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.

Allie Karpurk: United States Senate

In the spring of 2017, I had the opportunity to intern for Senator Ernst in her Washington, D.C. Office through Simpson’s Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP). CHIP allows students to spend the semester in our nation’s Capital interning for academic credit while living and taking classes on the Hill. In the office I worked alongside numerous interns, corresponded with constituents, attended briefings for legislative aids, and led engaging tours of the capitol.

When I decided to participate in CHIP, I applied to about fifteen internship sites in Washington, D.C., including both Iowa Senators.  I heard about the internship from my advisor Kedron Bardwell, who corresponded with a Simpson Alum who works in Senator Ernst’s Office presently.

Working in the Senate provided me with the ability to handle multiple tasks at once. There were some very busy days, and being able to complete your projects to the best of your ability in a time efficient manner was crucial. In addition, this internship presented me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge of the legislative branch and helped build connections beneficial to my future career.

My word of advice to all Simpson students is to take advantage of the resources and opportunities available during your undergraduate career. When seeking an internship, both my advisor Kedron Bardwell and Bobbi Sullivan in the Career Development Office aided me in my search. Internships present students with desired field experience in their undergraduate careers. An internship can be what sets you a part from others on applications for future jobs and graduate programs. The goal in college is to learn as much as possible in your time spent here, right? An internship is a guaranteed learning experience. Regardless of the field, I promise this is a decision you will not regret.




Written by Allie Karpurk

Graphic designed by Baillee Furst


At the Simpson Youth Academy we believe that young people have power and gifts that are essential for the healing of the world, not just in the distant future, but now. Grounded in the Christian tradition and utilizing resources from the United Methodist Church, we are an ecumenical community of youth and adult mentors who explore deep faith-related questions and take action, in order to equip youth to live into their callings as agents of peace and justice in the church and world.

The Simpson Youth Academy’s Three Components:

(1) The Summer Residency:

In the summer of 2018, SYA gathers a diverse group of rising high school juniors and seniors for a ten-day community experience of Christian theological education on Simpson’s campus. Through worship, service, and reflection, we want to help you ask difficult questions about God and explore different ways to answer them. The Residency will give you an opportunity to learn alongside current Simpson College students as well as college professors.

(2) Ongoing Mentoring:

For nine months following the Residency, you will be matched with a local pastor or community leader with whom you meet regularly for a year, continuing to be supported and challenged in your faith journey. Likewise, through online and in-person reunions, you will continue growing and learning with your peers from the Residency.

(3) Year-end project:

In the spring of 2019, you and your and your local mentor will plan and implement a project related to worship or service, aimed at making a real impact for good in your own community.

Click the tabs on the left of your screen to explore more details about SYA!

If you want more information about the Academy, or would like to receive updates about the application process, please contact program director Eric Rucker at 515-961-1406 or

Listen to an interview with the program director about SYA here:

Or check for updates at:

The Editor-in-Chief

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.

Galen Gist: Des Moines University

What is he up to?

Galen Gist ‘18 is pursuing a biology major with a minor in ethics at Simpson. This summer Gist helped conduct research for Des Moines University (DMU). He first heard about the Des Moines University Summer Research Program from an information session put on by the science faculty at Simpson. Gist proclaimed, “I knew DMU would be a great fit since I could get involved in research while also having the ability to stay around Simpson for summer football practices and lifting.”


What does a typical day include at his internship?

A typical day for Gist included waking up at 5 AM for lifting with some of his football teammates. He then proceeded to eat breakfast and had a 20 minute drive to Des Moines. Gist’s goal was to try to complete an experiment by lunchtime in order to analyze the data later that day. He would then head home around 4 PM to make dinner, relax, or go to (player-led) football practice if it was held that evening.


What has been his favorite aspect of the internship?

According to Gist, his favorite aspect of the internship was, “That I get to make my own impact in a scientific field. It’s exciting, and often frustrating if an experiment doesn’t work out, investigating a potential drug therapy target or learning more about an organism that could possibly help fight diseases in the future.”


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

Gist expressed, “My biggest takeaway from this experience is that I got to experience the importance of research. Whether it is research for the sake of science, or investigating possible disease cures, research is an incredibly important tool for furthering how we advance in society. And with a desire to be a doctor, I need to be able to understand the importance of research in order to provide the best care I can to patients in the future.”


What are his future plans?

