Madison Behney: UnityPoint Health

What is she up to?

Madison Behney ’18 is currently interning for UnityPoint Health Des Moines Human Resources. At UnityPoint, she works as a recruiter for a nurse hiring project created to directly combat the nurse shortage in the company’s system.


How did she hear about the internship opportunity?

Behney  learned about it from the Director of Career Development and Civic Engagement Bobbi Sullivan. “She ended up giving me the contact info of their recruiter, I emailed over my resume and cover letter and got a phone call later that afternoon that they wanted to bring me in!” Behney said.


What is the biggest takeaway from her internship/how will this internship benefit her future?

Working at UnityPoint Health has increased Behney’s organization skills. “When you’re talking to 50-60 candidates a day and keeping track of hundreds of positions it’s definitely important that you keep on top of things!”

This internship also allowed for Behney to venture out of her comfort zone, and because of this, she now knows that Human Resources and/or Recruiting is something she wants to do in her future.


What are her next steps?

Behney said, “My internship has been extended so fingers crossed they keep me around for a while!”





Graphic Design and Editing by Baillee Furst

Simpson Students Excel in Hackathon

Simpson students recently won first place at a hackathon at Iowa State. For more details, go here.

Fake News!

Heard enough of fake news? A new May term course named for President Trump’s famous phrase, will explore theory, criticism, and literacy strategy in the media.

The course will not only focus on politics, but how students can sift through what is real and fake news. Deano Pape, Instructor of Multimedia Communication, is a new professor this year who plans to bring a lot of his own experience in debate to spark student dialogue.

Pape says the class will be discussion-filled to help challenge students and get them talking about current events.

“The framework for this is going to be looking at what the notion of fact is. We are going to disrupt what we see as traditional news sources and what we see as credible. That’s really the focal point behind this.”

Pape wants the class to be student-driven with discussions from any side. He wants them to be able to form opinions on current events, backed up with supporting information.

“I think it’s important to know where students get their news information. Most of it comes from their Apple News, or whatever is in their news feed. They’ll look at it, and get as much information as they need but not delve deeper. That is what this class is designed to do.”

One of the required assignments is a fallacy file where students will take articles from several news sources and document and label them. Students will also be looking at different news sources and how they portray Donald Trump.

Ultimately, Pape wants students to be able to articulate positions in regard to fake news by the end of the course as well as discerning credible vs non credible sources.

“I want students to walk out of here with a working knowledge and confidence to know where their news comes from.”

Pape says if successful in May term, he would like to continue the course. It is open to register.

Best Ever Performance in ACM Programming Contest!

Simpson College had its best ever result in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest on Saturday Oct 28 2017. Our top team finished in 41st place in the region. Compared to other liberal arts colleges in Iowa, we finished behind Grinnell and Coe but ahead of Graceland, Buena Vista, Cornell College, William Penn, Luther, and Central.

For pictures and more details, see Programming Contests

2017 National Conference at Dallas

Communications students at Simpson are never short of opportunities to help them gain professional skills.

Last week, a group of five students traveled to Dallas, Texas with Professor Mark Siebert, for the annual ACP/CMA National College Media Convention. Students attended three keynote speaking sessions, and participated in other lectures catering to their specific areas of study.

Siebert said the conference was useful to students, who plan to use what they learned and help improve the student media organizations on campus.

“They go to sessions where they can learn something that helps them on The Simpsonian or ID Magazine or KSTM,” Siebert said, adding “Some of them are more specific to the student. It depends on what their area of interest is.”

Junior Emily Carey, attended for the first time and found one workshop focusing on her area of interest in the multimedia journalism field.

“One of the speakers I saw was a day in the life of a video journalist which is what I want to go into. It dealt with the multimedia side with photography and video editing, so I felt that it was helpful just seeing what kind of things they do in a day-by-day setting,” Carey said.

Jayde Vogeler, a senior and Editor-in-Chief of ID Magazine, went to sessions focusing on graphic design and photography.

“One of the most interesting sessions I went to was about interactive story forms in portraying writing into an infographic,” she said.

With the infographics, a 500-word story could be turned into something more visually pleasing and concise. “I think it could add to people’s profiles alongside their writing,” she said.

The students gained skills to take back to better student organizations. Carey’s time in an immersive journalism workshop taught her how using Google Street View can enhance a reader’s visual experience.

“We visited the Grassy Knoll and I took a 360o photo which was actually posted on the Simpsonian’s Facebook page,” Carey said. She added, “I would love to teach other journalism students what we learned from these conventions so we can bring it back to the Simpsonian.”

Siebert said this is a perfect opportunity for students to network with other students around the nation as well as professionals in the field.

