DAY 1/DAY 2 (britt)


The flight to Iowa was not bad at all. When I got to the airport I was greeted with one graduate mentor, Anna, and two girls that also flew in. Sophia, who would end up being my roomie, and Emma, my group member.



Sophia and I on the second day!

We all shared the excitement of what’s to come in the next few weeks during the 40-minute car ride to our new home and talked about Iowa’s main crop corn (which I got mixed up with Idaho’s crop potatoes). When we got to the apartment we met the rest of the group and headed off to dinner to meet the people in charge of this REU program. I finally met the main person I’ve been communicating with over email about REU, Amy, and the main person in charge of my group, Elliot, along with Stephen. After dinner, we went to Walmart to purchase a plethora of food. We told the other graduate mentor, Angelica, we’d only be at Walmart for 20 minutes. However, after we hit our 19-minute mark and I walked past a group with no food in their cart at all I knew we needed a time extension and Angelica was very nice to give us another 30-40 minutes. That night we unpacked and I decorated my room(yes I brought decorations) with lights and tapestries and all that good stuff. Then I settled into bed so that I was well rested for my first day of the VRAC REU program!

The first day was an exploratory experience. We were shown around the VRAC lab where we would be for the summer and got to see a few of Iowa State’s 160 buildings. We played Frisbee in a wide stretch of grass and got our id’s in a very fancy/castle-like building. From touring around Iowa state I learned that the campus is VERY beautiful and has a wide range of buildings.Some with modern finishes, some that look like they could be a really important government building, and some that look like they’re straight out of some 17-century medieval fantasy fiction book.

Our group picture on the Iowa State sign!

I was impressed, to say the least. We came back to the classroom to have an introductory discussion about the program, why were here and what HCI is. After that, we were dismissed and I went back to the room to change before my roomie, Sophia, and I made a run to Walmart.

We left the room at around 5:50 to make the 6:06 bus to Walmart but we made the mistake of waiting on blue north’s side of the street instead of blue south(which is the bus we needed) so when blue south drove past on its normal route we ran flabbergastingly trying to catch it. We failed. So then we waited about 40 minutes for the next bus to come and were on our way to Walmart. The Walmart trip was like any other Walmart trip; We grabbed Panda Express then were back on the bus. However, this bus ride was a bit more interesting. We were greeted by a friendly homeless man who serenaded us the whole ride with folk songs about some girl named ‘Sally’. I definitely got good Snapchats from that experience and when I talked to a grad student in our group about the experience she said she knew of him and he does this type of bus singing on the regular!

Overall, Iowa has proved to be an exciting place with a lot of opportunities for fun and learning! Can’t wait to see what’s next!

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