The first class of Culver Fellows was admitted to Simpson College in the fall of 2010. Since then, more than thirty 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!
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.”
Valerie Goodhue-Nolte – Class of 2015
Valerie Goodhue-Nolte, a Culver Fellow 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.”
Steffi Lee – Class of 2015
Steffi Lee, a Culver Fellow 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. 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 from New Hampton, Iowa, graduated in May 2015 with a major in Political Science and minor in Business Management. Sanford enrolled at Georgetown Law Center in the fall of 2015. Following law school, 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.”
Kyle Hauswirth – Class of 2015 (December)
Kyle Hauswirth, a Culver Fellow 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 serves 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.”
MacKenzie Bills – Class of 2016
MacKenzie Bills, a Culver Fellow 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.
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 from Ankeny, Iowa, graduated in April 2016 with a degree in History and Economics. After graduation, he moved to Minneapolis to gain work experience while exploring Ph.D. programs in history. 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 from Rochester, Minnesota, graduated in April 2016 with a degree in Political Science and International Relations and a minor in French. After graduation, she is continuing 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. She is exploring opportunities to use her degree to work with a non-governmental organization crafting public policy.
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.”