Vogeler talked with a former Des Moines Register employee Charles Apple who now works for the Houston Chronicle, doing infographics and design. “I told him I was from Simpson College and he gave me his business card and told me if I ever needed anything to just give him a call,” Vogeler said.

Not only did students attend presentations, Siebert and senior Laura Wiersema presented on covering sexual assault and sexual discrimination stories on a small campus.

For students interested in a convention like this, Siebert said the best way to go is getting involved in student media organizations such as The Simpsonian, KSTM, or ID Magazine.

“Most of the people that go to the conference have been through practicum once. They don’t necessarily have to be a multimedia journalism major, but somebody who has been in one of the practicums so they can put the skills from the convention to use.”

Siebert said next year’s convention will be in Louisville, Kentucky.

Erin Magoffie: Congressman Trent Franks and Senator John McCain

Who did you work for?

This summer, I interned for Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-8) at his district office (in Arizona). I also interned for Senator John McCain (Senior Senator, AZ) at his Scottsdale office.


What did you do?

In both offices I did some secretarial work—tasks like answering phones and working with constituents via email. At Franks’ office, I got to work more one-on-one with constituents and I was able to really take my time to help out each individual without worrying about ignoring other incoming calls. At McCain’s office, the volume of constituents is a LOT higher and the number of calls/voicemails and the amount of mail we get everyday is UNIMAGINABLE. At McCain’s office, I felt like there was more going on; even though I was just an intern, I was NEVER bored. I was constantly doing casework, which is when a constituent opens an appeal towards a federal agency. So, for example, a veteran who is now having medical problems related to his/her service can appeal to the Veterans Administration to earn money to confer his/medical expenses. Most of McCain’s cases are for the VA (about 70% of all our cases). In fact, McCain has significantly more cases under his belt than most Congressional offices—we had to get updated computers this summer and we had to transfer over 100,000 cases!


What did a typical day include at your site?

A typical day at Trent Franks’ office was pretty simple. I was responsible for answering all the phone calls and helping with Military Academy nomination packets. I usually had some free time and I always used that opportunity to talk with one of the people in the office who have worked with Franks for 20+ years, or who have worked in DC for a long time. I was able to pick their brains and learn a TON about Congress and just Policy-making in general. I loved that time!

At McCain’s office, I was in “turbo-mode” as soon as I walked through the door. I usually started by answering voicemails and taking down constituent opinions (yes, we really do take down every opinion from every call), which usually took me about an hour, because as I deleted voicemails new voicemails would be created. I then started on casework for most of the day or I would work on logging and sorting the mail. Towards the end of the summer, my supervisor had me working on a special research project and so that then became my priority over casework. There was ALWAYS something to do at McCain’s office!


How did you find out about your internship?

I found out about my internships by just looking up “internships for political science majors” into Google. From there, I found out the application due dates and worked from there! They called me back for interviews in April and when I went back home for Easter, I was able to meet my supervisors in person.


Why do you feel the internship was/is important?

Oh, absolutely! I definitely think my internships were important. I learned SO MUCH this summer that I could have never learned in a classroom. I was able to apply what I learned in my polisci classes to real life and that was also very exciting! I was able to feel productive and benefit from my work as well. It also looks really good on my resumé to have both of these internships under my belt.


What are your next steps?

What are my next steps? I’m going to study abroad in Tahiti this spring and I hope to intern at the US Consulate agency there and maybe even a bilingual law firm. I’ve already reached out to these places, so hopefully all goes well! As for this summer, I’m considering doing work with environmental law, but I definitely need to do some more research into the options available before I commit to anything. I’m just excited to see what doors of opportunity these past internships will open for me!



Edited and Graphic Designed by Baillee Furst

Senior Spotlight: Alex Shier

Few Public Relations majors can leave college saying they were the director of a public relations firm or had as many internships and real-world experience as Alex Shier.

He can say it with confidence. The Simpson senior heads Simpson’s student-run firm, the C Street Agency, and will graduate this semester, planning to take a job after and continue his career in the public relations side of the music industry.

With many internships under his belt, Shier has experience in almost everything public relations, helping his marketability.

Through the internships, Shier networked with professionals (including meeting Shaquille O’Neal) and earned skills pertinent to the real world. He credits all of his experiences to connections he’s made through Simpson’s Career and Development office, Simpson PRSSA, and his Des Moines area jobs.
Read more of this week’s Student Spotlight to learn about Shier’s experiences while at Simpson.

What are your majors/minors?

I’m a Public Relations major with a Management Information Systems minor

 What has Multimedia Communication given you thus far?

The MultiComm department has given me a lot of creative freedom that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else. With a relatively small program and low student/faculty ratio, the professors let us dive into projects with loose guidelines to accentuate our creativity and critical thinking.

Have you had any internships?

