Simpson celebrates academic excellence and achievement every day, but the College sets aside one special day each year to note the many accomplishments of its students and faculty.
On Tuesday, April 21, the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium was held. Classes were cancelled so students could present papers, performances, posters, artwork and/or panel discussions. Those students not presenting were invited to attend.
At midday, the campus community gathered in Smith Chapel for the Honors Convocation, which recognizes the achievements of Simpson students, as well as two faculty members.
The 2016 Faculty Award for Campus Leadership was awarded to Nick Proctor, professor of history, who was the Distinguished Research award winner in 2002 and the Distinguished Teacher award winner in 2006. He has been at Simpson since 1998.
“This type of achievement demonstrates his passion for Simpson and the education of his students,” his award read.
The 2016 Faculty Award for Distinguished Research was awarded to JJ Butts, assistant professor of English, who also was the Distinguished Junior Faculty award winner in 2015. He has been a member of Simpson’s faculty since 2011.
Butts is currently working on a book manuscript, a book article manuscript and an article manuscript.
“His work is not only important to the department’s mission of social justice but the worth of which also has been acknowledged by experts in his field,” his award read.
Undergraduate Research Symposium
Senior Paul Safford’s research project could pay off big.
The title: “Predicting the Kentucky Derby.”
Many have tried, and failed, at such an undertaking, but Safford wants to know if the math, analytics and reasoning skills he has obtained at Simpson can get him closer to the winner’s circle.
“I thought it would be a good project because I’d be able to test it right away,” he said. (He’s waiting until the field is set to choose a winner.)
Safford was one of several Simpson students who presented papers and posters on everything from, “Designer Drugs: Modeling of Peptidonimetic Scaffolds on Calmodulin for Creating New Therapeutics” to, “What’s it Like for a Girl in the Wizarding World” of Harry Potter.
Melissa Moore, a senior from Manilla, Iowa, who is majoring in theatre with a minor in women’s studies, said the Harry Potter books may be fantasy, but they also explore real-life gender issues that relate to today’s world.
Many of the presenters said their research will help them in their careers, while others said the skills learned in preparing a talk or poster will be helpful no matter what field they choose.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to get used to presenting academic papers,” said Sydney Baty, a sophomore from Moravia. “I’m going to graduate school, so presenting papers at academic conferences is definitely part of my future.”
JJ Butts, assistant professor of English and one of the symposium’s faculty sponsors, said the Association of Colleges and Universities considers undergraduate research projects to be one of the most effective methods of helping students learn.
“Some of the students may be doing projects that they will carry forward in some way,” he said. “Some of them may learn something that they take forward in ways they don’t fully understand yet. One of the important things about research is that a lot of times it’s the skills and habits you acquire from doing it than are really important down the road, rather than the content of the discipline itself.”
The day also allowed students in one academic major to see what their fellow students in another major have been working on.
“This is fantastic,” said Robert Lyons, a junior from Denison studying political science and public relations. “It’s a great opportunity for students to share what they’ve been working on and to see all the cool research that people are doing.”
