Iowa State University Alumni Association
 

2016 Iowa STATEment Makers

The 2016 honorees:

Onalie Kavindi De Silva Ariyabandhu
Robert “Lopaka” Baptiste III
Adam Hoebelheinrich
Colin Hurd
Anna Jones
Tyler Kingkade
Cory Kleinheksel
Andrew Lauver
Brenna Lyden
David Morrison
John Pritchard
Justin Saenz
Michelle Wallace
Jacob I. Wilson

Onalie Kavindi De Silva Ariyabandhu

’14 economics, international studies, and environmental studies
Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka

A Sri Lankan survivor of the 2004 Christmas tsunami, the tapestry of Onalie’s academic and professional career has been woven with the threads of compassion and resilience. After graduating with three degrees from ISU, she returned to her native country to serve as a social change entrepreneur for the United Nations Population Fund. Today, she is a visiting trainer and lecturer on life skills education who has become a thought leader on the issues of health, education, gender equity, and religious tolerance and has inspired young girls throughout Sri Lanka. A past president of ISU’s International Student Council who was named the university’s outstanding student leader of the year in 2014, Onalie returned to campus in September 2015 to deliver a lecture entitled “100 Voices Leading for Change.”

Onalie on…

…her dream job: “to become a professor in a Sri Lankan national university”

…what would make the world a better place: “if quality education was not a luxury”

…her guilty pleasure: “Sri Lankan public buses are well known for loud music, which most passengers find annoying. This, however, is my guilty pleasure!”

…her favorite words of wisdom: “’Nosithu dey siduwey, sithudey wanasey,’ which means ‘The unexpected could occur and the expected could rescind,’ This is a teaching of Lord Buddha, which always reminds me of the uncertainty of life. It motivates me to try my best to make a positive change in the world before I die.”

…what Iowa State means to her: “Iowa State will always be my second home. I never expected I would have such strong feelings toward a foreign land, but Iowa State definitely proved me wrong. I learnt so much about people, life, and living while I was studying at Iowa State. I will always cherish the experience I gained as an international student at Iowa State.”


Robert “Lopaka” Baptiste III

’06 liberal studies
Mā‘ili, Hawai‘i

A first-generation college graduate who came to Iowa State from the Wai‘anae Coast of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, Robert – also known as Lopaka – has become a fixture on Capitol Hill and a leader in the field of Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native advocacy. He has worked as a senior policy advisor for Thunderbird Strategic LLC, a firm that lobbies on behalf of clients from Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and Native Hawaiian Organizations; in the offices of now-retired U.S. Senators Daniel K. Akaka of Hawai‘i and Thomas R. Harkin of Iowa; as well as for the Native American Contractors Association and in the office of Hawai‘i State Senator Maile S. L. Shimabukuro. Lopaka is also the founding vice chair of Ho‘okumo Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to empower Native Hawaiians through economic and community development. He is a former youth mentor for the organization Asian-American Youth Leadership Empowerment and Development. 

Lopaka on…

…his favorite college memory: “Every moment of my time at Iowa State was impacted by my decision to join my fraternity, Alpha Kappa Lambda. The peak of this was being recognized as the Interfraternity Council’s Fraternity Man of the Year in front of all my brothers and friends the year I graduated.”

…his role models: “My parents are my role models. They worked hard to provide for our family while constantly encouraging me to challenge myself with greater opportunities, including higher education.”

…what would make the world a better place: “if Cy were president”

…his favorite app: “Facebook”

…what Iowa State means to him: “Iowa State is home to me, where I got my education, made lifelong friends, and made countless awesome memories. I love Iowa State so much that I have a tattoo of ‘walking Cy’ on my shoulder. Loyal son, forever true!”


Adam Hoebelheinrich

’09 journalism & mass communication
Green Bay, Wis.

Adam is realizing his dreams as a sports journalist; after getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work right out of college for ESPN, where he earned several honors – including “Trainer of the Year” – and job promotions during his four years there, he now works as video editor for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. Since joining the Packers organization in 2014, Adam has worked on a number of exciting video projects, including the documentary “One of a Kind,” a one-hour feature on quarterback Brett Favre that was released in conjunction with Favre’s summer 2015 induction into the Packers Hall of Fame. “I love meeting our ultimate goal, to serve and entertain our fans,” Adam told the ISU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in an alumni feature published last winter. “I also just love pulling into the Lambeau Field parking lot each morning. That never gets old.”