I’ve had an internship with the 80/35 Music Festival, Media Fresh Records, Kuder Inc. and Miller Co. At these internships, I’ve run the gamut when it comes to marketing and communications. I’ve done web design & development, handled numerous social media accounts, worked with celebrity publicists, implemented SEO strategy coupled with robust Google Adwords campaigns, written press releases, blogs and bios, executed many email marketing campaigns, done seemingly endless market research and a tad of video editing & production.

What is your lifelong goals/future plans?

My lifelong goal is to manage high-level artists and their brands … Still waiting on a call from Kanye.

New York, New York!

May Term 2018 will offer more academic opportunities in Multimedia Communications as Simpson students get the chance to study in New York City.

Trips such as this one give students many opportunities to study communications outside of Iowa.

Brian Steffen, head of the department, said Multimedia Communication 161: The Media in New York City will prepare students for careers in Multimedia Journalism, Public Relations, Sports Communication and Interactive Media.

“We want to take our students to one of the world’s media capitals so they can see the wide variety of careers that await Multimedia Communication students there,” Steffen said. “By giving first- and second-year students priority in registration, we hope that those students can make and clarify their career goals and use their time that remains at Simpson to best reach those goals.”

On past travel courses, students have visited media centers around the world and made networking connections that are less accessible in the Midwest. Steffen says New York will be a great place for students to make connections such as these.

“We want students to know that Multimedia Communication is a versatile field with growing career prospects, particularly in media centers such as New York,” Steffen said. “Taking the students to the action is how we can best do that.”

When the Multimedia Communication course last visited New York City in 2010, students visited NBC’s Today Show, spending a morning wth then-host Meredith Vieira. They also spoke with journalists at the Wall Street Journal and New York Times; magazine editors at Hearst Media and Meredith Corp.; and sports communication professionals with the New York Mets.

In 2018, students will meet on the Simpson campus the first week of May Term 2018 to prepare for the travel course. They’ll be in the Big Apple visiting media sites from May 5-11 and will write a reflection paper about the experience on their return.

Steffen said the course is open to any Simpson student with an interest in studying Multimedia Communication. Once first- and second-year students have registered, any open spots will be available to upperclassmen.

Brooke Brommel: Principal Financial Group

What is she up to?

Brooke Brommel, a current Simpson College senior majoring in Computer Information Systems, spent summers working at the Principal Financial Group. She served as an intern during the summers of 2016 and 2017, and remains working for them this fall semester.

Brommel is a Business Analyst where she is able to research, document, gather business needs, and serve as the liaison between the business partner and developers.


What does a typical day look like at her internship?

A typical day includes a team meeting to discuss relevant information, meetings and emails back and forth gathering information for business needs and discuss current work, team collaboration throughout the day, and documenting everything.  Most days are not the same as the team is agile so they adjust to do what is needed – when it is needed.


How did she find out about her internship?

Brommel initially found out about Principal’s internship program through a family member who works with the company.


Why is her internship important?

Brommel said that this internship has been and still is very important – “it gave me real world experience in a career that I am interested in.  I got to learn things hands on, network with people, learn about new applications, and experience the corporate world. It also helped me to decide which career path I want to take.  I was able to take what I learned on the job back to school and apply it in classes as well as understand why the material I was learning is important.  Most importantly, it helped me to secure a job after graduation.”


Brommel is on track to graduate from Simpson in May 2018. Principal offered her a full time position as a Business Analyst upon graduation and she has accepted.



Graphic design by Baillee Furst

Public Relations Students to Boston

Simpson Public Relations students are improving their skills in the field on a national level.

Four students from Simpson’s chapter of PRSSA and the public relations firm, C Street Agency, traveled to Boston yesterday for the national PRSSA conference which will run October 6-10.

Simpson’s chapter sends people every year to bring back information used to better the student experience.

Sophomore Baillee Furst is a Public Relations major at Simpson who is a first-time attendee to the conference.

“I think it’s an important learning experience. This is because we gain a different perspective by learning from people outside of our normal circles and environment. It’s also nice, to see how PR works outside of companies not local to the Midwest,” Furst said.

The C Street Firm is a new concept for the Public Relations field here at Simpson, combining the past client work from PRSSA with an agency setting.

“Last year, we took a lot of important information regarding the methodology other schools used to start their firm,” said senior Public Relations major Alex Shier.

Shier is the C Street Agency’s director and hopes to bring back information to better the organization.

“We have implemented a good chunk of the advice given to us by successful firms from big, and small schools. Hearing from these students who have been in our exact position has been so helpful in making sure we set the groundwork for this firm’s longevity,” Shier said.

Attendees assure the conference will be a great way to build relationships with professionals in the field and gain knowledge about how to better programs at Simpson.