Speech and Debate Success at Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament 2014

Simpson College Speech & Debate finished the season at the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament on Sunday, March 23rd.  Twelve students represented Simpson at this event.  Marty Feeney helped with coaching and driving!

After 95 rounds of competition, 12 Simpson College speech and debate team students competed with 72 colleges and universities (largest Pi Kappa Delta national tournament in 101 years) in seven different events and won 10 awards.


Public Forum Debate

After six preliminary rounds in Public Forum Debate, Simpson’s Paul Safford and Jacob McLain were the #1 ranked team in the nation.  They advanced through semi-finals to debate #2 Southwest Baptist University for the National Championship.  Safford and McLain lost to Southwest on a 2-1 decision to be named the National Runners-Up in Varsity Public Forum Debate.

Jacob McLain was named the 2nd Speaker in the tournament.  Ethan Fredrick received  the 5th Speaker award.   Jacy Gomez was the 8th speaker.

Ethan Fredrick and Jacy Gomez made it to the semi-final round in Public Forum Debate.

In Novice Public Forum Tegan Jarchow and Emma Kain finished preliminary rounds ranked 4th.  They faced #1 Southwest Baptist in semi-finals, but lost on a 3-0 decision.  Kiley Murray was named 5th Speaker, and Emma Kain 8th Speaker.


Student Congress

Robert Lyons placed 2nd in Student Congress Debate.


Overall the Simpson Debate Team who fielded only 1st and 2nd year students placed 14th in overall team points out of 72 schools nationwide.  (This compares to last year’s 21st place finish.)  Robert Lyons, Jacob McLain, Paul Safford, Michelle Beving, Kiley Murray, Emma Kain, Tegan Jarchow, Jacy Gomez, and Ethan Fredrick all contributed to this finish!


Simpson’s Speech Team debuted at this tournament for the first time in over two decades.  The duo improv pair of Lyons and Gomez ranked first in the first round, but struggled in rounds two and three.  Ellen Keyser would have competed in POI quarter finals if she had not been 24 seconds overtime in her third round.  The speech team was also represented by Emma Kain, Melissa Belau, Tegan Jarchow, and Ethan Fredrick.


Fun Fact #1: Simpson College was one of the first Chapters to join Pi Kappa Delta in 1918.  In 1922, Simpson College hosted the Pi Kappa Delta tournament in Indianola.


Fun Fact #2:  Simpson’s public forum debate team won every tournament entered this year (Indianapolis, West Virginia, St Louis, and Kansas City) with the exception of PCSDL Nationals and PKD Nationals.  At these two tournaments, Simpson ranked 2nd.

Fun Fact #3: Speech and debate competition includes all divisions of colleges and universities. No division breakdown like in athletics. So we competed against large school speech and debate scholarship students.

Not so Fun Fact #1: McLain and Safford (5-1) and Gomez and Fredrick (4-2) ranked 1st and 4th after six rounds. Unfortunately in the same bracket the higher seed moved to final round. Otherwise Simpson College could have closed out final round at a national tournament.

2014-2015 Speech and Debate Kick-Off

The Speech and Debate team kicked off a busy year with a team-building retreat at Wesley Woods on Thursday. With over 35 new students joining the team this year, it was important to Coach Spencer Waugh and the returning members to take some time away from the research and preparation for events to learn Debate Retreat Ashley Gomez Ethan Fredricksonmore about each other.

About 40 students gathered together for a high ropes course, zip-lining, and wall climbing and repelling during the retreat. The students were able to develop stronger relationships by serving asDebate Retreat Alex Geren coach and cheerleader for each other as well as providing belay and support service on the ground.

The focus of all three coaches is on academic excellence and preparation for the future. Speech and Debate are activities which can contribute highly to a student’s future success. Students develop the ability to think critically and quickly in a fairly high stress environment. Coach Waugh explains,

“All of the students who participate will be able to present themselves in job and graduate school interviews as articulate, poised individuals who can easily handle the tasks set before them.”

The team plans to attend 13 national tournaments this year to participate in events in both speech and debate. They will travel to locations in Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia. Coach Waugh is joined this year by Head Speech Coach Marty Feeney (who has also served as an instructor in the Communication and Media Studies department for a number of years) and Matt Delzer who will serve as Assistant Speech & Debate Coach. Matt comes to use from Ripon College where he served as Assistant Coach.