Adam on:

…his favorite spot on the ISU campus: “Hilton Coliseum”

…his dream job: “radio play-by-play for the Chicago Cubs”

…the everyday item he can’t live without: “my coffee mug”

…his favorite words of wisdom: “My favorite piece of advice is to never sell yourself short. If you do that, it gives you the confidence you need to take chances, meet new people, and apply for jobs you may not otherwise consider.”

…what’s next for him: “I have a goal of producing my own show at some point. I’ve worked with a lot of great producers who have allowed me to take a bigger production role in certain projects, and I feel like I can use some of those experiences to take on a show of my own. I love to set an agenda for discussion and to entertain a diverse audience at the same time. I also hope to use the things I’ve learned from a career in TV and get into teaching…maybe even back at Iowa State!”


Colin Hurd

’13 agricultural studies
Ames, Iowa

Colin is the founder and CEO of Agriculture Concepts, a business he started while still attending Iowa State with the creation of TrackTill, a patented technology that attaches to John Deere planters for pinch row compaction. The goal of Colin’s innovative design was to eliminate the compaction caused by large row planters and reduce runoff. In May 2015, Colin announced a manufacturing partnership with Yetter, which now exclusively markets TrackTill. Today Colin continues to work on agricultural innovations (his new business venture, SmartAg, is focused on automating the most labor-intensive aspects of farming) while also operating the Kolbe Scott Fund, a charitable foundation he established with his wife, Kimberly, in memory of their son, Kolbe, who was born and died August 26, 2015 after suffering from a lethal chromosomal abnormality called Triploidy in utero. The fund provides support to charities that work with parents who have suffered or will suffer the loss of a child.

Colin on…

…his favorite ISU tradition: “Campaniling”

…what would make the world a better place: “if everyone could have a loving, stable family”

…the movie he’s always quoting: “Home Alone”

…his guilty pleasure: “Call of Duty”

…what Iowa State means to him: “ISU means a lot. I went to school thinking I wanted to be an ag lawyer and graduated as an entrepreneur. I not only left school with a great business idea, but also relationships and friendships to support me through making that idea a reality.”


Anna Jones

’11 architecture
Des Moines, Iowa

Anna is an architect in training with Substance Architecture in Des Moines, where she has worked on projects at ISU and has most recently been involved in the standards design and development for an international corporate client. She is a 2016 recipient of the American Institute of Architects’ Associates Award and is an enthusiastic advocate for the architecture profession who currently serves as associate editor for Iowa Architect magazine as an active AIA member. From 2012-2013 she served as the AIA regional associate director of the Central States Emerging Professionals Committee. In 2014 she became the youngest person ever elected chair of Iowa Women in Architecture, a leading voice for promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity in the architecture profession. In addition to her significant career accomplishments, Anna is also the founder of a jewelry and accessories line called annajonesdesign.

Anna on…

…her role model: “Audrey Hepburn – modern, intelligent, independent, and fashionable woman and humanitarian”

…her favorite app: “Instagram. As a creative individual who sees things visually, it’s a great outlet for sharing design interests, discovering like-minded creatives, and gathering ideas via imagery.”

…the everyday items she can’t live without: “coffee and good shoes”

…her favorite words of wisdom: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

…what’s next for her: “Figure out how to cultivate the talent of all the young creatives and entrepreneurs in Des Moines in order to build and design a place that supports and addresses the cultural and societal needs of the place. Des Moines is continuing to grow in a positive manner, of which creatives can have an impactful hand in making the place. I hope that I am able to have a hand in contributing to something great for Des Moines and its future. Long-term goal: Continue to advocate for equality in architecture, work-life balance in the design profession, and the advancement of women in leadership roles.”


Tyler Kingkade

’11 journalism and mass communication
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Tyler is a senior editor and higher education reporter for The Huffington Post who has become a national leader on investigating and reporting issues of sexual violence and assault on college campuses. Since graduating from ISU, the former Ethos magazine editor-in-chief has reported on and investigated such topics as the Occupy Wall Street movement, the 2012 midterm elections, mental health on campus, male body image, college student sex work, and Title IX. His recent HuffPost reporting has uncovered multiple federal violations on campuses have led to protest, action, and ultimately change. “Tyler is one of the most talented young journalists that I’ve had the opportunity to work with,” his nominator said. “He’s a strong writer and reporter, and he has excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

Tyler on…

…his dream job: “I want to write a nonfiction book.”

