International Student Advisory Board Dinner Discussion & Vision

If there was a Multitask Queen, I would be giving her a run for her $$.

  • Working on my mother’s Wedding Gift (She gets married this Saturday!)
  • Writing my speech for the big event tomorrow (Procrastinator Queen’s $ is up for grabs too;) )
  • Listening to a podcast about Indian Culture ( thinking about applying for a Fulbright)
  • And actively putting off these last 4 papers I need to write tonight

To my friends and family  I have asked for thoughts, prayers, cookies, etc… Now is a good time to be sending those positive vibes my way!

Highlight of the Day
Today was the last time the International Student Advisory Board would get together this year, and as outgoing UISG Diversity Liaison it was my last time meeting with the board as their adviser. Below is a pic of me and just some of the members. Thanks to both student governments we were able to have a nice dinner to celebrate their hard work and dedication. At the end of the dinner everyone had a moment to share what their vision for the University of Iowa was as it relates to international students. Everyone who shared really touched my heart.

One student said that his vision would be for domestic students who learn of someone’s international background would then respond with enthusiasm and honor to be in the presence of someone with international perspective, & ultimately to be interested in learning more about that person and said culture. Another student piggybacked off of that to say that his vision was that of the other side. In addition to the former he hopes that international students would lean in to engaging cross culturally and put forth the necessary effort in order to build friendships with Americans.
I don’t share those to say some of that is not already happening on campus (because it definitely is), but to share there are great minds and even more wonderfully-hearted people out there caring about all the right things, asking the big questions, and not shying away from finding ways to make visions like these- hopes for the people & student body as whole – a reality.

That type of thing helps me sleep at night (well on nights when I get sleep ;)) and wakes me up in the morning with purpose, hope, and happiness. I hope it can do the same for you.

Just some of the board members and myself after dinner
Just some of the board members and myself after dinner

Showed Up To Class & Didn’t Do The Reading

I can’t be the only one.

A couple of weeks ago, I walked into class and my professor began going on and on about this book. I remember being excited about the content and looking forward to reading it. My mood quickly shifted when we moved into the discussion part of the class, and the professor started calling out names of students asking them to elaborate on key concepts, key words, and their opinions of the case studies within the text. Oops! I have no idea how I could have missed an assignment like reading an entire book!

To my defense I wasn’t the only one. The entire class appeared to be on the struggle bus trying to embellish empty opinions and with assumed related content in hopes of appearing to have some knowledge of what happened in this book. Some of us were successful, but most of us failed. Our professor saw right through it.

Personally I think the professor could have given us a “heads up” so to speak, maybe a couple weeks before. Then again, maybe our professor did and it was said that one time I was late to class. (I know… I know… I sound like a horrible student forgetting assignments, and showing up late, but I promise its not the norm)

Either way now I have two days to read a book and write a paper on it. Words of wisdom for you young ones out there… you never get too old to read your syllabus.

#RevisitTheSyllabai #ItWasOnTheSyllabus #ThankGodForChegg

I – I- I Work Out! (Kind of )

In the midst of the beginning of my last semester of my undergraduate career, I have chosen to become a healthier hawk. Just last week I went to the Campus Recreation and Wellness-Center, otherwise known as “The Rec.” Prior to my arrival I looked up their group exercise class schedule to find Zumba classes.

I put on my snow boots, threw my new hard-earned Nike tennis shoes in my bag, grabbed a Gatorade and went out to brave the cold. I was motivated. Today was the day I was going to start working out again.  I walked to the Rec Center, only about a 7 minute walk from my apartment. I got to the Check-in desk only to discover I accidentally left my I.D. at home. Luckily they have a process in place to help forgetful people like myself, but you can only use the temporary pass twice a semester. So I was already off to a rough start, but I wasn’t going to let that get me down. Behind the check-in counter, I began flipping through the class sign up binder. I had arrived ten minutes before the late evening Zumba class, only to be told that the class was already full! Jeeesh

At this point I felt my motivation drain from my muscles, and I started thinking about how amazing my bed and a book would be instead of this gym atmosphere. BUT NO! I had to stay, I had to at least run on a treadmill, do the StairMaster, and a short ab workout. I owed it to myself. I went to the third floor, found some old friends, talked for about ten minutes, and then found my way to my machine. I sanitized it, figured out what music I wanted to listen to, and finally I began my workout. Half way through my 30 min cardio the fire alarm went off.

I was never informed what exactly caused the fire alarm to sound, I imagine it was an accident since I assume flames in the Rec Center would cause a headline of some sort. The fire alarm alone was the ultimate sign that I was not meant to work out that day.

It’s been 7 days and I haven’t been back, I wonder when my motivation will return…


A Few Things I Had To Remind Myself About Iowan Winters

It is December 15th and its 45 degrees outside.

Not too bad for Iowa right?

