AMES, Iowa – Cap and gown in hand, Iowa State track and field senior Jayden Russ has gotten the best of both worlds. The steeplechaser from Brisbane, Australia will graduate Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He was one of a party of ISU student-athletes who celebrated their imminent graduation Monday at a reception held in the Hixson-Lied Athletics Center.
Russ, whose track season continues throughout the month of May, will head back to Queensland University in Brisbane to finish off an additional degree in accounting and finance.
Schools in Australia don’t field athletic teams. But Russ says that is far from the biggest difference between the university experiences in the two countries.
“The whole life experience is better here,” Russ said. “(In the United States) the students live together in the dorms and some move off into apartments. In Australia the majority of people live at home, heading directly to university after high school. You get to meet so many more people at a place like Iowa State. People take a real ownership of their school in the U.S. where in Australia you are always in the same circle of friends and are working to get in and out as fast as you can.”
Russ was a key man on Iowa State’s cross country team last fall and finished sixth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2007 Big 12 Championships. For the senior from The Land Down Under, the Cyclone experience has been a very positive one.
“It is definitely going to be difficult for me to go back,” Russ said.
Russ’ graduating teammate Elijah Braimah will be taking a job with Cessna in Wichita, Kan. Sprinter Jared Lewis will be a graduate assistant basketball coach at Wyoming.
Each individual received an Iowa State clock and had an opportunity to tell the audience about their future plans. All had stuck out their collegiate experience. At Iowa State, 93 percent of student-athletes who complete their athletics eligibility graduate. For all the participants, the evening proved a reminder that time flies.
“Time waits for no one,” said former Iowa State wide receiver Milan Moses. “I can remember coming to games to watch my brother (J.J. Moses) and college seemed so far away. I just picked up where he left off. It’s hard to believe I’m graduating Saturday.”
Each graduate will take a very American ownership of their Iowa State experience.