…his guilty pleasures: “pop music and gummy snacks”

…what would make the world a better place: “if people didn’t take things so personally”

…his favorite words of wisdom: “The Serenity Prayer”

…what Iowa State means to him: “Iowa State was a place where I tested myself; where I experimented; where I tried out different paths I wanted to take in life to figure out which one I should take to go all the way. I had opportunities to get involved, or stay in my own circle if I wanted to, so I really did get to choose my adventure. I got a taste of the best that college has to offer, from the tailgating experience at football games, to finding love, having my first internship and publishing my first professional piece of work, and making mistakes in how I acted and things I said, but still learning from them. I got to interact with a wide variety of people, and I learned to appreciate different things people had to offer, either professionally or personally. It was a home base as I figured out who I wanted to be when I went out into the world.”


Cory Kleinheksel

’08 computer engineering
Ames, Iowa

During Cory’s computer engineering Ph.D. program, he co-taught a computer literacy course to 480 sixth and seventh graders at Des Moines’ Meredith Middle School, which enrolls a diverse population that includes a number of socioeconomically disadvantaged youth. Cory not only excelled as an instructor for the program, but he challenged students to complete a capstone project that involved building and programming robots. Des Moines Community Schools administrators took notice; Cory’s software programming curriculum was implemented at middle schools district-wide last fall. “I am very passionate about STEM education,” Cory says. “I look forward to future service opportunities in K-12 STEM education. Teachers have a challenging task in front of them, and through all of my experiences I certainly have high respect for all the work they do.”

Cory on…

…his favorite spot on the ISU campus: “It is hard to beat gameday at Jack Trice! The Campanile is iconic, too. My wife and I got married in front of it. Hard to pick just one!”

…his favorite college memory: “Has to be the ISUCF’V’MB. 350 close friends. Cheering the Cyclones to victory. Traveling to Iowa, Nebraska, and bowl games supporting the team on the road. Then being able to see familiar faces every fall since at Alumni Band.”

…his favorite app: “todolist and LinkedIn” (Connect with him at www.linkedin.com/in/coryjkleinheksel.)

…what this honor means to him: “Service has been very important to me since I was young and in scouting. This has led me to volunteer in my school and community in a variety of ways over the years. Recently my interest has turned to helping improve STEM education in community schools. I am honored to be recognized for this service effort. I think improvements are being made, but there is still so much to be done. I look forward to working with additional schools in the future on similar efforts and would like to encourage all of the ISU alumni network to do the same.”


Andrew Lauver

’12 agricultural studies
Rockwell City, Iowa

Andrew is a rising star as a seed sales professional at DuPont Pioneer who was honored as the company’s Frank Ross International Emerging Leader and is a recent recipient of the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Emerging Iowa Leader Award. His passion for sustainable agriculture has led him to travel the world gaining experience and insight; as a volunteer, he is involved with 4-H youth mentoring, the Iowa Farm Bureau’s Calhoun County Board of Directors, the Iowa Foundation for Agricultural Advancement, Future Seed Executives, First-The Seed Foundation, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Rotary International, and Agriculture Future of America. He has studied and worked in the U.K., Canada, and Costa Rica. Today, he works near his hometown of Lake City, Iowa, where he was compelled to rally the community since losing his fiancée, Chelsey Henkenius, a Lake City native, in a tragic car accident in December 2014. “Andrew has devoted his talents to community leadership roles in Lake City,” his nominator writes, “while maintaining a strong presence with his role at DuPont Pioneer.”

Andrew on…

…his favorite college memory: “watching the Cyclones beat No. 2 Oklahoma State in football”

…his favorite spot on the ISU campus: “the steps of Curtiss Hall”

…his role model: “Henry A. Wallace”

…the movie he’s always quoting: “Tommy Boy”

…what this honor means to him: “This award is dedicated to my late grandfather James Anderson, late fiancée Chelsey Henkenius, hometown of Lake City, church, and Alpha Gamma Rho. Each of these people and organizations are the central reason I wake each day, striving to make the world a better place.”


