Forever True, For Iowa State

Reaching new heights

Jacob Gasper has dreamed of being an architect since age 11. He was inspired by his family’s holiday treks from Iowa to Chicago, where he was “blown away” by the city’s skyscrapers.

“My grandfather told me architects build them, so I decided then and there that’s what I want to be,” says the 2021 Iowa State graduate.

Jacob started prepping in high school, taking extra math and science classes. But when he arrived at Iowa State, he was taken by surprise: His first architecture class was drawing.

“I had this preconceived notion about what architecture is, but Iowa State taught me it was a lot different from that,” Jacob says. “Then I learned to love it even more.”

Jacob went on to win a design competition his senior year and was awarded the H. Kennard Bussard Scholarship presented by RDG Planning and Design. He was also instrumental in a special project arranged by Shelby Doyle, the Stan G. Thurston Professor in Design Build, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over two months in spring 2020, students used 3-D printers to produce 2,000 face shields needed by healthcare workers. The team partnered with Alliant Energy, which funded the materials and delivered the finished shields to hospitals across Iowa.

“The College of Design has a history of serving communities,” says Doyle. “I’m proud of how our students responded in this moment.”

Iowa State has long been a model for extending its expertise to improve quality of life. During the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, generous donors supported talent, facilities and projects that promise to elevate Iowa State’s presence throughout the world – all while remaining forever true to providing students with exceptional, hands-on learning experiences.

“I learned from the pandemic that you can respond in big moments with whatever skills you have and feel like you’re making a difference,” Jacob says.