,” Shuey says. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”


The PBS series City in the Sky asked Americans to ponder an important phenomenon: How do you put one million people 30,000 feet in the air at any given moment and land them safely every day? Kim Pastega (A)(’91 aero engr), vice president of Boeing 787 Production, helped answer the question: A new generation of safer jets, manufactured using a material that’s brought the greatest change in airplane design since the 1920s: carbon composite. “There’s a massive difference in terms of how the airplane performs with fuel.”

Find out exactly how much carbon composite has revolutionized air travel by watching Pastega’s segment on “City in the Sky” online, thanks to a post from the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

Read previous Cyclone Stories features >>



Notable Alumni:
First female governor

The countdown clock is winding down for Iowa's longest-tenured governor, Terry Branstad, as he prepares to become U.S. Ambassador to China this spring. His replacement will be his lieutenant governor, Kim Reynolds ('16 liberal studies), who recently completed her degree from Iowa State University and will become the state's first woman chief executive.

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

© 2017 Iowa State University Alumni Association. All rights reserved.