Ashlee Hespen

Conrad, Iowa
What I Enjoy About Iowa State
There are so many things to love about Iowa State, whether it's the beautiful campus, the academics or the team spirit felt at a game. I'd have to say that the welcoming atmosphere is one of the greatest characteristics of ISU. Even before setting foot on campus for my first day of classes, I felt as though I belonged. I was greeted with a smile and was able to start conversations with people I didn't know, just because we had the Iowa State bond.
My Semester Abroad
This spring I was fortunate enough to spend a semester at American University in Bulgaria (AUBG). Located in Blagoevgrad, population around 80,000, I experienced an educational system completely opposite of Iowa State - from a public university of nearly 28,000 to a private university of just over 1,000. 
Bulgaria was the perfect place for me to experience a completely different culture during my semester abroad. It was interesting to see the modern life in the city; while just outside of town, people still used donkeys and carts in their agricultural practices. I gained a greater global perspective and met students from over 20 countries. AUBG offered me the opportunity to create lifelong friendships and memories, as well as the chance to travel and experience the world in a way I didn’t think was possible. Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! 
Apply for Scholarships
Applying for many scholarships has been a great benefit for me; I can attend school knowing that some of the financial load is taken off. The short amount of time it takes to fill out the paperwork has been well worth it. I'm a 2008 Hixson Scholar and a recipient of the Fred Foreman Scholarship for Growth in Leadership and Marvin B. Lind Scholarship in Rural Sociology, as well as various other scholarships. I'm extremely grateful for all the people who have made these scholarships possible.
My Involvement at ISU
I've been involved in many activities, including Collegiate 4-H and PSA Club. Another group I'm involved with is Relationships on Campus (R.O.C.), which is a newly formed student organization created to provide resources to promote healthy relationships on our campus. One of my favorite activities is playing the mellophone as a member of the Iowa State University Cyclone Football "Varsity" Marching Band. I've also been able to find work experiences, which have provided me with valuable experience that I will be able to carry with me throughout my life.