I am more than a kid from Ames


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Austin Graber

My name is Austin Graber and I am currently a junior studying Business Economics and Political Science. I am from right here in Ames, Iowa, but I went to a small school just north of Ames called Gilbert. I grew up with my Mom, Dad, my older sister (an Iowa State graduate) and my brother (freshman at Iowa State).

Growing up, sports was a huge part of my life. I played almost every sport under the sun and went to all the Iowa State athletic events that I could.

I have always been extremely competitive and have always loved working as a team from a very young age. In high school, I played baseball, basketball, football, and ran track. Other than sports, I became involved in Family Career and Community Leaders of America and served as the State President, was the President of Junior Rotarians, Student Council, was in Jazz and Concert choir, plays and musicals, and played in the band.

I never thought of anything I did as overwhelming or stressful because I just enjoyed people and being around people in different settings through various activities. Seeing each and everyone’s niches really drove me to want to help everyone succeed in their specific role. I think through my various experiences I have seen the importance  of working as a team and being goal driven.

I do what I do to thank others and help others get to where they want to go. I believe I have been blessed with a lot of opportunities that a lot of other people haven’t had. I believe it’s my duty to use the opportunities to raise others up and help everyone get to where they ultimately want to be. I think my family has really instilled this into me in always making sure we are using our talents and gifts to lift others up.

Student Government has given me a platform to help lift others up and really help make the Iowa State experience the best it can be for everyone. I love getting to hear the unique stories of my classmates and getting to be a part of the next chapter in their story is why I am looking forward to serving as Student Body President for Iowa State University.

I lead by example and by being a team player. I think that in all of my leadership roles I have always taken a teammate approach. I believe this is the best way to lead because people will want to work with and also help you more as a teammate. I think I learned this early on in sports, but it has really transformed how I interact with everyone today. I believe my approach is unique because a lot of people think of a leader as someone in front of the pack, when I prefer to be among the pack.

Looking at the end goal in everything I do helps me overcome obstacles. I am definitely a big picture thinker when it comes to tasks and always looking ahead. When an obstacle occurs, I just look at what I am trying to achieve and that helps me overcome the current obstacle and really drives me to overcome it as well. I also enjoy embracing the obstacles and the tough times because when I do overcome the obstacles and reach the end goal, I appreciate it a lot more.

I want my legacy to be someone who truly cared about everyone that I interacted with and that I made a positive impact in everyone’s lives I’d encountered. I think that’s a really big goal, but through cherishing every little interaction I’ve had with people and really understanding  putting others first is crucial will definitely help tremendously.

Inclusivity to me looks like everyone is embraced and set up to succeed and achieve whatever they are trying to. I think too many times we look at inclusivity at just including others. To me inclusivity is a step further. Reaching out to others and helping them along their journey or assisting them in getting to where they want to be is inclusivity to me.

Don’t forget your roots and where you came from. Your past experiences and journey are what got you to where you are. If you forget that you lose everything you worked for. Those past experiences and insights will help you in your role of leadership and in everything you do. Too many times we look to the future for answers when you can easily look to the past for the solution.

I am more than a kid from Ames.