Brendan O’Brien is Director of International Students and Scholars Office and Jorge Calderon is Asst Director, International Student Recruitment at Iowa State University.
Founded in 1858, Iowa State University became the nation’s first land grant institution in 1862. Located in Ames, Iowa, it is a founding member of the Big 12 Athletic Conference.
ISU’s Design Programs are highly ranked in the nation and well known for its programs in Engineering, Sciences and Business.
Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:
Episode Title: O’Brien & Calderon on ISU: Hidden Jewel, Innovation Thrust, and 900 Student Clubs.
Episode summary introduction: Founded in 1858, Iowa State University became the nation’s first land grant institution in 1862. ISU’s Design Programs are highly ranked in the nation and well known for its programs in Engineering, Sciences and Business.
Brendan O’Brien, Director of International Students and Scholars Office and Jorge Calderon, Asst Director, International Student Recruitment share Iowa State’s programs, the facilities, what they look for in their students, and their community.
In particular, we discuss the following with Brendan and Jorge:
Topics discussed in this episode:
Memorable Quote: “...any good school can give you a good education. But what is that school going to give you outside of that classroom, and outside of those programs, to really form a very sharp professional in all aspects?”, Jorge Calderon.
Episode Transcript: Please visit this episode’s transcript.
Transcript of the episode’s audio.
We recently inaugurated an $84 million Student Innovation Center and it has so many maker spaces you know, glassblowing and studios to work with wood and metals and media and all sorts of cool maker spaces is what we call them. And those opportunities for students to collaborate with colleges, professors, staff and go and make and invent and innovate is, I believe, a fabulous opportunity for students.
Founded in 1858, Iowa State University became the nation’s first land grant institution in 1862.
Located in Ames, Iowa, it is a founding member of the Big 12 Athletic Conference.
ISU’s Design Programs are highly ranked in the nation and well known for its programs in Engineering, Sciences and Business.
On our podcast today, we are pleased to have
With a great deal of passion, Brendan and Jorge share - what Iowa State is all about, its flagship programs, the facilities, what they look for in their students, and the community.
Before we jump into the podcast, here are the High-Fives, Five Highlights from the podcast:
[ISU - “Hidden Jewel”]
I think Iowa State is really a hidden jewel. It's just a great institution in a wonderful community. And, you know, in my conversations with international students here, I've been here just about two years now, I have found almost without exception that the students are having a wonderful experience, both academically and also within the community and you know, socially and making a lot of friends making connections with domestic us students, but also people from all around the world.
[Help Int’l Students Succeed]
We've just a whole range of offices and people who are really committed to helping students succeed at Iowa State, we have something called the International Student Success [Support] Collaborative, which is a group of staff members who are all working to make the international student experience more enjoyable and more worthwhile and to help international students succeed. Of course, the ISSO, the International Students and Scholars Office is the office that I work in. And we're kind of, the, the first main stop for international students.
[Flagship UG Programs]
At Iowa State we have three, three business majors that are STEM so that you could do up to three years in of OPT, those are actuarial sciences, the management information systems and business analytics, which is becoming very popular. Yeah.
Our most popular major among international undergraduate students, however, is computer science.
[Cool I-FIT Program]
And it is called I-FIT, Innovation Fellows In Training. And it is a program for high school students from around the world to sit in on a workshop offered by faculty and they've workshops could be in, you know, various different areas, different topics.
And these, these students sign up as a team representing that school and some of some of those teams are, or some of the workshops require the team to be, let's say, three to five students. Some of them will be five to 10 students, but anyway, they come into the workshop. They participate this, in this Interactive Event with Faculty.
Cost of attendance is about hovering at $40,000. And our the average scholarship that a good student receives at Iowa State is maybe 12,000 to $13,000 a year. And that's a combination of international merit centrally administered and scholarships by the colleges because each college has different types of scholarships.
If this is the College of Engineering, those students could be looking at maybe even more financial aid. They might be looking at 15,000 or so total!
Venkat Raman 5:02
I'm sure you want to hear this entire podcast. We start with Brendan. So without further delay over to Brendan O'Brien.
Hello Venkat How are you?
Venkat Raman 5:14
Great Brendan, great to hear your voice and welcome to our Podcast, “College Matters. Alma Matters.” Really looking forward to this conversation.
