Audrey LoVan: Department of Homeland Security


Written by: Miranda Schultz, Career Coach

What was she up to?

Audrey LoVan ’18 spent her summer interning for the Department of Homeland Security as a DHS-HS Summer Intern at the Argonne National Laboratory located just outside of Chicago, Illinois. Argonne National Laboratory is a non-profit science and engineering research laboratory operated by UChicago Argonne LLC for the United States Department of Energy. Here, Audrey worked in the Cyber Operations, Analysis, and Research division, researching new cybersecurity techniques and applications.


How did she find out about her internship?

Audrey found out about her internship through one of her computer science professors, Lydia Sinapova, here at Simpson College.


What strengths did Audrey show in her internship?

Audrey says that she was able to demonstrate time management and quick learning skills. “To be sure that my team got what we needed to accomplish and stay ahead of the game, we had to be sure we were hitting deadlines and staying on track to complete our research” she comments  about dealing with time management. With that, Audrey had never previously worked with cybersecurity. However, “through some personal research and learning, [she] was able to gain the basics of cybersecurity… [while helping her] team with [their] research.”


Why does Audrey feel it is important for students to intern?

Audrey commented, “This internship was an important opportunity and an excellent work experience. I got to experience what it was like to work in an office and in my field, giving me a better understanding of what to expect when I graduate and enter the work force.”


What is on the horizon for her?

Audrey hopes to broaden her work experience before she graduates. Audrey says that she “may try something else to get a broader perspective of [her] field.” Enjoy your junior year, Audrey; a bright future awaits you!

Speech & Debate remains undefeated in 2016 season.

With a 32-member team that included 22 first-year students, Simpson’s Speech and Debate team still was able to defend its Missouri Mule title last weekend.

Simpson’s 149 team points by far beat the other 23 schools in the competition with University of Central Missouri coming in second place with 111 points and Johnson County Community College in third with 78 points. It’s the second year in a row that Simpson has won the tournament.

Here’s a summary of the team’s individual highlights:

Novice Parliamentary Debate:

  • 2nd Place- Len Johnson & Linda Ramseur
  • 4th Place- Mackenzie Clayton
  • 5th Place – Samantha Hafermann

Open Parliamentary Debate:

  • Quarterfinalists Kelli Ruth &Pierce Carey

Novice Public Forum Debate

  • Semifinalists Lewis Cox & Evan Sand
  • 4th Speaker- Evan Sand
  • 5th Speaker- Lewis Cox

Open Public Forum:

  • Semifinalists Sarah Baker & Joe Howard
  • 3rd Speaker- Lydia Magalhaes


  • Dramatic Interpretation, 6thplace- Riley Brennan

It was truly a team effort by all participants at the competition. We congratulate these students on their tremendous successes.

Come to Simpson College STEM Day!

Come to Simpson College STEM Day!

Fall break won’t be spent at home for these students.

Most students eagerly wait for fall break to escape the hustle and bustle of the term to return home for a few days for some much needed R&R.

For a group of Multimedia Journalism and Public Relations students, heading home for fall break isn’t in the cards. They’ll be traveling to either Washington D.C. or Indianapolis to expand their knowledge, gain connections and fresh new ideas for their craft.

Multimedia Journalism students will be headed east to the ACP National College Media Convention from Oct. 20—23 held in Washington, D.C. For three days, students will be immersed in the largest annual gathering of college media students. Students will have access to 200(+) sessions with expert advisers and media professionals, media tours, pre-convention and workshops.


These students will hear from keynote speakers such as Donna Brazile from the Democratic National committee, Bob Woodward from the Washington Post, and notably, Edward Snowden from the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

The Public Relations Student Society of America students will be heading east but they’ll stop in Indianapolis. With a record number of PRSSA members in the past couple of years, this will be Simpson’s first time as a chapter taking six members to a national conference.


From Oct. 21—25, these students will attend the society’s most popular event in efforts to network, learn and develop professional skills.

PRSSA students will attend career tours with well-known agencies and corporations in the heart of Indianapolis, take advantage of resume critique, development sessions, and hear from top-notch PR pro keynote speakers.

To keep up with the students on this trip, follow the following ‘hashtags’ on twitter: #SimpsonCollege, #EditDesign, #PRSSANC, #ACPDC. Stay tuned to hear about our experience post-conference next week.

Megan Myers managing it all.

Everyone gravitates toward Megan Myers on campus. Not only is she a fun, up beat, positive individual, she also has a professional, down-to-business demeanor that is bound for success.

Myers, only junior at Simpson College, studying public relations and human resources, is involved and already holds a notable leadership position on campus.

As she is still trying to learn where her professional path will take her, Megan is a student professors have a pleasure of having in class. She is always willing to participate and she works incredibly hard to go the extra mile on getting homework done and preparing for each class and activity she is involved in.

Here’s a Q&A with Megan Myers and how the Multimedia Communication faculty and her tenacious attitude have led her to success at Simpson College.

Tell me a bit about yourself—what are your hobbies and interests?