Except for tomorrow it is supposed to snow and drop into the twenties.

I spent a lot of the winter season last year just like this…










Oh and like this…











To my surprise, my brain was conditioned into thinking that was going to be the norm.

So I’m writing this as a reminder to myself, but also as a little note to all of those preparing for your first Iowa Winter.

ONE. Pick Out Your Clothes The Night Before

This may sound silly, but it is the perfect solution. In the winter you may find it harder to get yourself out of the bed. Your bed just seems more warm, than the howling cold that awaits you. So if you are anything like me you will hit snooze a few more times than you should, and find yourself rushing minutes before the last bus comes. Do yourself a favor, have your clothes waiting for you when you jump up, you won’t regret it!

TWO. Dress In Layers

For some reason my millennial digital age self can’t understand this, but apparently big buildings are difficult to heat properly and evenly.  Which means that if you dress like it’s negative 10 outside (which it probably will be), only to arrive to class where it feels like it’s 80 degrees… you will melt. I know what you are thinking, but no this is not a valid excuse for not participating fully in class discussions. Wear layers of clothing so that you can survive outside, and thrive inside. I usually wear a tank top, long sleeve shirt, with a hoodie or sweatshirt, and a Columbia coat. So if one of my classes turns out to be a sauna room, I just shed off what’s not needed. GENIUS! I know.


This one should totally be number 1, but I’m too lazy to go and change my blog post order. Have you ever waited outside for what seemed like forever in the freezing cold for a bus to pick you up and finally take you back to your dorm? How much of a relief do you feel once you finally get on the warm bus? Well what if that was stolen from you? It HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. How? Well, the bus shows up and it’s at “capacity” and so they can’t let you on. However, that isn’t always true. Students often get on the bus, and don’t fill the back of the bus, but instead hover near the exit doors (in the center of the bus) and near the front. To the driver, this makes the bus look full. People are all smooshed near the front, when in reality there is space and open seats up the stairs on the back of the bus. Please do everyone a favor, and move all the way to the back. It’s the Iowan thing to do. Plus you don’t want to be that kid that doesn’t make more space for others when I’m on the bus, I will shout at you. Its not fair, and its too cold for all of that.

FOUR. UGG Boots/Snow Boots

When I first arrived on campus I noticed UGG boots were all the rage. In the four and half years that I’ve been here, that has not changed come November weather. They are a little pricey, so go ahead and get your knock-off versions because I understand the struggle and nobody gets that close to your feet in the winter anyways!

Just as a heads up, most UGG boots are super comfy but are NOT waterproof. So by the end of the winter, all the water and salt (most widely used de-icing mechanism on campus) really messes ’em up. They’ll be almost unrecognizable. So you can do what my gma does for me spray ’em with water-proof spray ($10 at Walmart), it doesn’t do much to protect them from the salt but you can be sure your tootsies won’t get wet. Fun Fact: Did you know its perfectly normal and encouraged that you don’t wear socks with your UGGs?  UGGs are designed to be worn without socks. With continued use, the wool will mold to the shape of your feet, creating a perfect fit. Sheepskin is a natural product which breathes, absorbs moisture and provides a warmth and comfort superior to any synthetics. According to their site sheepskin will not become smelly with wear, I might be the exception to that!


Unless you live in the residential halls, getting food when you need food becomes a brand new type of hassle. Plan a paired trip to the grocery store with a friend right before the weather gets too crazy. Get your canned soups, cough drops, frozen vegetables, hot cocoa packets, and Easy Mac to last you a little longer than usual. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Follow these tips and you will definitely be a happier snow-herky.


My Iowa : Diversity, Inclusion, Identity, & Discussion

In the wake of the indictment decision in the Ferguson trial, and nationwide tension and attention on the racial issues that tear at our country, I have begun reflecting on some of the great discussion that I had in a university program called My Iowa.  During the My Iowa retreat, there was ample amount of time made for students to connect with each other and talk about the deep stuff. That is why I loved My Iowa, because some of the conversation that I had there, proved to me that I’m not alone in some of my experiences of injustice and that there are some good people out there (black, white, brown, red, and yellow) who care about making the world a better place. Today you can meet some of them in my post!

Four years ago I had the opportunity to participate in My Iowa: Multicultural & International Student Summit, and this year I applied and became a Peer Leader for the summit. I had an amazing time facilitating discussion and creating cross-cultural friendships with some of the best folks on campus! If you can’t already tell, I met some amazing people through the summit, and so instead of just telling you what I thought about the summit I asked a few of the other participants to share with you all what My Iowa is to them.

Below you will find a collection of bus ride reflections on the My Iowa experience of my peers and of course they are accompanied by a My Iowa T-shirt selfie!

