Dear LAS alumni,
Earlier this semester, I had the privilege to attend a virtual panel of select student leaders from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS). The topic of the panel was, “What is it like to go to college during a pandemic?”
I was profoundly proud and humbled as I listened to these four students talk about their experiences. Proud of the work that ISU is doing to keep our students and our campus community safe. Proud of the work that LAS has done to keep things running under extraordinary circumstances. And especially proud of our LAS students. Let me tell you about them, and you’ll see why I was also humbled.
When Morgan Fritz, a junior in political science, was elected ISU student government president in March, the COVID-19 pandemic was just starting to upend daily life. Since then, she has participated in countless virtual meetings with ISU leadership and has served as the student voice for all major campus decisions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and how to reopen safely.
Zach Hamilton, a senior in public relations with a minor in apparel, merchandising, and design, is always on the go. Whether he's tackling his homework, working as a student assistant for the LAS Career Services office, interning virtually at a Chicago-based integrated communications agency or planning the next issue of his own queer publication, “Glimmer Magazine,” almost every minute of Hamilton’s day is accounted for. I’m not sure when he finds time to sleep. Oh, and did I mention he’s the president of his fraternity?
Alejandro Hernandez’s second year as a community adviser (CA) is just a little different than his first. In addition to his typical CA duties, this year he’s helping to keep residents safe, enforcing the Cyclones Care protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Hernandez’s leadership roles on the LAS Student Council, Destination Iowa State, the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students, UNICEF club and the Doctors Without Borders Club have prepared him well to take on this additional responsibility.
The pandemic posed a unique challenge for Cameron Vannoy, president of ISU’s Pre-Med Club. Vannoy, a senior studying chemistry and genetics, collaborated with the club’s other officers to devise a hybrid strategy so that the group's 300+ members could either attend meetings virtually or in-person with safety protocols in place.
“The high time commitment in preparing to be a medical student can cause many to lose social connections and become isolated,” Vannoy said. “Being physically together reminds us that we are not alone, and encourages us to remember that we are not the only ones facing the struggles associated with our goals.”
These future alumni aren’t our future leaders. They already ARE leaders. And innovators. And advocates. And change agents. When COVID-19 upended everything, they adapted and helped their fellow students adapt as well. They look at the current COVID-19 crisis not as an impediment, but as an opportunity to facilitate creative change and to make things work even better than before the pandemic hit. Once the pandemic is over, the world is not going to be the same. But with students like these leading the way, I am excited to see what it’s going to look like.
Check out our various social media channels to hear more stories of extraordinary LAS students, faculty, staff and alumni.
I also encourage you to join LAS Connect. This free, virtual networking tool will allow you to offer and seek professional mentorship with current students and LAS alumni. We designed LAS Connect with you in mind, and we hope it helps our LAS community build and maintain a powerful online network of LAS Cyclones.
LAS Alumni Relations Coordinator