So, as I mentioned to you, it's all personal. I am a graduate of Iowa State, did my Master’s there many moons ago. And this is special. So thank you for making the time. Great.
Okay, so as I, as we have talked, and as I mentioned, we are catering to an audience of aspiring students from all over the world, folks who want to come and study in the US, and I would, you know, love to hear about Iowa State from you, and what what you'd like to tell them, and then we can sort of start digging a little deeper.
Well, great. Yeah, I think Iowa State is really a hidden jewel. It's just a great institution in a wonderful community. And, you know, in my conversations with international students here, I've been here, just about two years now, I have found almost without exception, that the students are having a wonderful experience, both academically and also within the community, and, you know, socially and making a lot of friends making connections with domestic us students, but also people from all around the world, we've always had a pretty robust group of international students.
And, you know, this is a chance for students, when they come to Ames, Iowa, they'll not only learn about Ames, Iowa in the US, but they might learn about China or India, or Colombia, or Kenya, or, you know, from the friends that they meet, which is probably the the greatest thing about coming to a US institution and making connections with people all around the world.
Venkat Raman 7:20
Maybe share a little bit about your background. I know you spent a lot of time, a few decades at Cornell. So it'd be great to get a little background on that. And then we can talk about your transition to ISU. And then from there...
Yeah, well, I grew up in upstate New York, when I say I'm from New York, people immediately think of New York City. But yeah, I grew up actually in Schenectady, New York, which is about three hours north of New York City. And then I, I spent a lot of time in the Finger Lakes, which is in the western part of New York State.
But you know, I had never been outside the country until I was a junior in college, while I might have crossed the Canadian border once or twice, but I never really been outside of the country until I was a junior in college. And I took a semester abroad in Kenya.
And it was just an amazing experience studying in Nairobi, Kenya. And I kind of joked that, you know, if I had been a better basketball player, I, I would have never had the chance to study abroad because I, I went to college as a high, as a high school student, I was, you know, all about playing basketball. And I thought that that's, that was my calling. And then you know, of course, you get to college, and you find there's, there's a lot of people just as good as you and kind of, you know, it takes a lot of hard work. And I kind of was just more interested in exploring more.
And so I had the opportunity to study in, in Kenya. And it was just amazing. And it just, I found that I made a lot of connections with the Kenyan people who were so hospitable and so just welcoming you.
I remember on my first day there, I was trying to mail a letter to my, my parents just to let them know that I had arrived safely. We didn't have text messages or different things that you have now, airmail letters and some I was asking for directions to the post office and somebody invited me into his home for lunch and you know, just was incredibly warm and friendly.
And what I think that trip did for me was just make me more excited about learning about the world in general and just made me more excited to explore and I went on and I took another semester abroad studied in Israel and then I taught English in Taiwan for a year and then as a grad student, I studied in France and I ended up as well as a grad student working in the international student office.
I kind of stumbled upon that job, and just had a long, you know, I didn't know that that was what my career would entail. But I've had a, just a wonderful career working with students and, you know, trying to help them have the same wonderful experiences that I've had abroad and kind of that feeling of paying it forward to try and welcome others.
And it's given me such joy to see people have a wonderful experience in the United States. And, you know, you can see them coming in is kind of sometimes really apprehensive and scared about, you know, a new environment, and then you, you just watch them thrive in the in the environment, and you also see the community where they're coming in to really benefit from the, from their presence, and everybody learning from each other. So it's, it's just been wonderful. And as I mentioned, I worked at another institution for many, many years. And then I had the opportunity to come out here to Iowa State. And it's, it's really been great.
To tell you the truth, I had never been in the state of Iowa until I came out here and interviewed for the position. And I was really, you know, overwhelmed at what a great institution, Iowa State is, and what a beautiful campus and everybody was so friendly and welcoming. And so I uprooted my family. And we came here and it's, it's just been great.
Venkat Raman 11:33
Now, what kind of service and programs do you guys offer International students once they get to campus? I mean, what, what are the kinds of things they can expect?
Well, one of the things I've noticed in more than 30 years in higher education is how all the different offices on campus really have embraced international students, and really taken on as part of their mission to assist international students.