My Iowa is…a great summit that everyone should participate in. I got to meet so many different diverse group of people I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for My Iowa. I’ve gained so much more knowledge about other culture and background of other people, it was an amazing experience!! -Gocale

My Iowa is strong, genuine,diverse, welcoming, supportive, united, non-stereotypical, appreciative. -Efe

MY IOWA: Multicultural & International Student Summit

The next MY Iowa is next year, don’t miss out on an opportunity like this! Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact CSIL in advance at 335-3059.

The MY IOWA Multicultural and International Student Leadership Summit is an overnight retreat. Open to all UI students, MY IOWA will give participants a chance to build connections and leadership skills with a diverse group of people who want to make the university a place where all feel welcome. This is a fun and exciting way to start your semester off, and build strong relationships throughout your time at Iowa! The curriculum has strong connections with The National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) model and other leadership development experiences. This year, MY IOWA will occur on October 24-25, 2014, with 45 student spots available. The event will be held at Crooked Creek Camp in Washington, Iowa, with transportation and meals being provided free of charge for all participants.

After the MY IOWA retreat, participants will be invited to several events, and dialogues throughout the year to build upon the relationships formed, and also to help connect these leaders to campus resources, administrators, faculty, staff, and fellow students.\

For additional information click here.


Lastly, thank you to everyone who helped contribute to this post.

ENTREDAYS At the University of Iowa

JPEC EntreDays
JPEC EntreDays

Working for a startup company, and being a part of an around-the-clock hustle team, hasn’t been the easiest, as I am also a full time student.  However it is by far one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had. I may even venture to say that I learn a lot more in the setting of Ellison exponentially quicker than any of my classes. That’s because with decisions and tasks within in Ellison it’s me or nothing. So if I don’t get it done, learn how to do it, and do it right in a very short period of time no one else is going to do it (there’s a lot to be done) and it’s ultimately my fault and my actions have more widely felt consequences than just a few points docked from my grade. For me, there is no better motivation. I find myself learning all types of cool new things, experimenting with my own ideas, and working next to the hardest working team in all the land everyday that I am at work. It’s pretty cool, and you should probably be jealous. 😉 Back in April I got involved with Ellison Eyewear, and participated in the Entrepreneurial center’s Venture School Program. I’ve been with the organization, now company, ever since. Our CEO Aristotle Loumis enjoyed sharing his #startup‘s story with Ravi Patel of Hawkeye Hotels, Roby S Miller of TelePharm, and Alec Whitters from Higher Learning Technologies to last nights aspiring #entrepreneurs at the University of Iowa’s Entre Fest. I was proud to be there to support and to hear our successes thus far from an outsider’s point of you It was a great event, and has me hungry for the next one. The University of Iowa truly has a dedication to its entrepreneurial community and it’s growth. I’m excited to be a part of it.


Now I’m looking forward to Iowa City Startup Weekend!  I’ve never been to one of these. I’m not sure exactly in what way I am going to participate, but I know that I wouldn’t miss it!

IC Startup Weekend Here is the description from the website:

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

The “Student Council” of the University of Iowa

Many of us participated in student council in high school, and never dreamed that a school as big as the University of Iowa would have such an organization. Well… it does! It’s called University of Iowa Student Government or UISG for short.

This is my second year in UISG, and this time around I’m a part of the Executive Branch. I’m this year’s Diversity Liaison. In student government you learn a lot about politics (you run a campaign to get votes for your party in the spring), you meet tons of other student leaders, you build relationships with administrators and community members, and you are presented with ample amount of opportunity to create change on campus. The last one is my favorite part.

Anything from staples in the library (provided by UISG!), to advocating on behalf of Tuition Freeze (yep, we do that), to keeping the student center open for 24 hours to accommodate the late owls and early birds, there are truly no limits!

UISG just had their first senate meeting of the year. It was part of a carefully planned retreat to get everyone acclimated to all parts UISG.  We had dinner together, learned about Robert’s Rules, met with our committees (Sustainability, Diversity, Academic Affairs, Student Life, Governmental Relations, Communication and Outreach, Nominations, & Financial).

UISG Retreat
UISG Retreat Selfie

We passed our first legislation of the year, and I’m happy to announce that the International Student Advisory Board is going to be up and running soon. How cool is that?
I had a great time, and I’m looking forward to a great year.

There are five seats reserved for Freshman Senators which are filled at the beginning of the Fall semester.

All students will be notified via email when the application is open, so be sure to check your emails! 

For more information on The University of Iowa’s Student Government visit or comment here.



