Foreword – Fall 2020


Like a song you can’t get out of your head, these words have echoed throughout 2020 — an anthem of COVID-19. If you’re like me, you’re ready for a new tune. Our faculty, staff and students have demonstrated innovation, resiliency and commitment at levels never before experienced at Iowa State University. Resilient. Committed. Innovative. This is the song I hope fills your heart as you read the following pages.


It is with great pleasure and a huge #CALSproud that we share this issue of STORIES magazine. You may notice it looks a little different. We’ve reduced our page count and the size of our publication in an effort to cut costs.

The STORIES team looks a little different, too. In 2019 we wished writer Ed Adcock a happy retirement, and in 2021 we’ll do the same for writer and photographer Barb McBreen. Our former director, Brian Meyer, has taken a new position in the Office of Strategic Relations and Communications at Iowa State. All three were contributors to STORIES since its inception in 2007 and played a huge role in the publication’s success.

We wish them well as they write their next chapters. We are excited to welcome a few new faces as well. Whitney Baxter and Ann Robinson joined the CALS Communications Service in recent years and have been welcome additions to our team.

To support essential academic and administrative operations during the COVID-19 pandemic Haley Cook, our assistant director of alumni relations, and I have been providing support in different areas of the college.

I’m working as interim director of college relations and Haley has been a key member of the campus response team, working with colleagues from across Iowa State to create a healthy environment here on campus.

Due to COVID-19, we missed traveling the state with Dean Robison for community visits, hosting you at our annual CALS BBQ and gathering for homecoming celebrations. And, we skipped our spring issue of STORIES magazine to cut expenses and to serve the college in other ways. Like many of you, we’ve had the opportunity to reimagine how we gather and celebrate. Last spring and this fall we worked with an outstanding team to create a virtual convocation experience to celebrate our newest alumni. Visit to check it out.

Our social media feeds remain an opportunity to engage with the college on a daily basis. This summer we launched the #CALScommunity campaign to highlight the voices of our multicultural students, faculty and alumni. We’ve also maintained our connection with alumni via STORIES Online monthly e-newsletter (email to subscribe). We look forward to finding new ways to connect, engage and share with you in 2021.

Have an idea for a virtual event or other fun way to connect? Know of an extraordinary member of the college community whose story should be shared? Please let me know.

Thank you for your continued support of the college.

Warm wishes from central campus,

Melea Reicks Licht