Back when I first started at another institution, it was sort of like, well, if you have a difficulty, go see the International Students Office, we can't help you. I think that that's no longer the case. And there's just a whole range of offices and people who are really committed to helping students succeed at Iowa State. We have something called the International Student Success Collaborative, which is a group of staff members who are all working to make the international student experience more enjoyable and more worthwhile and to help international students succeed.
Of course, the ISSO, the International Students and Scholars Office is the office that I work in. And we're kind of the the first main stop for international students, you know, they're required to check in with our office and we try to help them keep up to date with all their immigration matters and their paperwork and the documentation and making sure that they're in legal status. And if they don't need to travel, help them do that.
And if they want to apply for work permission, doing that, and then we have some programs, we have the International First Year Experience, which is actually a one credit course, which will help them transition and help them kind of think about, give them some more tools to succeed here.
But the ISSO is only one of many offices on campus that are here to help international students. There's a great team of academic advisors in each of the colleges, our health center is great. And they really try to make things easy for international students and recognize the special needs of international students, you know, a counseling center or recreation services, and, and of course, the faculty who are also really committed to helping international students succeed.
So there's, when students come here, we recognize that most of their focus is about academics, but they're also they may have some personal issues that need to be addressed, or they also want to have some fun and they want to build community and make friends and we try to help make sure that all that happens.
Venkat Raman 14:27
At this point we are joined by Jorge Calderon to continue the conversation. Let’s welcome Jorge!
Venkat Raman 14:35
Jorge, maybe we can kick it off with a little bit about your background before we dive into Iowa State's undergraduate admission process.
Thank you, Venkat. Yeah, my name is Jorge Calderon, in International Students Recruitment and Enrollment in the Office of Admissions at Iowa State.
I've been with the institution for almost two years and working in this field for a little over 10 years now, my background is mostly on building, diversifying and growing the international student population from multiple regions.
But most of my work has been in India and Nepal. So South Asia, a little bit in Africa, Latin America. And with Iowa State, I've been doing a lot with East Asia, of course in Southeast Asia, but we have, those territories are not necessarily assigned to me. But I work a lot with students from those regions.
In the past, my focus was on the recruitment of international graduate students. But at Iowa State, my role is almost exclusively focused on the recruitment of undergraduate students for the university. And I do however, contribute to the prospect pool for, for international graduates. But my, my big focus is on undergrad.
Venkat Raman 16:02
What, what kind of programs you think that undergraduate programs are exciting to international students and maybe domestic students as well? I mean, what do you think, are some of the flagship programs that you might want to talk about?
Sure. Well, I think one of the great advantages of Iowa State is that there's just a whole variety of programs, you basically whatever it is, you want to study, you can find it at Iowa State, and whatever it is you want to do, you can find it through all of the full range of student organizations.
And so I've talked to a lot of students, you know, about all the different programs, of course, there are a number of ones that are that are really strong. I know, their engineering program is really strong. I know our business programs are really strong. But we're also strong in the liberal arts.
You know, my daughter is just graduating from high school, and she really doesn't know what what it is that she wants to study. But she's coming to Iowa State, and she's going to find, she's gonna find opportunities here, I'm totally confident of that.
And one of the great things about Iowa state that I've noticed is that the, the academic programs, they have a lot of flexibility, and they can help people, you know, find whatever their calling is.
And I've talked to a lot of students who said, Oh, I started out in architecture, and then I moved to business, and then I moved to engineering or something.
And they can move around to kind of find whatever it is that that is really their calling. So I think depending upon one's personal situation, college can be a time of great exploration. For others, it's a time where they really know exactly what it is they want to do. And they go and they pursue that.
And I think Iowa State’s a great place to do that.
Venkat Raman 18:00
Brendan talked about the STEM programs & Engineering. Are there some special programs that you'd like to highlight?
Yeah, absolutely. Well, definitely engineering, science, technology, big, big thing at Iowa State. But there's a few things that I like to highlight that are not so well known.
For example, several of our Design programs are very highly ranked. And I'll give you an idea. Graphic Design is number 19. In the US industrial design, 14 interior design 15. Architecture is number 22. Landscape Architecture number 10. And that's a, that's a wide variety of majors. Also, apparel, Merchandising, and design or fashion design is ranked over 12 in the US, but this program is not part of our colleges, it's part of the College of Human Sciences.
