Foreword – Fall 2014

I should probably get a new pair of boots.

Mine are over 30 years old.  They belonged to my sister who died when I was four.  She was fourteen when she last wore them. I grew to have the exact same sized feet.  The brown suede is worn and stained in a few places.

When I wear them I am so much more aware that every day is a gift and a chance to make a difference – in my own small way – on this earth.

There are a lot of difference makers in this issue.  Students, alumni and professors making progress in large and small ways on enormous problems plaguing society like Maura McGrail’s work to understand cancer cells, the lasting impact of student mentors like John Burnett and Jodi Sterle and the meaningful work of the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods with Ugandans to improve education and nutrition.

Tia Sandoval’s service in the Peace Corps has undoubtedly changed the outlook for a generation of village children in Nepal. And, I got to see the difference our alumni in Costa Rica are making in person when I traveled there to accompany a study abroad trip hosted by Enrique Villalobos and an alumni event hosted by Adriana Murillo-Williams.  Their gracious welcome, sincere care for our students and love of Iowa State still warms my heart.

What a difference they are all making.  I’d love to hear from you as to how you and other alumni continue to make a difference in your communities and around the world.  Please share your updates with or use #CALSdifference in social media posts.  I’ll share responses in our monthly STORIES Online e-mail newsletter or via the college’s Twitter and Facebook feeds.

I do own other boots, but none fit as perfectly as my sister’s.  I especially like to wear them on assignment for the magazine, or on a visit to the ISU farms. I think I’ll keep them a while longer.  Every step is important when you’re out to make a difference.

Kind regards,

Melea Reicks Licht