The first class of Culver Fellows was admitted to Simpson College in the fall of 2010. Since then, more than fifty Culver Fellowships have been awarded to incoming Simpson College students interested in pursuing studies and careers in politics and public policy. Our alumni have used their experiences and Culver Fellows and their Simpson degrees to pursue post-graduate studies in law, political management, education, and accounting. Other alumni have gone directly into careers in journalism, nonprofit management, and financial services.
Meet our alumni and learn about the fantastic opportunities available to Culver Fellows after graduation!
Kara Eischen – Class of 2017
Kara Eischen, a Culver Fellow from Wesley, Iowa, graduated in December 2017 with a degree in Criminal Justice. She plans to attend law school in the fall of 2018.
Kara graduated from Bishop Garrigan High School in Algona. At Simpson, she was involved with the Culver Fellows, the Student Alumni Association, and the Writing Fellows. In addition, she was a member of the Epsilon Sigma honor society. During the spring semester of 2017, Kara completed an internship at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa under a magistrate judge. In May of 2017, she traveled to Italy for a May Term course with Simpson. Kara was excited to gain the knowledge and cultural immersion that studying abroad can offer. “I was so fortunate to make connections and have experiences at Simpson that will help develop my career plan and let me find success,” she said.
Zach Goodrich – Class of 2017
Zach Goodrich, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Grimes, Iowa, graduated in April 2017 with a degree in Political Science, History and Business Management. He currently attends Drake University where he is pursuing his J.D. and M.B.A..
Zach attended Dallas Center-Grimes High School, where he became interested in politics while taking advanced U.S. History & Government classes. During his senior year, he worked for the Republican Party of Polk County, various congressional campaigns and in the Iowa Senate. During his time at Simpson, Zach was involved with the Student Government Association as First-Year and Sophomore Class President, served as President of the Interfraternity Council and held several leadership positions in his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Outside of campus, he worked in the Iowa House of Representatives and Whitaker Hagenow & Gustoff, LLP in Des Moines. During the 2016 election, Zach served on Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign at the county and statewide level.
Tegan Jarchow – Class of 2017
Tegan Jarchow, a Culver Fellow alumna from Prairie Village, Kansas, graduated in April 2017 with majors in Political Science and Sociology with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. After graduation, she enrolled at Drake University Law School.
While at Simpson, Tegan served as a campus Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Vote Everywhere program, helping to register and turn out hundreds of Simpson College students to vote. She was involved in Simpson College Democrats, Environmental Awareness Club, Rotaract Club, Social Justice Book Club, Religious Life Community events, Pizza and Philosophy, and Speech and Debate.
Tegan became interested in politics and public policy because she has always been interested in history and current events. She believes patterns of politics and policy contribute to history and how our society is maintained. She hails from a family that discusses politics a lot. She is constantly inspired to use politics and public policy as an end to better society and individual people’s lives.
Nick Laning – Class of 2017
Nick Laning, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Byron, Minnesota, graduated in April 2017 with a degree in Political Science and International Relations. He currently serves as account coordinator with LS2 Group, a full-service marketing, public relations, and government affairs company in Des Moines.
As a student, Nick was involved in Student Government, Simpson College Republicans, Choir, and First Year Council. He served as Treasurer of the Campus Activities Board. Nick chose Simpson because of the Culver Fellowship Program and the opportunities it presents to be involved in politics. He was deeply involved in politics while growing up in Minnesota, having worked on U.S. House and U.S. Senate campaigns and interning in the Minnesota State Senate. As a Culver Fellow, Nick clerked for Representative Guy Vander Linden in the Iowa House of Representatives and worked on the presidential campaigns of Carly Fiorina and Gov. Scott Walker. Nick is using the opportunities that the Culver Center offered him as a foundation for his career in politics. He plans to work as a political consultant and hopefully one day run for public office.
Emily Ortiz – Class of 2017
Emily Ortiz, a Culver Fellow alumna from Lawrence, Kansas, graduated in April 2017 with a degree in History and Political Science. After graduation she is doing ten months of service in Americorps NCC. She believes that service and public policy are important because they create fundamental understandings between people.