2013-2014 Academic Year Awards


Indy Forensic 500 in Indianapolis:Debate Teams at Indy Forensic 500
  • Ethan Fredrick was named the 2nd best speaker at the tournament in a field of 54 speakers.
  • Tyler Millard placed 5th in After Dinner Speaking.
  • Ashley Gomez was 4th best Novice in Impromptu.
  • Kiley Murray placed 8th in Extemp.
  • Tegan Jarchow 2nd best Novice in Prose
Parliamentary League of the Upper Midwest’s tournament at Bethany Lutheran in Mankato, MN:
  • Simpson College topped Bethany Lutheran in overall team points
  • Duo Paul Safford and Dana Bohan placed second to Bethany Lutheran
  • Ethan Fredrick was named top speaker
  • 3rd place speaker was Paul Safford
  • 7th place speaker was Jacy Gomez
Marietta McDonnell Tournament in Ohio:Simpson Debate
  • Simpson College won the overall tournament
  • Team Ethan Fredrick and Jacy Gomez finished the tournament with a perfect 7-0 record in Parliamentary Debate.   In the championship round, Fredrick/Gomez defeated Grove City College on a 3-0 decision.
  • 2nd place in overall team points
  • Ethan Fredrick was named top speaker
Bulldog Battle at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN:
  • Simpson College won both the Public Forum Division and overall sweepstakes in Public Forum Debate.
    • Jacy Gomez and Robert Lyons were the top debate team and were named 1st and 2nd speaker respectively in the event
  • In their first ever entry into the Parliamentary Debate event, the team of Jacy Gomez and Paul Safford ranked 4th after preliminary rounds.  They lost to Purdue University in the quarter-finals on a 2-1 decision.
    • Jacy was named 8th speaker in Parliamentary Debate
  • Emma Kain placed 5th in Novice poetry

Simpson Debate and Speech team at Butler Battle January 18 2014

Missouri State Collegiate Forensic Tournament in Warrensburg, MO at UCM:

Jacob McClain, Jacy Gomez, Tegan Jarchow and Paul Safford won awards at the Missouri State Collegiate Forensic Tournament

  • Simpson College Debate Team won the tournament in Public Forum with a combined record of 12-3
    • Jacy Gomez and Paul Safford defeated Southwest Baptist University on a 3-0decision to win the tournament.  They were named 2nd and 6th speakers at the event.
    • Tegan Jarchow and Jacob McClain defeated Northwest Missouri State on a 3-0 decision to advance to semi-finals.  Jacob McLain was named 3rd speaker.



Simpson College joined The Parliamentary League of the Upper Midwest (PLUM) this past fall, and we competed in three of their five day-long tournaments.


On Tuesday, March 5th the Parliamentary Debate Team of Tegan Jarchow, Paul Safford, and Jacy Gomez defeated Bethany Lutheran on a 3-0 decision to win the final PLUM tournament of the season.  In the final round the students debated the merits of streamlining the US military.  They had 15 minutes to prepare the topic.


Colleges and universities were then ranked based on the results of all 5 tournaments.  Below is a cumulative summary of team standings with the results of all 5 PLUM events:

Team Points

  1. Bethany Lutheran College 86
  2. St. Olaf College 77
  3. 3.       Simpson College 69
  4. St Cloud State University 29
  5. Ripon College 15
  6. South Dakota State University 6
  7. North Dakota State University 3


In a field of 44 speakers, Simpson received THREE of the top ten best speakers of the entire season: 3rd Jacy Gomez, 8th Tegan Jarchow, 9th Ethan Fredrick



2012-2013 Academic Year Awards

2012-2013 Academic Year Awards

Pi Kappa Delta recognized the Simpson College team of Jacy Gomez and Ethan Fredrick as the top team in the country based on preliminary rounds.  Courtesy of Pi Kappa Delta, you can see the final showcase debate here: http://vimeo.com/66328433

  • CPF National Championship.
  • Team Sweepstakes at Butler University.
  • Webster University Gorlok Gala in St. Louis.
  • Debate Sweepstakes award at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament.

Using the TPACK Framework to Enhance Literacy Instruction

In the world of literacy there is great debate surrounding the transition from book-print to text-print.  The argument questions whether students require an entirely different set of skills to acclimate to online reading and comprehension that are different from those skills used when reading traditional print.  While both sides of this debate have merit, the proposed study will look into the broader realization that reflects the need for K-12 students to explore living and learning in a digital world.  Studies that focus on the impact technology has on motivation, academic achievement, ESL inclusion, and phonics/phonemic awareness development have been conducted; however, they are still relatively new in regards to the growing nature of technology.

With support from a Simpson SUSI grant, Dr. Kate Lerseth, Associate Professor of Education, and Emily Lane, an Simpson College junior, studied struggling readers’ motivation to read and the comfort level pre-service teacher candidates have with using technology as a teaching tool.

Kate and Emily presented their research at the 2014 Iowa Reading Association ESEA Title I Conference.  This conference attracts current teachers, administrators, AEA personnel, and college faculty from the Midwest.