Brenna Lyden

’15 apparel, merchandising, and design
Seattle, Wash.

As the leader of the couture company Third & Loom, Brenna – who is not even a full year out of college yet – is the youngest appointed female CEO in the United States. Brenna credits the online presence she was able to create through the development of her fashion blog, Chic Street Style, for accelerating her career trajectory during her undergraduate years. The blog opened doors for her to start her own styling business at age 19, to intern with Nordstrom’s merchandising group at 21, and at 22 to run Third & Loom, where she is tasked with overseeing 70 employees; a socially and economically responsible factory in Vietnam; and the branding, marketing, and operations of a $14 million company aimed at offering affordable custom gowns, focusing on bridal. As she approaches making her first $100,000 with Chic Street Style, Brenna has also launched Everly, a diamond-alternative jewelry line.

Brenna on…

…her favorite ISU tradition: “The Zodiac in the MU. I’m very superstitious, so I avoided that thing like the plague all four years and then stood in the middle of it after I graduated.”

…her role model: “Blair Eadie, one of the biggest fashion bloggers in the world and the VP of merchandising for Tory Burch”

…the everyday item she can’t live without: “My iPhone 6s plus – my DSLR Canon Rebel camera. I can’t function unless it’s basically glued to my hand.”

…her favorite words of wisdom: “’If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.’ – Jim Rohn”

…what Iowa State means to her: “ISU was the place that gave me roots, a foundation that I’ve been able to build my success from. For me, the support, education, and connections I got from the university is the secret ingredient to making my dreams come true so young.”


David Morrison

’10 genetics, political science, and international studies
Beijing, China

David’s passion for international relations dates back to his days growing up on a farm near Traer, Iowa, when he was inspired by experiences in summer exchange programs in Japan and Germany. As a student at Iowa State, he spent his summers interning in Washington, D.C., with the U.S. Senate and USDA Foreign Agricultural Service on projects in Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon graduation from ISU, David went to work for the USDA Agricultural Trade Office at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, China. In the five years since, he has earned a master’s degree in international affairs from Georgetown University, earned fellowships with the State Department and a D.C.-based think tank, analyzed foreign weapons capabilities for the Department of Defense, worked in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and passed the rigorous U.S. Foreign Service Exam. Today, as a result of that training and experience, he is a consular officer at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, representing the U.S. government and American people overseas.

David on…

…his favorite spot on the ISU campus: “The Parks Library Reading Room: best place to study. I even cried when I walked out of the library during my last finals week.”

…his dream job: “TV travel show host or the advance team to scout all of the locations and do the activities in the show”

…the movie he’s always quoting: “Mean Girls”

…what’s next for him: “My life goal is to visit all the countries of the world. I probably won’t make it to all, but it’ll be fun to try! 33 down, many to go.”

…what Iowa State means to him: “Home and family. My parents met at ISU, so without the university I would not exist. Growing up, going to ISU football games and VEISHEA were family traditions. In college, my friends and classmates became my family. Now, I find new Cyclone ‘family members’ around the world.”


John Pritchard

’11 electrical engineering, PhD ’15
St. Paul, Minn.

John is a co-founder of a tech startup called HabitAware, which recently won the grand prize in the Logic PD Digital Product Innovation Challenge and was accepted into the world’s largest hardware accelerator program – HAX – in Shenzhen, China, where he is currently working. The technology is designed to help individuals who suffer from body-focused repetitive behaviors like trichotillomania (hair-pulling) and dermatillomania (skin-picking). An innovator by nature, John has long been passionate about design and entrepreneurship – dating back to his time as an ISU undergrad, when he co-founded two student groups dedicated to fostering invention and creating international research opportunities. “Since I first created an electrical circuit,” John writes, “I have volunteered countless hours to the pursuit of collaborations with other engineers, hoping to create something meaningful together.”

John on…

…his favorite ISU tradition: “the bringing of Lancelot and Elaine to Lake LaVerne”

…his favorite college memory:making an Iowa State YouTube video of LED light suits a friend and I made for Halloween, and hitting 24,000 views in one day!”

