By Laura Wiersema ‘18
When choosing a college, prospective students often explore majors and minors that are available, the size of classes and opportunities to participate in campus activities.
Here’s something else to consider: Internships.
And that’s another reason why you will want to take a closer look at Simpson College.
Our location near the Des Moines metro area, an extensive alumni network and Simpson’s great reputation gives our students a competitive advantage when it comes to finding internships. In many cases, those internships turn into jobs.
Consider these 2016 Simpson graduates who are on the fast track to success in the working world:
When applying for internships, Teig knew he had unique experiences to make him marketable. Through Simpson, the Computer Science and Mathematics double major was able to participate in a wide variety of activities.
“The campus community has helped me be successful,” he says. “I’ve been involved in a lot of different things, like Student Government Association and symphonic band, that helped me to view a whole bunch of different things at different angles and give me the liberal arts experience that I think Simpson wants everyone to have.”
Additionally, Teig participated in the school’s math modeling competition twice and worked extensively on the research-based Palmer Project to fight the Palmer amaranth superweed using math and philosophy.
“I was able to talk a lot about the independent things I did with that,” the Granger, Iowa, native said. “They liked the project and how it was different than what normal candidates have to offer.”
His wide-ranging experiences landed him an internship-turned-job at EMC Insurance Corporation in Des Moines as an assistant data scientist. According to Teig, Simpson has a strong stake in the company, with over a fourth of their actuaries holding Simpson degrees. Both his mentor and his supervisor there are also Simpson grads.
“What’s unique about Simpson is its ability to gain internships in Des Moines,” he said. “It’s so close that you can do those kinds of things and the connections are already made.”
Those connections wouldn’t be available, he says, if not for Simpson’s reputation of excellence. And that excellence wouldn’t exist without excellent instruction from the professors, inside and outside the classroom.
“I chose Simpson because I liked the atmosphere and the community and the professors seemed to want to make a personal connection with you,” Teig said. “They really care about what you care about and care about you. All of my professors have always been super supportive, even if it’s a professor not in my major. They’re always supportive and interested in what you do.”
Since she was in high school student in Blue Earth, Minn. Monica knew she wanted to study optometry, but she also knew it would require an enormous time commitment. Many students find it’s exhausting to start graduate school immediately after finishing undergraduate.
But Monica, a neuroscience major, was in luck. A friend and Simpson graduate was working for Optometric Associates of Warren County and introduced Monica to the doctors. They offered her an internship as a technician in the fall of 2016.
Not long after that, knowing she would be graduating early, they offered her a job starting in January.
“I did not ever think I could work in a clinic before attending graduate school,” Monica said. “By graduating early, I would only be taking about 9 months off and still be viewed as going right to graduate school from undergraduate since the optometry programs begin each fall. I knew from the very beginning that I did not want to take a year off, so this option is perfect.”
Keeping up the grades and course load to graduate early hasn’t been easy, though. Monica wears many hats as the wrestling team manager, traveling with the team, as well as coaching for the Indianola volleyball club and volunteering at the Saint Aquinas Catholic Church every week.
While it may have been difficult, Monica is glad she chose Simpson because the courses challenged her and prepared her for her career ahead.
Without Simpson, “I’m not sure if I could have had the same level of science courses to prepare for the scientific terminology I use and encounter in the office every day,” she said.
Following December graduation, Maddie will start work as an IT application analyst for Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, but she’s more than prepared. The Computer Science and Mathematics double major has already held two internships and a part-time job with the company.
She’ll be working with the same team she originally started with. “It’s easier to transition since I know how everything work she said.
Maddie graduated from high school in Council Bluffs; there were 63 students in her graduating class. She knew she wanted to study at a small college, but not because she thought she would graduate early. She pursued that direction after she arrived.
“My advisor, Professor (Rick) Spellerberg, was really helpful in making sure I was on track and helping me get into the classes I needed this semester to graduate early,” she said.
Maddie said she had no idea what opportunities were available at Principal until representatives of the company visited one of her computer science classes, which they do every year.
“I had no idea they had computer science at Principal,” she said. “I don’t think I would have had the Principal opportunities at other schools because there’s such a big alumni group there from Simpson.”
When it came to choosing a school, the choice had been clear for Jordan, an Actuarial Science and Economics double major from Dewitt, Iowa.
“I came to Simpson primarily because I wanted the small school atmosphere and because I thought the actuarial program offered something that other schools didn’t,” he said. “It has more focus on getting you an internship and getting you experience rather than just hammering away at exams.”
That decision ended up landing him an internship during school and a job after at Athene in Des Moines. Jordan said Simpson has a good reputation with the company because of the quality of the school’s program.
“It builds up Simpson’s credentials that we have a good program and good people to hire in the future,” he said. “The development of a wide variety of skills was important in being more marketable for a job.”
Jordan said while Simpson may be small, it definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. Without Simpson, he may not have ended up with the same opportunities.
“Simpson offers something unique in that way: it still has that small school atmosphere for students but it has the opportunities of getting you connected to a bigger place,” he said. “I may have found similar success, but I think Simpson made it easier to find success.”