And then I do like to highlight a few majors in our College of Business because these three majors that I'm going to mention are STEM Designated majors, and that's pretty cool. I've, I've met more than one student in the past that has told me international students, of course, that has told me I really wanted to study business. But I chose computer science or engineering or this other program, just because I wanted to also be able to do up to three years of OPT with STEM extension.
Well, at Iowa State we have three, three business majors that are stem so that you could do up to three years in an op ed, those are actuarial sciences, the management information systems and business analytics, which is becoming very popular. Yeah.
Our most popular major among international undergraduate students, however, is computer science. Probably because the first electronic digital computer was invented at Iowa State University, which is a pretty good cool thing.
And then of course, we have also Lots of other programs out there of course very highly ranked in engineering and other areas as well, including theater entrepreneurship, supply chain management, and so forth.
Venkat Raman 20:13
So what does Iowa State look for in their students and their undergraduate students? And maybe even international students?
That's a good question.
Undergraduate Admissions at Iowa State is not very selective, as compared to graduate admissions right at the graduate level, it's very competitive and very selective at the undergraduate level, not so much probably because of the fact that we are a land grant institution and making education accessible is definitely a priority to Iowa State.
So what we're looking for is a well rounded individual, well rounded students, with throughout the background, right, we're looking for a minimum GPA, a minimum in academics or minimum in English proficiency, we do not require SAT or ACT if they are not, if they're completing high school outside of the United States.
And we do have a set of minimum course requirements, for example, they need to do, they need to have taken three years of Math and three years of Science and a few years and have their native language in their high school education to be to meet the eligibility requirements.
But other than that their students are meeting these requirements, they should, their chances of being admitted are going to be very high.
Venkat Raman 21:46
And you said that popular programs right now most popular one is computer science. So is there anything special that they need to do for, to apply to computer science, anything other than sort of, well...
You know what, there isn't, and, and I'll go beyond that I was talking about the Design programs before, right. And usually, when you're applying to design school, you need to prepare folio. That's not the case that I was saying we don't, we don't require portfolios, if you submit it, we won't consider take it into consideration when admitting you.
The College of Design works a little differently in the sense that every student in the College of Design will join a core year. And they're going to be taking the same courses, whether they are a student that wants to pursue studies in architecture, or graphic design or art history, they're all going to be taking this core classes, and if they meet a specific GPA at the end of that year, then they'll go into their first choice major, that the students that don't make it into their first choice major will, they will showcase their work during that tier.
So they will build a portfolio and that first year and then apply to their top three majors of choices. So it's a little different, the way that, that those programs work.
And I'll just interject, if I could venture, what's really been kind of a interesting eye opening experience for me, working at Iowa State is, you know, having been at other institutions, which really put a lot of emphasis on the fact or their perception that it was very, very difficult to be admitted to that university.
And Iowa State really puts the emphasis on what you learn while you're here, and really opening up the doors and having opportunity for students. And I think it's really where the emphasis should be about, you know, how do you prepare students for the world, whether they're going to be working in the United States or working internationally, wherever they're going, whatever the future may hold, you know, preparing students is the most important thing, not really about, you know, what the rate of acceptances or how, how selective a university it is.
And so I've just been really impressed and it's been very refreshing here at Iowa State.
I like that, that. That approach, Brendan and, you know, I'll add that, I usually say that some institutions measure their acceptance rates and, and their focus is on, you know, how many, how many students are going to not be able to get in and because they're because they're keeping their, their, their requirements very, very high. Whereas I see that Iowa State University is trying to figure out, you know, the opposite.
You know, let's, what can we do to make this more accessible to more students and more people so they can join and get a high quality education, not establishing big barriers to keep them from being able to join.
What, what are your plans Or how do you see the next few years with international recruitment? What is that, where's the emphasis going to be or What's the, what kind of objectives are you looking for?
Yeah, you know, we this, as in many industries, or for every pretty much every university this past year and a half has been a challenge in getting, getting out there and being able to meet the students and, and introduce the university to them.
And we've learned a lot.
And some of the things that we've learned, I believe we are going to continue doing even when we are back, traveling and meeting students in person.