The student award winners:
Carl Halgren Certificate of Excellence in Psychology: Marissa Belau
Everett Laning Award in Sociology: Marissa Belau
Outstanding Senior in Criminal Justice: Noel Rix
Horizon Award: Arden Brookman
Fred Jones Outstanding Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Graduate Award: Stacy Hartsfield
Dick Starr Award: Blake Bergstrom
Outstanding Senior in Sport Science: Shelby Randolph
Leadership in Education: Nicole Stuhldryer
Outstanding Senior in Elementary Education: Kendra Core
Dr. Donna J. Helble ’71 Award Winner for Outstanding Junior in Elementary Education: Alyssa Gates
Outstanding Senior in Secondary Education: Maureen Snook
Outstanding Graduate Student in Secondary Education: Jamie Elbert
ETS Recognition of Excellence Awards for Praxis II Content Exams: Shawna Hughes
Outstanding Seniors in Humanities: Patrick Peters and Jacy Gomez
Norman Thomas Outstanding Seniors in Philosophy: Trey Scott and Sarah Beadle
Leopold Award in History: Valerie C. Bedwell and Mallory A. Hanson
Joe Walt Senior History Award: Ethan Fredrick
Roger Betsworth Outstanding Senior in Religion: Jacob McLain
Clerk’s Award: Danny Judge
Outstanding Senior in English: Maureen Snook
Outstanding Student in World Language and Culture Studies: Samantha Schmidt
Mildred Wilson Science Award: Louis R. Joslyn
Doft Science Honor Awards: Sydney Rissler, Allison Frideres, Alex McIntosh, Geoffrey Converse, Karli Wittorf, Erin Boggess, Andrew Becker, Teig Loge, Taylor Gehris, Rachel Hoffman, Samantha Miller, Park Mikels, Grant Kofmehl, Matthew Hayden, Sarah Bonnot, Christopher Hanson, Margaret Long, Nicholas Joslyn, Victoria Wreghitt, Audrey LoVan
Outstanding Senior in Chemistry/Biochemistry/Forensics: Amy Loverin
Outstanding Senior in Physics: Kyle Jensen
Margaret L. Watson Awards in Biology: Trey Scott (senior) and Karli Wittorf (junior)
Dr. Alan and Karen Orr Biology Research Scholar: Grace Williams
Outstanding Senior in Environmental Science: Abby Golder
Joe K. Moody Research Scholarship: Trey Scott
Hiram Doty Research Award: Grace Williams
Dr. Dean and Sandra Blinn Research Scholarship: Ashly McLaughlin
Outstanding Senior in Computer Science: Louis R. Joslyn
Outstanding Seniors in Computer Information Systems: Adrian E. Gibson and Thomas J. Klein
Outstanding Seniors in Mathematics: Matthew Christen, Louis R. Joslyn and Sara Reed
Outstanding Senior in Actuarial Science: Jordan Porth
Outstanding Senior in Political Science: MacKenzie Bills
Outstanding Senior in Public Relations: Maddie Muhlenbruck
Outstanding Senior in Multimedia Journalism: Brock Borgeson
Outstanding Senior in Marketing: Morgan Struebing
Outstanding Senior in Management: Morgan Struebing
R.J. Samson CEO (Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization) Award: Tanner Robinson
Outstanding Senior in Global Management: Tori Haag
Lisle C. Wilson Outstanding Junior: Kelli Greiner
Feyerharm Award for Outstanding Junior: Grant Kofmehl
Heckert Award – Outstanding Senior in Economics: Matt Christen
Financial Executives International Awards: Sara Reed and Sean Duvall
Institute of Management Accountants: Courtney Custard
Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants: Andria Harper
Eberhart International Scholarship: Hang Vu
Alpha Psi Omega Junior Award: Brandon Herring
Outstanding Senior in Theatre Arts: Randa Meierhenry
Outstanding Sophomore Portfolio: Kaitlyn Louk
Outstanding Senior in Art: Kealan Graham
Frank Barrows Award: Samantha Hornback and Ben Schaefer
Douglas J. Duncan Music Award: Zach Howath
Sven and Mildred Lekberg Music Award: Sarah Curtis and Brandon Douglas
Music Performing Honors: John Bitsas (voice), Samantha Hornback (voice), Randa Meierhenry (voice), Ben Schaefer (voice), Laura Swartz (voice), Colin Zidlicky (trombone)
Volunteers of the Year Award: Marissa Belau and Emma Kain
Jordan Science Achievement Award: Trey Scott
ODK Emerging Leader Award: Elizabeth Nimmo
E.G. Booth Award: Blake Bergstrom
Alpha Lambda Delta Society’s Maria Leonard Book Award: Sara Reed
Alpha Sigma Lambda (National Adult Student Honorary Society): Kari Clemons, Bobbie Fuller, Manda Gibson, Alexander Grimm, Lindsey Grimm, Marie Hansen, Bailey Kufner, Jesse McKelvey, Branden Nelson, Makenzie Patterson, Ashley Powell, Matt Rappold, John Reicks, Deanna Thomas, Howard Welty, Stephanie Wolken, Lisa Zimmerman
Women and Gender Studies Program Scholarship Award: Marissa Belau
Women and Gender Studies Program Activism Award: Tricia Ingram
Barborka Award: Tori Haag
President’s Award in Human Relations: Jazmine Johnson