First Math Club Meeting

The first Math Club meeting of the academic year will be September 15, 2014 in Carver 340.  We’ll elect the remaining officers, discuss upcoming events, and brainstorm activities and goals for the year.  If you are unable to attend, but would like to be added to the Math Club email list, contact Math Club President Taylor Gehrls.

Image from www.ccc.edu

Athene – Summer 2015 Actuarial Internship Opportunity

Next Wednesday, September 3, Simpson College will be hosting an employer site visit from Athene.  Athene is an annunity and life assurance company with a large office in West Des Moines.  Representatives on campus will be interviewing students for their Summer 2015 Actuarial Internship program.

Applications are due this coming Monday, September 1st at 11:59p.m.

Contact Bobbi Meyer or Rick Spellerberg for more information

Tomorrow: Book reading and signing by WLCS professor Mark Bates at Dunn Library!


The WLCS Department reminds you that Professor Mark Bates will be reading from his recently-published book With Arms Wide Open: Stories of Nicaragua tomorrow (Saturday, August 23) at Dunn Library on Simpson’s Indianola campus, from 1:00-3:00pm.

Curious about the book? You can read a little bit about it here.

Drop by to hear excerpts from the book and to get your own signed copy! We look forward to seeing you there!



August 2014

We’re Moving!

Ankeny Campus Rendering

You may have already heard the news that the Ankeny campus is moving to a new location in the Prairie Trail Development this fall. We are very excited for this move as it will provide an advising and welcome center, five classrooms, a conference room, and computer laptop stations. The new space will be utilized by students and faculty during the evening and is available for meeting and event rental during business hours.

According to Simpson College President, Dr. Jay Simmons, “The move is responding to demand for more space and for the reality that people earn better when they have a bachelors degree. Only 25% of Iowans currently have an associate or BA degree, representing a serious gap between demand of employers and supply of degreed candidates. Given the growth of Ankeny, the timing is perfect. We are excited to be Ankeny’s liberal arts college.”

The campus, located at 1450 SW Vintage Parkway, is currently under construction and is quickly coming together. Classes will be held in the new space before the start of Term 2 in October.

We invite you to check out our new digs on Tuesday, October 28 for an open house and Simpson Speaker Series event featuring James Autry and Sally Pederson (see additional details below).

Famous Iowans Will Speak at Ankeny Open House

James Autry and Sally Pederson

James Autry and Sally Pederson

We are delighted that James Autry and Sally Pederson have agreed to offer their insights on leadership as part of our fall Simpson Speaker Series at the new Ankeny campus on Tuesday, October 28th. This event will also be an open house for the public and the Simpson Community to tour the new Ankeny campus.

James Autry is the former president of Meredith Corporation and the author of several books including The Servant Leader: How to Build a Creative Team, Develop Great Morale, and Improve Bottom-Line Performance. His wife, Sally Pederson was Iowa’s 45th Lieutenant Governor from 1999-2007. Prior to her time in office, she helped found The Homestead, a living and learning center for Iowans with autism.

Please  join us for hors d’oeuvres and networking with friends and colleagues at 5:30pm, followed by an engaging presentation at 6:00pm. The new Ankeny campus is located just east of State Street at 1450 SW Vintage Parkway.

This is a great opportunity to visit the new Ankeny campus, network with the Simpson community, and hear two of Iowa’s most inspiring and motivational speakers.

Autry and Pederson book coverThe couple will be available after the event for a book signing with copies of their newest publication, Choosing Gratitude 365 Days a Year.

RSVP by calling 515-309-3099.


Two-Credit Courses Now Available

In response to community interest, we have recently begun adding two-credit courses to the Continuing & Graduate schedule. These courses offer a flexible, affordable option for community members and alumni to take coursework relevant to their career or passions for professional development purposes.

Two-credit courses offered this year include:

  • Personal FinanceEvening Weekend & Graduate Student in Classroom
  • White Collar Crime
  • Extreme Weather
  • Digital Technology

If you or someone you know would like to register for one of these courses please sign up online.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Katherine Willcox

Katherine Willcox fam photo

Katherine Willcox graduated Summa Cum Laude with honors and has been inducted as a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society. She is an officer of Alpha Sigma Lambda, a member of National Association of Professional Women, recipient of Simpson’s Thirty over 30 Award, and a single mother of two teenagers. We hope you will be as inspired by her story as we are.

SC: You are very involved in your community. Tell us a little bit about what motivates you: 

KW: My inspiration comes from helping others achieve a goal whether it seems small, like a meal for a hungry child or large like realizing homeownership for the first time. My employer is wonderful about encouraging employees to be active in their community. There are regularly sponsored Habitat for Humanity builds in the greater Des Moines area, plus a current five-state homebuilding initiative within our region. My additional volunteerism usually begins with bank sponsored events or through church. One of my favorites is Wildwoods Hill Ranch for all that they do for kids. Other charities I support include The United Way, The Freestore, YESS – Youth Emergency Services & Shelter, Easter Seals, Meals from the Heartland, and Goodwill Industries.