I'll give you an idea of a really cool program that we have going on that, that, that starts this summer. We actually ran, we ran a pilot this past December that was very successful. So we're expanding it now.
And it is called, I-FIT, Innovation Fellows In Training. And it is a program for high school students from around the world to sit in on a workshop offered by faculty, and they've workshops could be in, you know, various different areas, different topics.
And these, these students sign up as a team representing that school. And some of some of those teams are or some of the workshops require the team to be, let's say, three to five students, some of them will be five to 10 students, but anyway, they come into the workshop, they participated this in this Interactive Events with faculty.
And the faculty, give[s] them an assignment, the students go away, work on that project, and submit their projects. And usually within a week, but some, we have one that's going to take place in the summer, that's a developing an app for computer science, those students are going to have a month to develop the app. But usually the other the other programs are about a week.
And we are you know, faculty and and the team is reviewing the entries and selecting the winners for these challenges. We have a total of $27,000 in prize money for the programs this fall. So I'm pretty excited. That's really, really cool.
And and I think that that is a different way of not only meeting students, hey, we're here this is Iowa State. But going beyond that, and giving them a university experience, right? They are sitting with real faculty, they are receiving information, they're receiving an assignment, they're going away working on it, some of these programs will have a touch point in the middle.
So they'll meet with the faculty, again, to ask additional questions. And I think that's really great. We have six of those scheduled for summer. And I, you know, I hope that someday in the future, in the coming years, we'll be able to run some of these in person, I'd love to travel with faculty, and run a one two day workshop/challenge in various series cities around the world, bringing the Iowa State experience to them.
Venkat Raman 28:03
This is, but this is fantastic, By the way, I will make sure to highlight that as well.
And I think, I think being virtual actually gives you a huge scale that you couldn't get by just traveling. I mean, I do understand getting in front of the students there too. But this gives you access and ability and, you know, makes it logistically easier. So.
We could talk a little bit about the applicants or maybe actually the applications for Fall 2022 as they are sort of thinking about that. The impact of the COVID as well, as you could call it, you know, the test optional and some of the other implications.
How should, How do you want applicants to think about their application? What should they be focusing on? And then if you could also comment on financial aid, I don't know what the situation is, or isn't for international students.
But you know, if we could just talk about both those things.
Yeah. So did you say for students for Fall ‘22 or Fall ‘21?
Venkat Raman 29:12
Fall 2022 22. Because 21 I mean...
‘21 is done!
Venkat Raman 29:15
Yeah, exactly. It's all over.
You know, I think what, what should students do differently for Fall 22 and how things have changed?
I think it's to the advantage of the students really, first of all, yes, there are many schools that have turned test optional. We have been, we have not required SAT or ACT for years, but schools are now allowing that. But I don't think the students plans shouldn't necessarily change.
And all of this if they were planning on taking SAT and they have been preparing for this and thinking about this and they have the opportunity to do it. Because those exams haven't been canceled. I think they should still take the test, it's a good way to, you know, polish your skills and your knowledge and get ready.
And guess what, some schools were looking at those scores when they're considering scholarships. So Sure. So you know, if you're a good student, and we're planning on doing this, well just continue and go ahead with your plants, take the SAT or the ACT, and submit those scores. And hopefully that will give you a better chance for scholarship, it also will broaden your your options, right?
When you're looking at universities, you don't have to worry about which ones are requiring SAT or not, no, you just have to worry about which ones you want to apply to, because you're taking that test anyway. So that's just a thought.
When it comes to financial aid, you know, there's institutions do things very differently. There's, there's smaller institutions that are very affordable, or sometimes larger, but that there are very affordable that provide very little to no financial aid or scholarships, because they're already very affordable. And there's very, let's say, institutions that are on the very expensive side that may might provide larger scholarships.
I think that ISU is somewhere in the middle, where we're definitely not the most expensive or, or the most affordable cost of attendance is about hovering the $40,000. And our, the average scholarship that a good student receives at Iowa State is maybe 12,000 to $13,000 a year. And that's a combination of international merit, centrally administered, and scholarships by the colleges, because each college has different types of scholarships.
If this is the College of Engineering, those students could be looking at maybe even more financial aid, they might be looking at 15,000 or so total, if they're good students for the first two years, and then they'll reapply with the college for additional funds.