I am originally from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, but I used to live in Portland, Ore., for eight years. I enjoy watching Desperate Housewives, snapping Polaroid pictures and going on crazy adventures with my best friend (also a Multimedia Communication student), Macie Heller.

What is your involvement on campus? Do you hold any leadership roles?

I am a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, as well was the vice president of our academic excellence and serving on our Panhellenic Council as the vice president of marketing.

In addition to my sorority involvement and leadership, I am the president of Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, where I run the meetings, keep committees on track with their projects and serve as the liaison between the group and the public.

What internship experience have you had and where?

This past summer I completed my first internship with Cambridge Investment Research. My internship was within the conference department, which focused heavily on event planning.

Could you explain what you were tasked with at your internship?

I helped plan their national conference, which had about 2,000 attendees. A lot of my other projects included working on the mobile app for the event, menu planning, attendee confirmations and planning a luncheon for Cambridge employees.

I even was able to attend the weeklong conference in Chicago with my team, which allowed me to network with people across the country which made me come to the realization that I love talking, connecting and working with people.

From your internship have you thought about a career path you want to take?

Coming into college I had an interest in becoming an event planner, however, I didn’t understand what that would look like on a day-to-day basis. Thankfully, my internship opened my eyes to what that it would look like.

I really wish I knew what my dream career was; however, I am still exploring the PR field and am not sure where I will end up. I do see myself in a bigger city working in a PR role in a start-up company,

Lastly, what made you choose Simpson College and the Multimedia Communications major?

I chose Simpson because it was the only school I visited that actually made me excited to come to college—everyone was so friendly and nice and there was so much for opportunity.

I didn’t think I would end up in PR but after searching around and looking up classes in the PR department, I decided to go for it and change my major from business management to PR.

I feel like a nerd for enjoying my classes and assignments, but it gives me a clear understanding that I am in the right field.

To keep up with Megan Myers, follow her on her Twitter accounts: @MeganMyers07, which is her personal account, and @MeganMyersPR, her professional account.

Mary B. Tinker Visits, Every Multimedia Communication Students Dream

Most Iowa natives know Mary Beth Tinker for her role in the 1969 Supreme Court case that gave students in the public schools First Amendment rights to engage in political protest.

Nearly a half century after she and others won that case, Tinker brought her Tinker Tour to Simpson College, where she told nearly 200 students at the Constitution Day event about the importance of using their First Amendment rights to be activists for social change.

Tinker said the world today looks much like the one in which she famously donned a black armband as a 13-year-old more than 50 years ago. All the violent protests, racial discrimination and corruption happening now were going on when Tinker was younger.

“A seventh grader came up to me and asked me she doesn’t like turning on the news because someone is always being killed or the violent protests are happening,” Tinker said. “I simply told her, what could you do about it? There is always something we can do about the situation.”

When Tinker put on a black armband at a Des Moines school in 1965 in support of victims on both sides in the Vietnam War, she said it was a way to spread peace and love.

But Tinker was suspended from her school for violating a school policy that was created specifically to keep her and others from wearing the armbands as a form of political protest.

Tinker and others appealed that suspension to the U.S. Supreme Court and won, but she says today that the case was less about winning and more about taking action — even if it conveys an opinion with which few or even any agree.

“I’ve been really fascinated with the ‘young’ brain—they tend to have levels of dopamine in which persuades them to take action on what they care about,” Tinker said. “We need kids to stand up for what they believe in and take the necessary action for change to occur.”

Many Simpson students took to the message from Tinker’s speech — that we should never be afraid to showcase our emotions and actions to what we believe in, even if our views are unpopular.

Learn more about Tinker by visiting, following @tinkertour on Twitter or e-mailing

World Language Immersion Weekend 2017: Save the Date!

The Department of World Language and Culture Studies at Simpson College is calling on World Language educators to save the date for our 2017 Immersion Weekend!

Held on the Simpson College campus on July 28-29, 2017, this Immersion Weekend will bring together World Language educators from middle and high schools all over Iowa to spend some time together talking about language and culture – in our target languages!

This year’s topic is: “‘Growing Up In…’: The Culture of Childhood and Coming of Age in Different Places and Time Periods.” The languages covered are French, German, and Spanish.

We hope you will be able to join us!


There’s Nothing Alex Kirkpatrick Can’t Do

Most students complain about having to juggle two hours of homework and keeping up with their favorite show on Netflix. Alex Kirkpatrick, however, is taking advantage of every opportunity that comes his way.

From his involvement with the speech and debate team, working his part-time position with KCCI-TV in Des Moines to serving as a copy and digital editor of the Simpsonian —there’s nothing he can’t do.

Although Alex is has it all together and has accomplished so much, he was unsure coming into college of what direction he wanted to take. Alex mentioned that he was never involved in anything news-related in high school.

With the help of the professors within the multimedia and communications department, Alex found his calling and was instantly inspired to become a journalist and continue learning and progressing in his academic and professional career.

Learn more about Alex and everything he does at Simpson College and within the Multimedia Journalism major through the following Q&A session:

Alex, could you tell me about yourself? What are your hobbies and interests? What do you do for fun?