As a Simpson student, Emily was active in Simpson Pride, Simpson College Feminists, and Simpson College Democrats. “The Culver Center has provided me with the opportunity to visit Washington D.C., an unforgettable trip that has furthered my interest in the politics of our nation.”
Stacey Post – Class of 2017
Stacey Post, a Culver Fellow from Des Moines, Iowa, graduated in December 2017 with majors in political science and applied philosophy. After graduation, she accepted a position with an event planning and production company in West Des Moines.
Stacey is a graduate of Dowling Catholic High School. While at Simpson, she served as chair of Simpson College Republicans and interned in the Iowa State Capitol office of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and his state-federal relations office in Washington, DC. During the summer of 2016, she worked statewide for the Republican Party of Iowa’s Senate Majority Fund. Stacey plans on a career in economic development. She was employed as the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Executive Call Program intern for Summer 2017. She loved being a Culver Fellow because of all the opportunities, including meeting prominent members of the political community, internships, and networking.
Britney Samuelson – Class of 2017
Britney Samuelson, a Culver Fellow alumna from Newton, Iowa, graduated in April 2017 with majors in Social Justice, Applied Philosophy, and Spanish. After graduation, she accepted a position as executive assistant with the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
During her senior year at Simpson College, Britney led an initiative to pass a new state law providing more options for Iowans to go back and earn high school equivalency degrees by applying work experience to diploma requirements. Britney served as philanthropy chair of the Simpson College chapter of Delta Delta Delta and volunteered with the Wesley Service Scholars program on campus. Britney’s interest in politics began when she served as a page in the Iowa Senate during her junior year in high school. Ever since then, she has been interested in how politics and government impact lives. Public policy is important to Britney because she believes it has the power to make a positive difference in all people’s lives.
Alanna Wendt – Class of 2017
Alanna Wendt, a Culver Fellow alumna from Santa Rosa, California, graduated in April 2017 with a double major in Political Science and International Relations and a Theater minor. After earning her degree from Simpson College, Alanna enrolled at the University of Denver in the graduate program in international studies. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta, Simpson College Democrats, Simpson Debate Team, and the Pre-Law Society. As a Culver Fellow, she attended the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement Conference at the Harvard Institute of Politics in September 2015. Alanna was also selected to represent the Culver Center and Simpson College at two conferences in summer 2016 organized by the College Debate 2016 project to promote student political engagement through the presidential debates. She views the Culver Fellowship as an honor and looks forward to expanding her knowledge of government and public policy.
Michelle Beving – Class of 2016
Michelle Beving, a Culver Fellow alumna from Hartley, Iowa, graduated in December 2016 with double majors in Political Science and Religion. Michelle is currently employed as a Legal Assistant at Hedberg and Boulton, PC and lives in Des Moines. She served as a campus Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Vote Everywhere program, a nonpartisan voter registration initiative on college campuses nationwide. She also served as an intern in the office of the Iowa Secretary of State, assisting in the processing of voter registrations and election returns. In addition to being a Culver Fellow, Michelle was involved in Speech and Debate, served as Community Service Chair of Rotaract, and was a Wesley Service Scholar.
MacKenzie Bills – Class of 2016
MacKenzie Bills, a Culver Fellow alumna from Altoona, Iowa, graduated in April 2016 with a degree in Political Science and International Relations and minors in French and Religion. Immediately after graduation, Bills traveled to Djibouti to serve as a U.S. State Department public diplomacy intern at the U.S. Embassy. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Malaysia as a U.S. cultural ambassador in 2017. In January 2018, Bills accepted a position as a junior program manager in the Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau of the U.S. Department of State.
During her senior year at Simpson, Bills participated in the Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP), serving as a research intern with the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum Institute and as research intern with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. She was heavily involved on Simpson’s campus, as a Culver Fellow, Wesley Service Scholar, Pi Beta Phi, member of Simpson College Democrats, and Interfaith Undergraduate Assistant through Simpson’s Religious Life Community. In the past, she interned for former U.S. Representative Leonard L. Boswell on his 2012 congressional campaign.
