Skip to Content

Fly the Flag Proudly

Posted on September 17th, 2013
IIHR students (l to r): Kumar Vijay Mishra (India), Daniel Horna Munoz (Peru), Zhengyang Cheng (China), Tibebu Ayalew (Ethiopia), Steve Browne (USA), Karl Brauer (USA), and Nicholas Thomas (USA).

IIHR students (l to r): Kumar Vijay Mishra (India), Daniel Horna Munoz (Peru), Zhengyang Cheng (China), Tibebu Ayalew (Ethiopia), Steve Browne (USA), Karl Brauer (USA), and Nicholas Thomas (USA).

Sitting at his desk in Room 207 of the Stanley Hydraulics Lab, grad student Stephen Browne is just a few feet from the student lounge. At lunchtime, if the door is open, he can overhear a buzz of conversation in multiple languages, while the aromas of exotic dishes from around the world waft by.

“I’ve never worked in such a diverse place,” Browne says. When he first moved in to 207 SHL, Browne was immediately struck by the diversity. The eight students who had desks in the room represented four different countries. Today, it’s seven students from five different countries.

The Oak Park, Ill., native says he has appreciated getting to know people from all over. His closest co-worker, Ali Firoozfar, is from Iran, but Browne says he has to remind himself of that, now that they’re friends. “That always leads to thinking how awesome it is that I am here in Iowa, working with a guy from halfway around the world, on a project that is being constructed in London, England.”

It occurred to Browne one day that it would be fun for each student to hang a flag from home on his or her desk. Without telling anyone, Browne went online and ordered mini-flags for all the residents of 207 SHL. Late one night after everyone else was gone, Browne hung a flag from each desk, creating a small and colorful alley of flags through the room.

It was a surprise to walk in and see the flags, says IIHR grad student Nick Thomas. The flags have been up for about six months now, and Thomas says the students have really enjoyed them. Browne, who recently graduated and is about to leave IIHR, says he’ll turn over the reins of the mini-flag project to Thomas or one of the other students. He hopes the tradition will live on.

“It’s good to be proud of where you’re from,” Browne says.

Tags: , , ,

Site by Mark Root-Wiley of MRW Web Design