By Madelyn Ostendorf
When Colton Holdgrafer began at Iowa State University, he didn’t expect how far his impact would stretch.
“I hadn't realized how much my impact here could affect people not at Iowa State,” Holdgrafer said. “I think back at my club involvement, sitting down with prospective students and talking about my passions and interests, and I now realize that even though it feels like I was just having a conversation, that’s what being an ambassador is. It’s showing how much Iowa and Iowa State means to me and could mean to them.”
Holdgrafer, senior in animal science, is the fall 2023 recipient of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council Outstanding Ambassador of Agriculture and Life Sciences Award, which recognizes individuals who have become excellent liaisons between Iowa State University, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the greater community.
He started being active in campus life right as he came to campus in 2020, serving on his dorm’s house leadership cabinet, holding various positions in Block and Bridle, working the Bacon Expo, serving on the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council as a club representative and vice president. He also served as a teaching assistant for ANS 101 and 229, a peer tutor and worked as an AnCy Guide.
“There isn't a person that deserves this award more than Colton,” said Paige Jergens, president of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council. “I have known Colton since high school, and he has always been passionate and hardworking when it comes to all things agriculture. I have gotten to know Colton more this year as my executive team member. He continues to show that he will do anything for CALS and our Council members. He is super involved in CALS and a true advocate for the college as well.”
Holdgrafer spent two summers with Jackson County Extension as a summer program intern and one summer working for PEAK Genetics as a bovine sperm production intern. Though reproduction classes like AnS 331 are Holdgrafer’s favorite, spending a summer away from Jackson County Extension made him realize how much he enjoyed working in extension.
“After taking a break this past summer to try something else, my ‘dream internship,’ I realized that I did miss Jackson County and my time at extension and with the community there,” Holdgrafer said. “I knew I had to go back to extension.”
After graduation, Holdgrafer will be serving as Jackson County Extension’s County Youth Coordinator.
Holdgrafer’s advice for students is to make the most of their experience and lean outside their comfort zone occasionally.
“You never know what will happen, but just say, ‘Sure, I'll give it a try,’” Holdgrafer said. “No matter the results, you have a community of people willing to support you, so just be comfortable with getting uncomfortable.”