October 23, 2016

Iowa State University College Tour

Iowa State University College Tour
Todd Swank's Diary Update for October 23, 2016

On Saturday, we woke up at 4am to drive down to Ames, Iowa for a tour of Iowa State University.  That was a little bit too early to wake up on a Saturday morning.

Luke and Avery have each applied at 3 different colleges and we're trying to tour all 5 of them.  We have now been to the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Minnesota State Mankato.  Iowa State makes it number four so we just have to visit the University of Minnesota Duluth and we'll have checked out each of their top choices.   Unless something new arises.

I wasn't expecting much from Iowa State, but honestly they have been one of the most impressive schools of the bunch.  They are just really on the ball when it comes to responsiveness, marketing, organization, and making their tour extremely interesting.  Avery said this visit has made his decision much harder than he was expecting.

We bumped into one of their class mates, Andrew Fristad, who was  was also here for the tour.  We had lunch and did part of the tour together and just generally had a good time with one another.

We spent most of the day visiting the college of engineering.  They told us they have thirteen different majors in the college of engineering and after hearing about them, I wanted to go back to school and try each one of them.  I have such a greater appreciation for education now that I'm an old man than I did when I was seventeen and trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life.

Of course, we all got really excited when we heard about their VRAC or Virtual Reality Applications Center.  Seen behind us in this picture is the VRAC's C6 which is the world's highest resolution fully immersive virtual environment.  Inside the C6 is a room that is 10 feet by 10 feet by 10 feet in which all four walls, the floor and the ceiling, are projection screens illuminated from outside by high-resolution, interactive computer-generated stereoscopic images that provide an experience of total immersion in a virtual environment. Unfortunately, we didn't get to go inside, but I really, really want to go in there!

The Virtual Reality Applications Center, where dreams become simulations and simulations bring about reality.

The students who gave us the tour of the engineering school were really kind and passionate about Iowa State.  They showed us several interesting tools and laboratories including this one which had a water jet used to cut materials into interesting shapes.

Here's a great example of what one can cut with a water-jet.  I thought it was pretty neat.

After we were done checking out the engineering school, we took a tour of the campus.  It was a beautiful day and the temperature was in the seventies.  It's been quite awhile since I've lived in Iowa, but I'm pretty sure the weather is like this here year-round.

The tour guide told us this old water tower no longer holds any water, but is now considered a national landmark so can't be torn down.  Which is too bad because I was hoping to go saw off a couple of those legs to see what would happen.

Outside of one of the engineering buildings, there were several slabs of marble and if you looked at them the right way, you could see this butterfly.  But if you looked at them the wrong way, then they wanted to pick a fight with you.  So I was careful.

All in all, it was a beautiful campus and a beautiful day.  If either of my boys decided to go to Iowa State University, I would be downright proud of them.

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