So that, I think that's, you know, it's, keep keep an eye on a few things, keep an eye on the cost of attendance, not just tuition, but the total cost of attendance, and ask ask the universities, you know, how much how much a scholarship would a student with my profile? What are the chances that I would get this scholarship or that scholarship and the institutions will be happy to talk to you about that information.
I think that would be the maybe the best approach for Fall 22 and Beyond.
Venkat Raman 32:37
Sure. Now, at Iowa State for financial two questions, actually. is a financial aid a separate application? Or is it part of the overall application? I know, there's FAFSA and other things, but that was one question.
The second part is, you mentioned standardized tests as a way of scholarships, etc, that I was to take that into consideration when awarding these kind of scholarships.
We do but we we will not exclude students that don't have the SAT or the ACT since we don't require require it for admission, right? However, a student with a not so great GPA, but a strong SAT could, we would look at that students and say alright, you know, something happened, he wasn't able to bring his GPA back. But this SAT is recent. And and that might we will look at that that might help the students in getting to being selected for the scholarship.
And your other question. What was the first question?
Venkat Raman 33:40
The first question was, Is it a separate application? or...
Oh, yes, it is. So we're talking about international students, right. So FAFSA wouldn't apply but the students would apply, there's a, we have a portal, and students would access that portal once, browse different scholarship applications and choose the ones they want to apply to.
There are hundreds of scholarships in that system offered throughout the university. ISSO has scholarships, admissions has scholarships to colleges, departments, different units, there's really really hundreds of them.
So students sometimes are a little more overwhelmed, they think they have to go and read all of those to see what they qualify for. But as soon as that student accesses that system, the system will tell you which ones are recommended and match that students criteria.
So if it says students seeking a major in in music, or performing arts, it will highlight those specific scholarships and not just from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in specific to music and the one for international students.
So the students will be able to see and decide from the short list which ones they want to pursue.
Venkat Raman 34:53
I, in particular, wanted to just have you share how Iowa State handled COVID-19. I mean, from the start to how we're doing now, and then, you know what the plans for fall 2021 are?
Yeah, well, as you can imagine, you know, COVID kind of wasn't something that anybody expected, you know, if you look back two years ago, and you say, Well, this is what the next year and a half is gonna look like, people would just be be shocked.
But, um, so it was always, you know, kind of a moving target of how the university would respond. But I think Iowa State has done an absolutely great job in keeping the community safe, but also allowing for education to continue.
So we've had all kinds of, you know, protocols in place regarding social distancing, and face coverings, and, you know, kind of had to scale back some events. But we succeeded.
Students pursued their academic endeavors and learning happened and students made friends and the world went on. And I think we, we kept things going, and I think we did a good job of keeping people safe. And a lot of credit goes to the students themselves, they've been very, very responsible.
But also, I think all of the staff and faculty and administration worked hard to kind of set up systems so that, you know, we can mitigate the risk. And now things are changing. You know, of course, we follow all of the guidelines of the CDC, and you know, we're optimistic as more and more people are, have access to the vaccine, sure, you know, we can have, we can open up and kind of enjoy things a little bit more and have a little bit more of a chance to come together and have more of the group activities and have a completely. You're kind of a regular college experience.
But we have to keep people safe. And we're not out of the woods yet with the pandemic.
Venkat Raman 37:21
Now, were, how did the students handle the initial break? I mean, did they all go home, did the international students, how did they handle it? How did things go for them?
Yeah, well, um, you know, the conditions have been different, depending upon which semester, we're talking about, you know.
Last spring, you know, when it first happened, we shut down for a brief period of time. And then we, we got up to speed pretty quickly with students mostly doing virtual study. Some students decided to do the virtual study in their home country.
But I would say probably the majority stayed and did virtual study here in Ames. And then, you know, over time, there were some classes meeting in person, again, with social distancing, and, you know, doing everything we could to keep people safe.
So students had, you know, some challenges with, with travel. If they went home, could they get back here. And we tried to help each individual student manage their personal situation.
We did have, most of the students were able to come back, but there's, it has been difficult for some students, and some students decided to extend their period of time studying virtually and I think the university did a great job with, you know, having some in person classes, some hybrid opportunities and some complete virtual opportunities.
