An Adventure of a Lifetime

By: Zoe Seiler

I like my comfort zone a lot. I like to go to the same places, do the same activities and eat the same food. I never thought I would be the one to live in a foreign country for four months and take classes taught in another language.

But here I am sitting in my bed in Concepción, Chile reflecting on my first four days here and how I will be living in Chile until July.

I live with a host family who has been the nicest and most welcoming to me. My host mom is Ursula.  She works at the University of Concepción. My host dad is Eduardo.  He works at a bank. My host brothers are Gonza and Andé and both of them are college students. So far, my host brothers have been helping me to understand and learn more Spanish by practicing and by teaching me new words. Often Gonza teaches me new words after dinner.  So far I have learned new words for kitchen utensils and food.

I am studying at the Universidad de la Santisíma Concepción (The University of the Most Holy Conception). I am participating in the Spanish for Foreigners program. I will be taking five classes all related to Spanish language and Chilean culture and history. I am excited to learn more Spanish and improve my speaking skills. Right now, I still feel a little lost with the language, but I know it will get better.

I also met my buddy, Cataliña. Each Simpson student was paired with a student at UCSC to help with anything we need. Cataliña is very nice. I enjoyed talking to her today. She has helped me navigate the bus system and register my visa so I can get a Chilean ID card.

I had fun exploring downtown Concepción on our fourth day in Chile. The city is much bigger than Des Moines. Most people ride the bus and walk downtown. We went to the Mall de Centro for lunch. The mall is huge with at least three floors of stores and a food court with a lot of familiar options. The food court had Burger King, Subway, McDonald’s, Dominos, among other options.

After I got home from the university, my host family took me to get a new SIM card for my phone so I am able to make calls and text when not connected to Wi-Fi. After that, we went to la Playa Caleta Lenga. I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time and it was so big, blue and breathtaking. The view at the beach was amazing with the mountains and ocean. My host mom and I stood by the tide for a little bit. We ate dinner at a small restaurant by the beach. We had empanadas, a typical Chilean meal. They were stuffed with macha, crab, and cheese. Macha is a saltwater clam. I have not eaten much seafood, but the empanadas were very good.

My grandpa used to tell me to always try something new. I think he would be proud that I tried new food and am living in another country. I am excited for all of the new things to come in the next four months.


Josh Hof: Athene USA

Who did you work for?

Athene USA.


What did you do?

I worked as an actuarial intern on the model development and product development teams.


What did a typical day include at your site?

The exciting part of actuarial science is that there isn’t really a “typical day”. I have made enhancements in corporate model, on-boarded new products, assisted with pricing pension-risk-transfer deals, led team meetings, presented the results of my work to actuarial management, created tools to streamline processes, etc. 


How did you find out about your internship?

During my freshman year Rick Spellerberg helped me connect with Des Moines area companies. 

Why do you feel the internship was/is important? 

Internships serve as a gateway to full-time employment. A summer internship gives the company approximately three months to evaluate whether or not a candidate is fit for the position, and the student is also able to make an assessment on whether or not the career path/company is right for them. 


What are your next steps? 

I have accepted a full-time offer of employment from Athene USA in West Des Moines. Shortly after graduation, I will begin my career at Athene as an Actuarial Associate on the model development team. 


Graphic Designed and Edited by Baillee Furst

New York May Term

Simpson’s Multimedia Communications Department is preparing itself for another trip out of the Midwest.

This May Term, a group of thirteen students will travel to New York, along with Brian Steffen, the head of the department.

While in New York, students will have the opportunity to visit several places and learn about the big-city communications industry. “Will be going to eight locations over the course of five days,” Steffen said.

Currently, Steffen has booked American Express, Condé Nast and Two Sigma Ventures capital firm. Visits have also been confirmed at City University of New York and CNN.

Other places which are still waiting confirmation include CBS, Reuters News Services, Young and Rubicam advertising agency. Steffen is looking to get into Money Magazine and Etsy.

“We know what our students are interested in and are doing our best to connect with them and connect them with things they would enjoy seeing,” Steffen said.

Sophomore Tanner Krueger, will be going on the trip. The Sports Communications major is excited for the experience. “I am extremely excited to be in the city in general. I think going to see all the different organizations that are in a big city will be an awesome experience.”

Steffen said he created this course and carefully chose the places they will visit to cater to the individual students on the trip. He said he wants students to think about the possibility of a career outside the Midwest to see what kinds of jobs are available outside of the area.

“I want students to consider that they can make it anywhere,” Steffen said. “We want to have some fun, live the urban life for a few days, but have the students see some things that will help them prepare for the careers they’re interested in.”

Sophomore and public relations major, Blake Carlson, hopes he can receive a lot of benefits from the trip to use in the future. “I am hoping to gather information and gain credible experience about job opportunities on a larger scale.”

Steffen said there is still an open spot and any interested student is welcome to talk with him about registering.

Steffen said interested students can schedule appointments with him and he will choose to approve them. They can then go to SC Connect and approve.

What Happens in a Simpson C&G Class? MAGT 333

“Man, my co-workers are CRAZY!” It’s one thing to take a survey course in psychology or sociology and study the theories that define the behavior of individuals and groups in our society. Management 333 Organization and Behavior takes those theories and puts them into a context understood by all adult students … the workplace.

This course is a study of the behavioral aspects of life within an organization, examining individual and group dynamics and how a business is structured. Students gain awareness of the factors that lead to individual and organizational behavior, challenge their assumptions about group dynamics and learn problem-solving skills to address issues that might arise in a work environment.

Instructor John Walker, Assistant Professor of Management at Simpson College, brings a strong academic background in psychology and management to teaching this course, but also over 20 years of professional experience in all phases of administration and management. Walker is particularly interested in the intersection of human personalities and how they relate to organizations. Especially with the adult students in the class, there is real-time application for the issues Walker presents in class: “Students take the content from the classroom and apply it to their jobs the very next day.”

Group it Up

Teams … whether students love them or hate them, they are vital to a typical work environment. MAGT 333 carries a Collaborative Leadership designation, which means that for a good portion of the term, students will work in small groups toward a shared goal. They hone skills such as team building, delegation, conflict resolution, and effective communication in a project management setting.

The value of team focused research and presentations is that the class gets to evaluate issues such as the collaborative effect, the benefits of brainstorming and the struggles of group think. According to Walker, it is an opportunity for student to “focus on team level tasks and team level problem solving skills that are sought after by employers.”

C&G Management Major, Jenny Christensen says about the class, “I have learned an immense amount of different management methods and techniques … how businesses choose different organizational models and designs.”

It’s just another night of class in Simpson College C&G.

(photo credit: Andrea Biklen)