“Women and Children First”

Simpson Colloquium SC 101 A – “Women and Children First”
M T TH F   1- 2 PM

The phrase “Women and Children First” refers to the chivalrous practice of ensuring the safety of women and children in treacherous situations. Women and children were the first passengers loaded onto the lifeboats during the sinking of the Titanic …allowing many of them to survive one disaster only to live out their lives as widows and orphans when their husbands and fathers went down with the sinking ship.

How do different societies around the world treat women and children today? During disasters (natural, economic, warfare, genocide, etc.) are they the first ones onboard the “lifeboats”, or are they left on the “sinking ship”? Do women and children have equal access to education and medical care? How do the basic principles of reproductive biology impact the roles women and children play in societies? We will explore these and other related questions about gender in society through outreach programs in the local community and interactions with public health professionals.

Meet Your Professor
Jackie Brittingham, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology

I grew up in a small town just outside of Philadelphia and completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology in Philadelphia. I moved to Iowa City to complete a research fellowship in developmental biology before landing my dream job teaching at Simpson College in 1999. I am the biology department chair and the Pre-Health Society advisor. I teach introductory courses in biology and advanced courses in human physiology and embryology, and I get particularly excited when I teach topics related to reproductive biology. I enjoy working with undergraduate students in my research lab where we study genes that direct organ formation in a variety of different animal models.

I live in Indianola, just a few blocks from campus with my husband, a microbiologist at Des Moines University and my two children, Madeline (14) and Andrew (9). My family life is a constant source of material for my classroom anecdotes! I love to be outdoors (preferably on my bicycle) and to travel (ask me about Africa!). I enjoy cheering on the Philadelphia Flyers, Phillies and Eagles (usually), and when no one is watching, I can beat the pants off my son in Wii Just Dance!

Jackie B. in Fast Lane


Life in the fast lane with my son!






Jackie B. in Ragbrai




Slowing it down with RAGBRAI!





Brittany Gochenour StudentMeet Your Destination Leader

Brittany Gochenour

Hello Everyone!

I will be your destination leader for the class “Women and Children First”. I will be a junior for the 2012-2013 school year and am majoring in biology and minoring in psychology. I love Simpson’s science program and am very happy to be a part of it! Once I graduate, my plan is to hopefully attend occupational therapy school. However, the specifics of my plans (or my plans in general) have changed numerous times so I have to admit that I am open to all ideas.  I was raised in a small town from the middle of nowhere… Logan, Ia. During high school, I was involved in sports, dance and cheerleading, clubs, church groups, and just about anything you could imagine. Here at Simpson, I am involved in many different things that range anywhere from being your destination leader to volunteering at CFUM in Des Moines; which I love!

I am a very outgoing person once I sort of “break the ice” with people and am open to talk about absolutely anything you need-even if it is not school related! I love helping people and will do all that I can to make you feel comfortable and enjoy your first semester here at Simpson. Although I spend most of my time studying and preparing for graduate school, during my free time I love to volunteer at various local institutions. As I mentioned, I really enjoy volunteering at CFUM in Des Moines because I get to work with kids and people from a different socio-economic status than myself (I would suggest all of you to try this sometime). In addition to helping others, I really enjoy spending time with my friends, dancing, working out, watching TLC, and anything else that is fun! Underneath it all, I see myself as a realistic person who loves to have fun, entertain others, and really just enjoy life!

Feel free to contact me anytime you need even if it is before the school year begins. You should be getting very excited because your first year is full of experiences that you will never forget. I love to see people succeed and am truly excited to help you in that process. I look forward to meeting each of you!

Conor Fair StudentMeet Your Writing Fellow

Conor Fair

Hey freshman students of SC101-A, my name is Conor Fair.

I will be your writing fellow for the Simpson Colloquium class “Women and Children First.” I am a Senior Biology student. I also will graduate with a minor in Spanish and Chemistry. I was born in a suburb of Minneapolis called Maple Grove. I am a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity on campus, as well as the biological fraternity Beta Beta Beta. I am an Eagle Scout, and I have spent the last four summers in a tent with no air conditioning at the Boy Scout Camp, Many Point; teaching young scouts. I won’t be returning this summer because I will be participating in research in Texas this summer. I am going to study insects and their genome at Texas A&M University in the NSF-REU program. The REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program is a great opportunity, and I recommend that you look into it during your time at Simpson. Additionally, you can partake in research here on campus. Last year, I participated in a project with TEAM STREAM, which studied insects here in Iowa (Brittany, your destination leader, was a member of that project).

For my Spanish minor, I traveled to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. My study abroad experience was fantastic, and it is something that should be on your bucket list for Simpson. Here at Simpson, I recommend that you take the advantage of the student to professor ratio as well. Get to know your professors. After all, they are the ones that will be writing your recommendation letters (I asked for a total of 15 letters this past year, and I haven’t started applying to graduate schools yet). Other than that, participate on campus. I’m 100% certain that there is a group for you to join.

My advice is to stay focused but leave room for fun.