Two Simpson Grads Receive Rural Medicine Scholarships

In another example of how a Simpson College education can lead to future success, two recent graduates have received rural medicine scholarships from Des Moines University.

Emily Van Roekel and Sam Elsner, who graduated from Simpson in April, have received a Rural Medicine Pathway Scholarship, which will pay half of their tuition at Des Moines University.

Van Roekel, whose hometown is Grinnell, has already started her Physician Assistant Studies program, while Elsner will be a first-year Podiatric Medicine student beginning in August. He is from Cedar Rapids.

As part of the scholarship agreement, both students have agreed to serve at least two years in a rural Iowa community, focusing on podiatric service, which involves the care of people with foot, ankle and lower leg problems.

“Both Sam and Emily are deeply committed to serving others, and their commitment to communities in their home state of Iowa is profound,” said Jackie Brittingham, chair of Simpson’s Department of Biology.

“The emphasis on service at Simpson College, from service learning courses to CVIL (Center for Vocation and Integrative Learning) programming to a vibrant Greek life and its philanthropy have provided students like Emily and Sam with the support they needed to fulfill their desire to cultivate a life of service,” she added.

Both Van Roekel and Elsner were biology majors at Simpson. Van Roekel had minors in chemistry and psychology, while Elsner had a minor in chemistry.

The two students took full advantage of their Simpson Experience and were involved in extra-curricular activities. Van Roekel was president of her sorority, and Elsner played on the Simpson football team.

“Both students were excellent examples of students who worked very hard to maintain a high grade-point average while enrolling in some of our most challenging science coursework,” Brittingham said.

While at Simpson, Elsner served an internship at Kossuth Regional Medical Center last summer, while Van Roekel was selected for an undergraduate research fellowship last summer at the University of Iowa.

“I am personally very proud to have worked with Sam and Emily during their time at Simpson, and I am certain that they will both serve their communities well as professionals in their respective clinical practices,” Brittingham said.

Simpson has a proud tradition of educating health professionals who return to their rural communities to serve. Jeff Wahl ‘01 is an orthopedic surgeon in his hometown of Jefferson, while Lonny Miller ’05 is a physician in his hometown of Creston.