…his guilty pleasure: “binge-watching ‘Cosmos’”

…his favorite words of wisdom: “’Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.’ – Albert Einstein”

…what this honor means to him: “This award is a kind recognition of my personal and collaborative accomplishments in entrepreneurialism. The support of my family, mentors, colleagues, and friends enabled an environment for me to take a path toward success, and this award is a sign that I am heading in the right direction.”


Justin Saenz

’11 public service and administration in agriculture
Rosenberg, Texas

Justin is a county extension agent in 4-H and youth development for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service who has dedicated his professional career to providing relevant, value-added, and educational programming for youth. His willingness to provide the best possible experience for young people in Texas is exhibited in his appointment as chair of several 4-H district and state-wide contests. From leadership training to livestock shows, Justin plays a role in every aspect the Texas 4-H program offers. The native Texan came to ISU on an ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences scholarship and, though he has now returned to Texas, remains highly engaged as an ISU alumnus. Not only does he advocate for the Iowa State education in Texas and at Texas A&M, he is also a member of the Curtiss League of Awesomeness for outstanding young ISU CALS alumni.

Justin on…

…his favorite ISU tradition: “sledding at The Knoll”

…his dream job: “Secretary of Agriculture”

…his guilty pleasure: “a big cup of dark coffee”

…what’s next for him: “Long term goal: running for a public office”

…what this honor means to him: “While at Iowa State I made one of the toughest decisions I had to make: letting go of my dream of becoming a veterinarian. It was through my time at Iowa State and the various organizations with which I was involved that I knew I needed a career working with people. Receiving this award is a great honor and validation that I have chosen the correct career path.”


Michelle Wallace

’12 chemical engineering
Arlington, Va.

Michelle, who earned her law degree from the University of Iowa in 2015, holds a prestigious clerkship in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit – an opportunity less than 5 percent of top-100 law school grads are able to attain. An aspiring patent attorney who also dreams of one day becoming a judge, Michelle attributes much of her early career success to her studies, community involvement, and volunteer experiences during her undergraduate years at ISU; as a law student at the U of I, she went on to win first place and the award for best appellate brief at the Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition – one of the top collegiate intellectual property law competitions in the nation. “Michelle is a shining star amongst her peers,” her nominator wrote, “a great role model for current ISU students and alumni, and a great reflection of what it means to be a Cyclone.”

Michelle on…

…her favorite ISU tradition: “walking around the MU Zodiac to make sure you don’t flunk your next test”

…what would make the world a better place: “if people still took time to hand-write letters”

…her role model: “my mom”

…her guilty pleasure: “watching cooking competition shows”

…what Iowa State means to her: “Iowa State is full of great memories of hanging out with friends, cramming for finals, and getting involved in campus life and activities. For me, it truly was an adventure, but it was also the beginning of the next great adventure. Thank you to my professors for challenging me, and all the friendships that got me through and made it fun.”


Jacob I. Wilson

’11 political science and women's and gender studies
Tucson, Ariz.

When officials in Dent County, Mo., announced their plans to lower flags to half-staff in protest of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality decision, Jacob – a Dent Co. native and current Ph.D. student in higher education at the University of Arizona – was inspired by the counter-protest that convinced lawmakers to abandon the plan. He crowdfunded a scholarship for an LGBT student or ally at his high school that was so successful he expanded the effort to create a scholarship fund called the “Missouri Courage Scholarship,” which now serves the entire state of Missouri. The scholarship is awarded to any student who works to change the lives of LGBT people or other groups who have historically faced discrimination. In its first year, MCS will award almost $10,000. “This is about more than a flag or even scholarships,” Jacob said. “It’s about sending a message of love and acceptance to drown out hate. And most importantly, it’s about making life better for LGBT youth today – not just telling them that, someday, things will get better.”

Jacob on…

…his favorite spot on the ISU campus: “The Sloss House is one of Iowa State’s best resources. It’s rich in history, hosts life-changing programs and events, and is the epicenter of social justice on campus.”

…his dream job: “Olympic speed skater. But it looks like my future working in higher education is more plausible.”

…his role models: “Leslie Knope and Penny Jo Rosenthal”

…what’s next for him: “I’m spending a month this summer backpacking in Europe!”

…what Iowa State means to him: “Iowa State is where I met some of my closest friends, developed my understanding of the world, and learned how to stand up and speak out for what I believe in.”

 

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