Iowa State Daily

I joined the Iowa State Daily student newspaper the beginning of my freshman year, September 2012. I have been covering the Iowa Board of Regents for two years as a beat reporter, became the assistant news editor for student life my junior year and now serve as the editor in chief.

At the end of my freshman year, I had the chance to write a six part series about human trafficking in Iowa. I loved digging into the issue and putting it into context for our audience. The series won first place in the regional Society of Professional Journalists award for investigative reporting series in 2013.

*photo credits: Iowa State Daily

Where the traffic stops

ruthandfamily.jpgRuth Buckels doesn’t tell her children she loves them very often, because, to some of her kids, love is a dangerous term.

The word love, Buckels says, could be a trigger to her foster kids whose previous guardians or biological family members told them, “I love you,” as a way to manipulate, abuse and even sell to a third party.

“They have to come to their own conclusion on what love is because most of my kids have been abused by the word love,” Buckels said. “I use, ‘I think you are incredible.’”

Buckels, 50, of Story City, started as a foster mom in 1988, and has since housed at least 90 teenaged foster children, in addition to raising four biological kids. Buckels was 23 at the time of her first placement. The first child placed with her was 13.

Flash forward to Nov. 14, when she officially adopted two more kids into the family, and she now has a combination of 19 adopted and biological kids, eight of whom currently live with her on her farm north of Ames.

Though Buckels loves all of her kids, one can’t go through 27 years of being a foster parent without a few bumps in the road.

Over her years of involvement in foster care, Buckels has had at least two teens swallow a handful of pills in an attempt to end their life, multiple who have tried to run away and some on whom she’s had to call the police. All of this occurred before she met any of the six who were at some point in their life trafficked into sex work. Of those six, five were sold to a third party by their own families, most of the time to pay bills.

“I don’t say, ‘I love you,’ because that could be a trigger for something one of their abusers or one of their traffickers said to them,” she said.

Read more

1. Human trafficking happens at home

human trafficking happens at home

2. Humans for sale: the issue of sex trafficking

3. Humans for sale: the issue of child trafficking

4. Humans for sale: the issue of labor trafficking


6. Humans for sale: the customers

Here are a few of my favorites from the past few years


Safeguard your identityOne hour is how long it could take for my identity to be stolen.

And that’s how long it took three graduate students to create a website facade that would allow them to see the password that could lead them to my social security number, my identity.

With today’s push in mobile technology, people may not realize just how much of their information is “out there,” said Kevin Scheibe, associate professor of supply chain and information systems.

“Identity theft is the big one now,” Scheibe said. “Can I open an account in your name? Can I somehow steal money that’s tied to you and not tied to me? It’s not an uncommon thing.”

Password protection is an issue that should be on the top of college students’, and anybody’s, priority list, Scheibe said. A matter he said some students don’t take seriously enough, especially with passwords to log into social media and email accounts.

Read more

Powering through

andreariderAndrea Rider doesn’t think about the life-threatening sticky mucus that clogs her lungs and shuts down her pancreas.

She doesn’t think about the fatal genetic mutation that makes her feel as if elephants are stepping on her chest, causing her to feel as if she’s breathing through a straw.

She has other things to worry about.

Like many other students, Andrea, freshman in meteorology, worries about chemistry exams, group presentations and applying for scholarships.

But she also has to keep up with her Cystic Fibrosis treatments.

Cystic Fibrosis is a life-threatening, genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. The genetic mutation causes a buildup of thick mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs, which keeps those organs from functioning properly.

The result is malnutrition, poor growth, frequent respiratory infections, breathing difficulties and eventually permanent lung damage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Andrea was diagnosed when she was 4 years old. People with Cystic Fibrosis are born with the disease, but Andrea’s doctors didn’t catch it.

“My mom and my dad knew something that wasn’t right,” she said. “I was really pale, super skinny, like a skeleton.”

Read more

Stafford’s shenanigans: ISU alumnus named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30

staffordFinding out he was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 while he was taking a shower made Ty Stafford scream like a little girl.

The day Stafford, 27, found out he was named one of the top young professionals in the country, he was taking a shower when his girlfriend burst in the bathroom screaming he received the honor.

“I screamed, of course. I was in shock,” Stafford said. “I screamed, ran around, woke up my friends and now my friends give me endless shit for sounding like a little girl.”

Stafford, an ISU alumnus and a lead content strategist for ad agency Omelet, was selected as one of Forbes’ 2016 30 Under 30 in Marketing and Advertising.

