Senior Spotlight: Laura Wiersema

What do late Wednesday nights, constant writing, and too much time spent in Gaumer Center at Simpson College equal?

For Multimedia Journalism senior Laura Wiersema, it means being the editor-in-chief of The Simpsonian, America’s longest-running student newspaper.

Wiersema keeps the rest of her life in order while running around campus until the paper comes off the press Thursday mornings. Aside from the newspaper, Wiersema is also involved in College Choir.

Wiersma, who also is pursuing an Art minor at Simpson, is racking up skills while at Simpson to prepare for life outside of college.

Read this week’s student feature on Laura Wiersema and how she plans to use versatility in communications to take her to the next level.

What is your favorite memory studying with the Department of Multimedia Communication?

My favorite memory would have to be anytime I’m in a professor’s office. Whether it’s professors Lisa Carponelli, Brian Steffen or Mark Siebert, I know their doors are always open to help whenever I feel like my life is falling apart — which they always assure me it isn’t. When I’m excited or distraught or confused, they’re among the first people I turn to and always have the most sound advice to help me.

What do you feel Multimedia Communication has done for your professional growth and academic growth that you don’t believe you would have hadelsewhere?

I think, more than anything, studying in the MultiComm department has forced me out of my comfort zone and made me more decisive. It’s pushed me to try new things, even if I fail, learn from my mistakes and do better the next time. Another great thing it has given me, especially in terms of my professional life, is chances to network. Whether it’s connecting with Simpson alums in the Des Moines area while searching for internships or scoping out media companies during May Term in San Francisco, there are ample opportunities to get your name out there and rub elbows with media professionals around the country. Conferences for both journalism and public relations are great ways to connect with other students at schools big and small, find out what works for them and what doesn’t, and try it at Simpson College.

Internship experiences? Talk about what you’ve done or plan to do.

For the last year, I worked as a writing intern in the Simpson College Office of Marketing and Public Relations under Ken Fuson, a former journalist who’s won reporting and writing awards from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. As an intern, I created content for the Simpson College website and the Simpson Magazine, which is mailed to alumni, parents and college supporters every semester. One of my big projects was writing Simpson Success Stories

for students who graduated in 2017. While working there, Ken introduced me to nonfiction narrative writing which has quickly become my favorite way to tell stories. It’s rich and detailed and colorful and the story really feels like it comes to life in a new way. When I write, I want to write stories that I would also want to read. If I’m not interested in what I’m writing, the reader won’t be either.

Where do you want to end up after graduation or what is your life-long goal?

I’m still in the process of figuring out where I want to be after graduation, let alone life in general. Ever since I started working on Simpson Student Media, writing for ID Magazine every semester has been a passion of mine because I love feature stories. They’re long-form stories with personality and detail, exactly the kinds of stories I love. One day, I would love to be working in the magazine industry, whether it’s in a writing or editing position. At the same time, I think I’d love writing for an alternative newspaper like The Memphis Flyer or dmJuice.