Celebrating Success, Simpson-Style: Research Symposium, Honors Convocation

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.”

Honors Convocation

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

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