Lessons Learned This Semester

Lessons Learned This Semester
A quick overview of my growth and understanding of just a few things entrepreneurial and businessy

First, let me reflect on what my perception of entrepreneurship and business were five months ago. It’s strange to think that they could have possibly changed in such a short amount of time. My views of entrepreneurship before this semester were as followed:

  • An entrepreneur was something I had to wait to become because I didn’t have an idea yet.
  • The business that I will eventually start would have a TOM’s shoes business model.
  • Raising Capital is a long, formal, and technical process
  • Customers are important

Kyra’s Shoes
Although the idea isn’t completely ruled out, I have pretty much decided that building a company identical to TOMS shoes but in a different industry isn’t necessarily how I want to save the world. I’m almost more interested in starting a company with no one social good officially tied to all marketing and business. I would like my company to give because it’s the right thing to do, not because we exploit the emotions of others. I still would like it built into our mission, but I’d almost like it if my niche is what first came to mind in my customer’s heads. However, if a bunch of students in a Social Entrepreneurship class did a Corporate Social Responsibility analysis of my company, they would discover that we operate the best we can in order to not only avoid, but combat exploitation of others. I would like them to discover that we care about our impact on the environment throughout our supply, production, and distribution chains. I want to compete in the business world on customer service, quality, and overall awesomeness of my product and service, while at the same time being aware of all negative externalities of my company, and encouraging more positive externalities.

Kyra the Entrepreneur in 2024
I’ve always known that there were a lot of students at Iowa that were starting their own businesses. I knew I had the skills to be one of them, I believed I had everything going for me except I didn’t have an award winning idea. So I was a wannabe entrepreneur, and I was determined to groom myself for the day that I would come up with something and make millions! It dawned on me this semester that I already am an entrepreneur, and that it didn’t have to be my “idea” to play a critical role in adding value and taking it to the next level. I am doing that right now, with the local startup Ellison.

2024Getting That Startup Dough
A combination of taking my Entrepreneurial Finance course and being in the Venture School has really helped me understand the processes and options for raising capital, which was a really a foreign concept to me prior to this semester. I had my silly assumptions, I won’t waste time explaining them all, but I did think that raising money for a business was more of an application process, and the character or network behind the team had no significance throughout the process. Now I’m more in tune with the minds of venture capitalists, business model competition winning material, pitches, angel investors, and bank loan terms and conditions. I’m definitely on the right track now.

My Inspiration
Where I derive my inspiration from has also expanded. I have never felt a connection between my entrepreneurial spirit and that of the military in any way shape or form. I realize now, that there is a lot I can learn from the SEALs that easily transfer over into other areas of my life, including the entrepreneurial sections. Thanks mostly to the activities in my Social Entrepreneurship class, I’ve really grown to think about lessons I can learn from all walks of life, and the art of connecting it to my entrepreneurial pursuit of success.

navy sealsBaby Jesus, Bill, & Tony
What do Jesus, Bill Strickland, and Tony Hsieh have in common? Probably a lot of things, but for the purpose of this essay I’m referring to the way they changed the world around them for the better despite the fact that that very same world was calling them all crazy for even thinking about it.  Brilliant innovation doesn’t come about by following all the rules and sticking to the status quo, in order to have that type of impact you may have to go ahead and do what your intuition is telling you even if it doesn’t sit right with those around you.

zapposWhich came first, The Hen or the Egg?
This semester I’ve had my eyes opened to just how much more valuable it is to value and understand your customer, than it is just have a good idea. I know this may come off as common sense, but I always thought of entrepreneurship in a chronological order beginning with an idea and then ending with a customer. Now I see how beginning with the customer their wants, needs, and pain points is a much better route.

Thanks To These My Experience @UIowa
University of Iowa’s Venture School, Social Entrepreneurship Class with Joseph Sulentic, Entrepreneurial Finance class with Scott Hauser, and my new team Ellison startup company, JPEC,  & Hawkeye Innovation Summit

“Spring” Break

*Clicks Red, Sequined Heels* “I just want to wear shorts. I just want to wear shorts”
Well that didn’t work! It is still cold here, which is definitely not the best weather for my new high-waisted shorts from Four Seasons. Because it is snowing outside right now, on March 25th, I have to put my mind in a warmer place in order to keep my sanity! 

Spring Break was last week (yes! I know! It is supposed to be spring!)
All students including myself, had a week off from classes.

Like most other college students, hitting up the tropical islands or other warmer parts of the world are all very common destinations among Iowa students. I asked a few friends what they did with their spring breaks, check out the pictures below to see what some of my friends were up to!

As you can see my friends enjoyed the treasures of the United States and abroad, the beaches and the mountains,  while others enjoyed spas or conducted several hours of volunteer in-service hours making a difference! Some of them even received college credit. 🙂

If you wanted more information about the class that took two of my friends to Mexico. Here is the class number and class description. There are just so many opportunities to be had. #GoIowa

165:126 (ABRD:3352) International Perspectives: Xicotepec
Introduction to providing service to communities in underdeveloped countries through discipline‑specific projects to improve community life in Xicotepec, Mexico; cultural and professional preparation for team work in an international environment; service‑learning course in collaboration with Rotary International. Spring break in Xicotepec, Mexico.