SC: Many of our students are parents; do you have advice or words of encouragement for parents working for a degree?

KW: Like many adults, the idea of going back to school was daunting. I had not taken a course in years. I was worried that I would be lost jumping into junior level courses so I retook a basic course for no credit. I found it was not hard to work it into my busy schedule, so I signed up for two courses the next semester. I was amazed that I could keep up with two. So, hey, I signed up for three courses the next semester. Okay… so I am an admitted overachiever.

SC: Was there anything specific that prompted you to finish your degree?

KW: I had always intended to finish my undergrad degree at some point, but I really wanted to be out of school before my oldest son went to college. My advice to anyone who wants to go back to school is similar to having kids – there is no “best” time. You can plan for it, but the perfect day may never come. If it is something you want, then jump in with both feet. If you make mistakes along the way, learn from them and move on. Consider it part of the process rather than letting them defeat you.

SC: How has your experience at Simpson impacted your life?

KW: My time at Simpson gave me relevant knowledge and the courage to engage colleagues on a more professional level. I was painfully shy of public speaking. I am grateful that Simpson forced me to face those fears and become proficient at getting a message across in a group setting. Additionally, it allowed me to set a great example for my children – learning is a life-long experience and you are never too old to improve yourself.

Continuing & Graduate Programs Installs Alumni Board of Directors

The Simpson College Alumni Office is excited to announce the establishment of the Continuing & Graduate Alumni Board of Directors.  This board is charged with serving the Continuing & Graduate alumni community while fostering lifelong connections with one another and with Simpson College.

Current board membership includes:

Susanne Gerlach ‘07, President

Sarah Davitt ‘11

Ann Powell ‘13, Secretary

Jessica Hazelton ‘13

Howard Berger ‘12

Renee Parsons ‘12

April Betzer ‘09

Drew Primrose ‘08

Lori Card ‘10

Katie Truetken ‘12

Katie Craven ‘12

We are looking to expand our board by 11 members.  If you, or somebody that you know, may be interested in serving on the Continuing & Graduate Alumni Board of Directors, please contact Andy English, Director of Alumni Relations at andy.english@simpson.edu for more information or complete the nomination form at http://simpson.edu/alumni/alumni-nomination/.

Take Advantage of Career Services

  • Need to have your resume updated?
  • Wonder what employers  are looking  for in your resume and cover letter now?
  • Having problems navigating the online application process?
  • Honing your interviewing skills?

The Career Services team at Simpson is a staff of experienced career professionals eager to provide you with the guidance and resources  to answer your questions and meet your career development needs.  Career trends and  employer demands change constantly, which creates challenges for the job seeker in this competitive market.  Our team works with employers and is active in organizations to remain current as well as meet the needs of students and alumni of all ages, experience, and majors.

Give us a call at 515-961-1667 or email us at careers@simpson.edu – we’ll meet with you at your campus or in our offices in Indianola.

Jennifer, Bobbi, Laurie and Ann welcome you to Simpson College Career Services; we provide guidance in the career planning process and assist with all aspects of internship, job and graduate school searches.

Jennifer, Bobbi, Laurie and Ann welcome you to Simpson College Career Services; we provide guidance in the career planning process and assist with all aspects of internship, job and graduate school searches.

Ann Greubel, Administrative Assistant
Laurie Dufoe, Career Counselor
Bobbi Meyer, Internship Coordinator
Jennifer del Pino, Director

Join us for these upcoming events:
Speed Practice Interviews:  October 20th, 5:30 – 9:00 p.m., Hubbell, Kent Campus Center, Indianola

Graduate School Fair: October 22, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Hubbell, Kent Campus Center, Indianola

Business & Communications Fair:  October 29th, 12:00 – 2:00 pm., Hubbell, Kent Campus Center, Indianola

Parenting Habits Around the World

“If there’s one thing Tiger Mothers have in common with those bringing up Bébé, it’s that they both show us just how varied parenting styles can be.”

“Argentine parents let their kids stay up until all hours; Japanese parents let 7-year-olds ride the subway by themselves; and Danish parents leave their kids sleeping in a stroller on the curb while they go inside to shop or eat.”

“Some global parenting styles might make American parents cringe, but others sure could use a close study. Vietnamese mothers, for instance, get their kids out of diapers by 9 months.”

These kinds of variations between different cultures represent exactly the kinds of topics that we address in our classes in the Department of World Language and Culture Studies!

Check out the full article on npr.org!