Family of the Year

Each year, Parent and Family Programs at Iowa State University recognizes the contributions of an ISU family through the Cyclone Family of the Year Award. Awarded annually, this honor is for families dedicated to Iowa State University and the Cyclone family. Honoring an outstanding family reminds the ISU community that families are an essential part of the support network for our students. At ISU, “family” can be defined as individuals and group members who support their student's success. Family members include parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, extended relations, and close friends. The Cyclone Family of the Year members are representatives of all Iowa State families. All students are encouraged to apply. Click here, to fill out the application!


  • A commemorative award presented at Cyclone Family Weekend 2022 (October 14th-16th, 2022).
  • $250 ISU Bookstore gift card.
  • Recognition through a feature story in the Parent and Family Programs newsletter, Relatively Speaking, and posts on ISU social media platforms.


  • The Cyclone Family of the Year Award does not discriminate against non-traditional households. Family members include parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, extended relations, and close friends.
  • Applications will only be accepted from students currently enrolled full-time at ISU.
  • The family must have a member enrolled as a full-time student at ISU during the Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 semesters.
  • The family must have availability to participate in Cyclone Family Weekend 2022 (October 14th-16th, 2022).


  • Submit answer responses to seven (7) questions. Please limit each response to 250 words.
  • This application will close on April 25th, 2022 at 5pm.
  • All applications will be judged under strict confidentiality by the Cyclone Family of the Year Award Selection Committee. Nominations will be judged on their ability to convey the merit of your nominee's outstanding involvement in your life as an ISU student and evidence of their enthusiasm for ISU.
  • The family of the year will be selected and notified by June 1st, 2022.

Family of the Year Award Application Link: 




Congratulations to our 2021 Winner the Paulson Family!

The Paulson family members are parents Joe and Lori Paulson, along with their three daughters, Sonja, Serena, Christina, and her fiance, Andrew Guhin. Every member of this family attended Iowa State, as well as over 26 extended family members over 3 generations, starting in 1941. Various members of the Paulson family were involved in Sigma Kappa Sorority, Dance Marathon, Collegiate Panhellenic Council, Student Government, Varieties, Veishea, Cardinal Key, Winterfest, Fraternal Values Society, and the Cyclone Wrestling Club Board of Directors, among others. 


Joe and Lori met in Ames, married at a local church, and held their wedding reception at the ISU Memorial Union. They started and raised their family just blocks away from campus. Some of the Paulson family favorite memories include attending wrestling meets at Hilton Coliseum and football games at Jack Trice Stadium, watching and participating in the Veishea parade, and exploring the campus. As devoted lifelong Cyclone fans, the Paulson family is excited to receive this award that recognizes and honors their continuing dedication to Iowa State University.

Family Members in Photo (from left to right)           
Andrew Guhin (2018), Christina Paulson (2017), Sonja Paulson (2022), Serena Paulson (2019), Joel “Joe” Paulson (Alumnus), Lori Paulson (BS 1979, MS 1984)