As someone who is deeply passionate about public policy and politics, Bills founded Simpson Votes, a nonpartisan student organization that registers hundreds of students to vote each year. Her passion for civic engagement has opened up many opportunities for her. She was able to engage students across the southern half of Iowa’s college campuses as the Campus Election Engagement Project’s Iowa contact. She furthered her voter engagement work across the state as Lead Campus Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Vote Everywhere program. In the summer of 2013, she also interned in Washington D.C. for U.S. Representative Bruce Braley’s office and was a Virtual Intern for the U.S. State Department. MacKenzie served as a Government Affairs intern for LS2group during the 2015 and 2016 sessions of the Iowa Legislature. Public policy is important to Bills because she believes it strengthens democracy. It encourages everyone to have an opinion which leads to a better world.
“The Culver program has connected me with so many people and organizations. I have had some great opportunities and will have numerous more to come. Lastly, I have made some great friendships out of it.”
Ethan Fredrick – Class of 2016
Ethan Fredrick, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Ankeny, Iowa, graduated in April 2016 with a degree in History and Economics. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in history at the University of Minnesota. Fredrick was a page in the Iowa Senate, a fellow for the Obama for America campaign in 2012, and served as the Simpson College student body president in 2015. He served as student body treasurer from September 2013 to December 2014. He presided over the Simpson College Democrats, Inter-Fraternity council, and was active within his own fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
As a member of the Simpson Speech and Debate team, Fredrick earned individual national championships in Open Parli and anchored the team’s national championship at PKD nationals in spring 2016. Fredrick earned the senior history award and was lauded by professors in his department for possessing “super powers” of persuasion. He also served as an assistant coach of the Ankeny High School Debate team.
Public service is important to Fredrick because society is shaped by individual choices. He feels his participation allows him to input his values into the process, and he believes that a true test of public service is encouraging others to share their beliefs and ideas in our decisions as well.
Molly Monk – Class of 2016
Molly Monk, a Culver Fellow alumna from Rochester, Minnesota, graduated in April 2016 with a degree in Political Science and International Relations and a minor in French. The summer after graduating, she continued her undergraduate research applying math modeling techniques to the study of the invasive weed Palmer Amaranth, which is destroying cropland across the South and creeping into the Midwest. In the fall of 2016, Monk accepted a position as accelerator program manager with the nonprofit start-up accelerator New Bohemian Innovation Collective (NewBoCo) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
As a senior, Monk was elected class president and homecoming queen. While studying at Simpson, she worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer at the Des Moines Catholic Worker, a local homeless outreach center. She served as a research intern on homelessness for the Institute for Community Alliances. Monk also completed internships for the Iowa Senate Democratic Research Team and worked with the American Legion Auxiliary as a convention speaker and a counselor for their Girls State and Girls Nation programs. She spent the spring semester of 2014 studying abroad in French Polynesia as a Cowles Fellow. While suffering from acute sunshine withdrawal, she worked on research regarding the politics of independence in French Polynesia and presented her findings in spring 2015.
“The Culver Center made it possible for me to attend Simpson College. I’m thankful for all of the opportunities it has created for me and the people I have been able to meet.”
Valerie Goodhue-Nolte – Class of 2015
Valerie Goodhue-Nolte, a Culver Fellow alumna from Carlisle, Iowa, graduated in May 2015 with a double major in French and Spanish and minor concentrations in Political Science and History. In the fall of 2015, she enrolled in the Master of Accounting program at Drake University. As a student, Goodhue-Nolte participated in Simpson College Republicans and Simpson Students for Life. Public policy and service are both important to her because her goal is to make a positive change in this country by inspiring her future students to be active members of the community. “The Culver Fellowship provided some wonderful opportunities such as bringing amazing speakers to campus.”
Kyle Hauswirth – Class of 2015
Kyle Hauswirth, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Corwith, Iowa, graduated in December 2015 with a degree in Political Science and Marketing. After graduation, Hauswirth moved to Washington, DC to pursue a master’s degree in political management at George Washington University. He also served on U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s Capitol Hill staff. Hauswirth is pursuing a career in politics because he would like to make the United States stronger and a better place to live. He is a member of the largest North American Greek-letter fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, which he served as Eminent Recorder while studying at Simpson College. He was also involved with the Freemasons and Inter-fraternity Council. To Hauswirth, public policy and service have both been extremely important from the very start. He has always wanted to help people and to make the world thrive.
