Fichters Team Up Home & Away

Adam and Austin Fichter have a lot in common. The fourth generation agriculture and life sciences students from Shenandoah started off their freshman year excelling as scholars and leaders. You could say they were cast from the same mold, especially when you see them.

The identical twins have made the dean’s list every semester both majoring in agricultural business, international agriculture and economics, with minors in entrepreneurial studies and general business.

They both are:

  • seniors graduating in May
  • members of the Iowa State baseball team (Adam plays shortstop and Austin is an outfielder)
  • involved in the Salt Company student ministry, leading Bible studies in the Greek community
  • FarmHouse officers, with Adam serving as president last year and Austin this year.

Asked about their differences, they have to think:  Adam is right-handed, although he bats left, and Austin is a southpaw.

Going to college with a sibling has been a plus, they say.

“We take a lot of classes together, which I think is helpful having two people listening and picking up what the professor’s talking about and having somebody to study with,” Adam says.

The brothers grew up on a corn and soybean farm, but want to explore other career options besides production agriculture. Eventually, farming might be in their futures, but they’ve enjoyed summer internships with a grain cooperative and Monsanto.

“They could write their own ticket to the future and do anything they want,” says Ebby Luvaga, a senior lecturer in economics who serves as their adviser.

She also hired them as sophomores to be peer mentors for the agricultural business learning communities and as tutors for agricultural business students in microeconomics classes. Luvaga looks for role models with leadership skills.

“They’re very organized and responsible. There’s something about them. They just stood out,” she says.

Luvaga also likes their sense of humor. She says, “After Adam introduced himself to the peer mentor class, Austin would say:  ‘In case you didn’t know, we’re twins.’ ” They also took to wearing T-shirts saying, “I’m not Adam,” and “I’m not Austin.”

The brothers joined Luvaga’s group of students on a study abroad course to Argentina in their freshman year. Another travel course took them to Spain the following year. Those were the first trips outside the country for the Fichters.

Adam also went to Tanzania with the Agriculture Entrepreneurship Initiative Program on a business development project with West Central Coop and Austin went to Australia with an economics and agronomy study abroad trip.

They are proud to say that, between the two of them, they have touched every continent except Antarctica.

Last summer, mission work took Austin to China and Adam to India, allowing Austin to turn 22 before his older brother (by five minutes) because of the time difference.

“I was 22 for a few hours before Adam was; the first time I’ve been technically older,” he says.

Leadership has been a part of their student experience since day one. Being members of the President’s Leadership Class helped them develop leadership skills at Iowa State. The class is open to 30 first-year students on the basis of co-curricular involvement, community and school services and academic achievement in high school. They met weekly at The Knoll to talk with university administrators, faculty and staff, and state and local leaders about leadership opportunities on campus.

They started the class when Gregory Geoffroy was serving his last semester as president and then had the chance to get to know President Leath during the transition.

“The other students who were in that class, you see now as heads of different organizations around campus. We have those relationships that were established freshman year,” Adam says.

Leadership within FarmHouse Fraternity occupies a lot of their time. Their grandfather and father were members – Albert Jr. “Corby” Fichter (‘52 animal science) and Albert III “Corby” Fichter (’80 agricultural business) – a legacy they wanted to continue. An uncle and cousin also were members.

As presidents of the fraternity, Austin enjoys the chapter operations part of being an officer, while Adam likes the alumni relations aspect. Both agree it’s played a huge role in their development as leaders, giving them the confidence and ability to tackle opportunities that have enriched their Iowa State experience. They say they have learned much from older members and are now giving back to the younger members.

FarmHouse has 99 active members and more than 1,000 alumni. The chapter, founded in 1927, is one of 29 nationwide and Canada. The Iowa State chapter consistently ranks among the top fraternities for academics, service and campus involvement and was presented the latest award for the top FarmHouse chapter.