I am a junior. I am from a small town called Indianola, Iowa (in the middle of nowhere). I enjoy spending time with family and friends and I also coach tumbling at the Indianola Tumbling Center.

What have you been involved with in your time at Simpson College?

I am involved with speech and debate, Model United Nations, Simpson Student Media, the Light Company, Simpson College Republicans and Simpson Writing Across the Curriculum.

Could you explain to me your job at KCCI and what your title entails?

I am a part-time digital editor at KCCI-TV in Des Moines. I curate, edit and publish news stories that come from police reports, the AP wire, reporters, online content and other news sources.

It’s a fast-paced environment in which I am learning constantly on how to be more efficient and effective with my writing. This position has also helped me with critical-thinking skills and news judgment.

Do you see yourself staying on with KCCI after college or are you looking for something new?

KCCI has a lot of employees who stay, whereas other stations usually have a high turnover rate. So yes, I can definitely see myself staying for a while. However, eventually I would like to move into a bigger market, but I’m already at the No. 1 news station in Iowa and that’s pretty cool.

What is your ultimate dream job?

Ever since seeing Ann Curry report in Darfur and the Middle East circa 2007, I’ve always wanted to travel and tell people’s unheard stories. My dream job would be similar to that—a foreign correspondent for a major news network.

Explain the impact of coming to Simpson College with your academic and professional career.

In high school, I had never participated in anything news-related—I took a video class and that was about it. Coming to Simpson, I didn’t know if I wanted to do broadcast or print media. However, the beauty of the Multimedia Journalism program is that it encompasses it all.

I think the Multimedia Journalism major at Simpson is ahead of the curve in terms of preparing students for a realistic job and equipping them with skills that are universal.

What do you like most about the Multimedia Communication department?

I love the feedback the professors are willing to give. If they sugarcoated criticism of my work, I don’t think I would’ve gotten very far. Their attention to detail is just what I need to improve any skill I’m working on whether it’s writing, editing, voicing, shooting video, etc.

Do you have any recommendations for prospective students looking to study at Simpson or within the Multimedia Communication department?

I would recommend researching a lot. Simpson prides itself for its convenient location and small class sizes. Truly, the academic programs are so expansive and the possibilities are endless. I wanted to major in Multimedia Journalism and French, but looking around, other colleges only offered one or the other—not both. Moreover, I researched alumni who have graduated from the program—I saw their professional works and decided I wanted to accomplish the same things.

High Hopes for Simpson’s New Mock Trial Team

Just a few months after winning its first national championship in debate, Simpson College is adding a mock-trial team for yet another chance for students to get involved.

The new team will have students working on fictional cases against other college squads. Each round, students will portray an attorney — by questioning witnesses, offering exhibits, making objections and even preparing opening and closing statements.

About 600 teams from 350 universities and colleges compete in the 25 regional tournaments hosted by the American Mock Trial Association each year.

“Mock Trial provides an opportunity for every kind of student to improve their speaking and advocacy. I stress this is the skill found in every career field,” said Tyler Buller, Simpson College’s new mock-trial coach.

Buller is building the legacy the larger speech and debate program has created in just a few years at Simpson. This year’s team goals are to build a strong foundation for the future, to develop critical-thinking and speaking skills for students and to become competitive in invitational and regional tournaments.

Students with majors ranging from political science, journalism, biology and even computer science can find success within the new mock-trial club.

Mock Trial students meet to prep for their upcoming invitational at the Calkins Invitational hosted by Drake University, Oct. 29-30.

Mock Trial students meet to prep for their upcoming competition at the Calkins Invitational hosted by Drake University, Oct. 29-30.

The team will participate in its first competition on Oct. 29-30 at the Calkins Invitational hosted by Drake University.

Simpson Debate Team Kicks Off New Season with Great Performance

Fresh off a national championship season a year ago, Simpson’s Speech and Debate team showed no signs of letting up this year, as the first competitive event proved.

Simpson took a commanding lead in Parliamentary Debate League of the Upper Midwest (PLUM) tournament, held on Sept. 27 at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minn.

This is a series of five, one-day tournaments held throughout the course of the year. Team points are cumulative.

Lydia Magalhaes & Kelsey Schott defeated Bethel University on a 3-0 decision to win the final round.  Kelsey was named top speaker at the tournament, while Will Seiler placed fifth.

Three of Simpson’s five teams finished with winning records — advancing to quarterfinal rounds:

  • Courtney Craig & Levi Lefebrue: Freshman Courtney and Levi win the Silver award at the (PLUM) 20.1 debate tournament.


  • Danielle Bates & Gable Johnson: Danielle and Gable won Bronze at the (PLUM) 20.1 tournament at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minn. Danielle was debate champion at last year’s Gorlok tournament in St. Louis, a mini-nationals competition. Gable Johnson, only a first-year at Simpson.


  • Lydia Magalhaes & Kelsey Schott: Lydia and Kelsey (PLUM) 20.1 tournament debate champions.