And, you know, again, people, people made progress and learning happened here for sure.
What should the students are international students preparing for Fall 2021. What should they be doing?
Well, I think, you know, we're not exactly certain what the health conditions will be in, in Iowa or throughout the world. So I think students have to be flexible.
They have to keep up to date with all of the information we'll post that on our website. You know, if students are able to get the be vaccinated before they come to the US, that of course would be wonderful, although I understand that many may not have that opportunity.
We'll be running vaccination clinics for international students when they arrive. But there's a period of time before you're considered to be fully vaccinated.
So there may be some times where students may have to quarantine before they are fully integrated into the university activities.
We, of course, will follow all of the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control. So we'll see what we're, what the situation will be like, in August .
But more than anything, I think it's just important that students come with a very flexible attitude and an attitude where they're just ready to embrace change and embrace the new experience.
I think sometimes students will say, they have expectations, and if it's different from what they expected, there might be some disappointment, but really, you just have to embrace a whole new experience and, you know, not look at it as I was expecting this, or I was expecting that or what it's like somewhere else and just be open to all kinds of new experiences, new ideas, new friends, and just make the most of your time here.
Venkat Raman 41:18
Okay, gentlemen, we are nearing the end of our podcast here, I wanted to give both of you a chance to talk about anything that we haven't covered or something that you want to talk more about. Or if there's nothing else, maybe some interesting memory or tradition that you want to share.
I'll go first if that's okay.
Now, there's, there's a couple of things that I'd like to highlight about Iowa State University that I personally think are really, really great that I wish I would have had access to when I was going to college. And I'll focus on two of them.
One is that we [have] over 900 student clubs in our get involved in our classroom. And that's really, really amazing. We're talking about everything from, you know, academic clubs, and sports clubs and other extracurricular or skydiving, rock climbing, and paint and art did or music, even dance clubs, I was surprised I was browsing through the system the other day, there are probably close to 15 different dance clubs.
So I mean, finding something to do outside of the classroom is, is definitely not going to be a problem.
And the other thing that I wanted to highlight is the the the focus that the university the emphasis that we make on innovation and making sure that our students are innovators and have that drive in those fields. Because, you know, I believe that any university can make you smart, you know, you go to a school, any good school can give you a good education, but what is that school going to give you outside of that classroom, and I'll title those programs to really form a very sharp professional in all aspects.
So we recently inaugurated an $84 million Student Innovation Center, and it has so many maker spaces, you know, glassblowing, and studios to work with wood and metals and media and all sorts of crew. maker spaces is what we call them.
And those opportunities for students to collaborate with colleges, professors, staff, and go and make and invent and innovate is, I believe, a fabulous opportunity for students.
Venkat Raman 43:41
No, that's that sounds really awesome. Brendan, I think you want to add or share?
Well, I'll just echo Jorge's comments and just kind of approach the experience being ready to fully embrace the great opportunities here. And there's just a great spirit here at Iowa State.
And, you know, you see that supporting their sports teams, but you see it everywhere of just people really welcoming each other working together. And, you know, just just kind of making connections and making friends. And so I hope that students will come and I think they'll have a great experience.
And the other last piece of advice I would give us, you know, don't hesitate to ask for help. There are a lot of people here at Iowa State who want to make sure that you can succeed. And don't hesitate to ask them to, for a little bit of help, and they can point you in the right direction and really support your experience while you're here.
Venkat Raman 44:37
Okay, so Brendan, Jorge, thank you so much for your time today.
You've been very generous with both the information and your time. So I thank you again, and I'm sure we want to talk some more in the future. But for right now, take care, be safe. I'll talk to you soon. Thank you.
Venkat Raman 44:57
Hope you enjoyed this podcast with Brendan O’Brien and Jorge Calderon on Iowa State University.
I hope you got a detailed look at Iowa State, its flagship programs, the facilities as well as what they are looking for in their students.
If you are a high school student, you should get your school to sign on to the IFIT program with ISU Faculty. It is truly a great opportunity.
I hope you explore ISU in greater detail.
Link to contact Admissions at ISU is in the Episode Notes.
For questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [email@example.com].
Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.
Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].
Till we meet again, take care and be safe.
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