“It was a great opportunity and honor to be a Culver Fellow. It has allowed me to travel to great places such as Harvard, and really do some serious networking and working on my career. I’m really looking forward to the future of the Center and all the good it will do.”
Steffi Lee – Class of 2015
Steffi Lee, a Culver Fellow alumna from Anaheim, California, graduated in May 2015 with a major in Multimedia Journalism and a minor in Political Science. After graduation, Lee accepted a position as a multimedia journalist for KGAN CBS 2 Iowa in Cedar Rapids, covering a range of local and regional news stories. She went on to cover politics and government for broadcasters in central Iowa, Alaska, and Texas. At Simpson, she served as the editor-in-chief of The Simpsonian and was a member of Pi Beta Phi. While a student, she also worked as a part-time reporter, editor and photographer at KCCI 8 News, the CBS affiliate television station in Des Moines. In February 2015, Lee was honored by the Iowa College Media Association with its first ever Student Journalist of the Year Award. She previously studied abroad in Poland as a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar. “Being a Culver Fellow was one of the greatest honors. This fellowship allowed me to deepen my understanding of public policy. It also allowed me to participate in activities such as the CBS student panel with Scott Pelley on the evening news. The Culver Fellowship furthered my conviction about how service is extremely imperative to keep our country flourishing.”
Thomas Sanford – Class of 2015
Thomas Sanford, a Culver Fellow alumnus from New Hampton, Iowa, graduated in May 2015 with a major in Political Science and minor in Business Management. Sanford will earn his J.D. from Georgetown Law Center in spring 2018 and plans to practice corporate law in Chicago. Sanford hopes to one day return to rural Iowa and work to improve the already wonderful community that he grew up in. As a Simpson student, he studied abroad in Adelaide, Australia and served as intern in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa. He was heavily involved on Simpson’s campus as a Culver Fellow and a member of Pre-Law Society and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Being taught to always leave everywhere better than he found it, public policy and service are important tools that Sanford hopes to use to improve the world.
“Through the lifelong friendships and connections that the Center helped me make, and the unbelievable experiences that it offered me, I can now confidently say that being a Culver Fellow was key to my success at Simpson.”
Annie Olson – Class of 2014
Annie Olson graduated magna cum laude in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, and a minor in Political Science. A member of the inaugural class of Culver Fellows, Annie was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society. She also served as the Undergraduate Assistant for the Iowa History Center. Annie was honored to be one of the initial recipients of a John C. Culver Fellowship at Simpson. She hails from Santa Rosa, California. Annie has familial ties to Iowa, as her dad grew up in Ames and also attended Simpson College. Currently, Annie attends The University of San Francisco where she is pursuing her Master of Arts in Teaching. She hopes to teach high school English and History. Annie greatly values her Culver Fellowship experience:
“But for the Culver Fellowship, I probably would not have chosen to attend Simpson College. I would have missed out on the opportunity to meet interesting and influential people, such as Senator Culver and George McGovern, and to immerse myself in current political and social issues.”
Dillon Thiner – Class of 2014
Dillon Thiner of Graettinger, Iowa was a member of the inaugural class of Culver Fellows. He graduated in May 2014 with a triple major in Political Science, International Relations, and Business Management. Following graduation, he accepted a position as Consulting Group Analyst for Morgan Stanley in West Des Moines, Iowa. Thiner aims to work on an international scale and hopes to eventually become an ambassador. At Simpson, he was involved in Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Model United Nations. He is also active in the Iowa Democratic Party. Thiner believes that public policy affects every aspect of daily life; everything from turning on a light to the water we drink, which is why he strongly believes in the importance of developing sound public policy.
“The Culver Center provided me with opportunities that I would never have had anywhere else. The events that the Culver Center hosts and the speakers it brings to campus give students invaluable insights, as well as access to a network of successful individuals as mentors. Many of my most memorable political experiences would have never been possible without the Culver Center.”