Galen was in the process of finishing his applications for medical school when he found out that he tore his ACL this summer. Now he is focused on recovery and is planning on taking a 5th year to finish out his football career and complete his undergraduate degree at Simpson. As of now, his plans are to attend medical school in the fall of 2019.


What advice does he have for Simpson students regarding internships?

Gist’s advice to Simpson students looking for internships and/or research programs is to use your connections at Simpson, start early and don’t give up. Gist stated, “I applied to at least 5 summer research programs my sophomore year and knew many people that applied to well more than that. I have a close friend who got an interview and then marketing internship by emailing people on the board of a company and connecting with somebody who had connections to Simpson. Simpson is your ally and has a surprising amount of connections in many different fields across the country.”



Graphic design and editing by Baillee Furst

Pulitzer Prize Winner Visits Simpson

PC: Austin Hronich/The Simpsonian

How did an editor from Storm Lake win the coveted Pulitzer Prize? Even Pulitzer Prize winner Art Cullen doesn’t know.

Cullen visited Simpson College on Wednesday night to give the annual Constitution Day lecture to about 100 people in Hubbell Hall.

Cullen, along with his brother, run The Storm Lake Times, and they accepted their victory on April 10 with excitement.

“It was a series of 10 editorials demanding transparency of our government,” Cullen said.

In 1990, Cullen and his brother started investigating the change of agriculture and water pollution in Iowa.

“Nobody wanted to talk to us about it, not the (Department of Natural Resources), not anybody,” Cullen said. “I had driven around all of northwest Iowa and southern Minnesota taking pictures of all these dying lakes.”

A trip to the environmental council with this information started a lawsuit against Sac, Buena Vista, and Calhoun counties from the Des Moines Water Works for high nitrate levels in the Raccoon River.

Further questions from Cullen about funding of legal fees led to suspicions of secret donations from big corporations, such as the Koch Brothers and Monsanto.

As expected in a small town such as Storm Lake, the news of lawsuits didn’t draw a lot of attention from the citizens or lead to rallies.

“We were sort of out there alone, but on the other hand, I was talking to farmers, and they were totally in support,” he said. “Those farmers remember when the hills were green and when there were cattle roaming everywhere.”

Cullen believes his investigative work is the definition of what the creators of the Constitution intended with the First Amendment.

“Every editorial I do, I look at from the perspective of, ‘How can we build Storm Lake?’” Cullen said. He realizes it is an immigrant community and brings that part of the area into the paper.

Although he lives in small town Iowa, Cullen never loses sight of journalism as a big picture.

Brian Steffen, professor of multimedia communication, brought up a point of how politics shapes the view of the media. Cullen could be seen shaking his head as Steffen showed a “fake news” clip from a Trump rally.

“There is such thing as ‘fake news,’ but it’s not the stuff you disagree with. It’s a lie that is there to confuse you,” Cullen said.

Cullen expressed concern that journalism is a dying trend in our world. He urged the audience to read a newspaper and be informed citizens, not just people that accept the bare minimum of information.

“People are lazy; they don’t want to read a newspaper,” Cullen said. “I have hope, though, because you’re here, that gives me hope for the future of journalism.”

Trey Thompson: Tyler Technologies

Graphic designed by Baillee Furst


What is he up to?

Trey Thompson ’19 spent his summer interning for Tyler Technologies located in Ames, Iowa. Tyler Technologies provides integrated software and technology services to the public sector. At Simpson, Thompson is majoring in mathematics with a double minor in secondary education and coaching.


How did he hear about the internship opportunity?

Trey was able to land the internship through connections within his family. His grandfather formerly worked there and his mother presently works at Tyler Technologies.


What does a typical day include at his internship?

Thompson stated, “I showed up at 8 am and worked until 5 most days. I usually ran errands for everyone, bought new supplies needed for our new building we moved into, and organized the company database.”


What has been his favorite aspect of the internship?

Thompson’s favorite experiences at his internship included socializing with other co-workers and working in the new building.


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

Thompson proclaimed, “This internship taught me how to analyze data and use excel to organize and represent the data to present to others in the company.”


What are his future plans?

In the future, Trey aspires to graduate from Simpson College and become a high school math teacher and cross country coach.


What advice does he have for Simpson students regarding internships?

Trey advises students to, “Make it a goal to work at an internship site before graduation. The work experience provides helpful skills in your field and also demonstrates a typical work environment.”


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