Stafford’s OCD tendencies, like ironing his boxers every morning in high school, may have jump started him on the path to secure the head content strategy position at a Los Angeles-based advertising agency he holds today.

Read more

Pawsitive vibes

comfortpetsTherapy can come in many forms. For Maggie Patterson, sophomore in anthropology, therapy is a playful, tail-wagging dog named Pippa.

Pippa is not a pet. The 5-year-old lab-pointer mix is an emotional support animal — one of two types of medical assistance animals that helps reduce an owner’s anxiety.

Patterson lives in Maricopa, a university-owned apartment. While pets are not allowed university housing, emotional support animals can live with students because they provide a medical service to the student.

In order for a student to own an emotional support animal in a campus residence, they must have documentation to prove they have a disability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the Fair Housing Act, allow people to keep emotional support animals in their homes as long as they have documentation of a disability and a need for the animal for therapeutic reasons as recommended by a qualified treating professional.

Student Disability Resources uses the documentation to make sure the animal is a need for the student’s health.

Patterson has had depression and anxiety for about seven years. She and her family always had dogs at home, but at college, Patterson didn’t have that constant support system.

“It was getting kind of overwhelming,” Patterson said of her lack of animal and family interaction. “I wasn’t going to class as much as I should have. I wasn’t getting work done that I should have. I knew that if I had an animal here, I’d just be doing better and she’s already proven to help that.”

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Coming out

comingoutHis hands shook uncontrollably.

His breathing was heavy.

He was trying to not get emotionally wound up, but he couldn’t help himself.

Adam Guenther, fifth year senior in animal science at Iowa State, was driving back to Ames from Omaha, Neb., knowing he was going to tell his mother he was gay.

“Oh, yeah, I was nervous,” Guenther said.

A drive that would normally take him two hours took him four because he was shaking so much.

“I had to keep stopping,” Guenther said.

Guenther was driving back from his internship in Omaha last summer. He was about to meet up with his mom to move into his Frederiksen Court apartment.

“She was checking into our hotel when I called her letting her know I was in Ames,” Guenther said of that August 2013 day. “She said to come meet her there and we would go to Frederiksen to pick up the keys and pulled her alongside and just told her. That’s how it went.”

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Student creates fundraiser for injured student, riot repairs

Veishea fundraiserAn ISU student created a fundraising page for the student struck in the back of the head by a falling light pole during April 8’s riot in Campustown.

Sarah Ashby, fourth year student in political science, created the page, titled “$5 for ISU & Ames: Veishea Recovery,” for students to donate $5 to support the city of Ames as well as the family of the student injured in the riot.

The family has asked that the identity of the male student not be released, but he is in stable condition in an ICU unit in Des Moines.

Ashby said she doesn’t know the student but heard he was injured via Twitter. Ashby said she created the website as a way to “give students a chance to redeem themselves.”

“I was so heartbroken and disappointed that something like this happened,” Ashby said. “It seemed like only negative things were coming out of this. This is my school. Ames is my home. The community doesn’t deserve that.”

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Fifty years a change

50yearsFifty years ago, if students wanted to go to watch a basketball game, instead of crossing Lincoln Way to Hilton Coliseum, they would head the opposite direction, to the Armory.

This is just one of many ways Iowa State has transformed during the past 50 years.

Francis Laabs, an ISU employee since 1966, said he especially noticed the technological advances and campus expansion during his nearly 50 years at Iowa State.

Hired as a storekeeper with ISU Printing and Copy Services in 1963, Gary Honeick has witnessed skyrocketing student enrollment, faculty additions and building relocation during his half-century stay at the university.

When Honeick arrived at Iowa State, basketball played in the Armory; the football team played near where State Gym is now; CyRide didn’t exist; nearly everybody went to the Memorial Union for a cafeteria style meal; and the Veterinary Medicine building was not so far away from Central Campus.

“Initially when I started on campus here, Vet Med was over in the Lago[marcino] complex,” Honeick said. “I remember going over there and watching them operate on horses. You had this big area around the surgery area [that’s] glassed in. It was pretty cool.”

When Honeick was first hired, the printing services was in Snedecor Hall, where the university computer was also housed. In 1968, it was moved to its current location north of campus near Ames Laboratory buildings.

In addition to building relocations, Honeick said one of the greatest changes in the university he has noticed is the technology usage.

“When I first started in 1963, [Snedecor Hall] was wall to wall computers. Computers took up rooms, floor to ceiling. And now [everything] is as big as your hand,” Honeick said. “It’s amazing how computers and desktops have changed.”

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