Maddie Besack awarded BBB Grant

Madelyne (Maddie) Besack was awarded a Beta Beta Beta Research Grant for her project “Characterization of Wnt Pathway Disruption on Axis Patterning in Nematostella vectensis”. Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society, recognizes projects from select undergraduate student members of the honor society on the basis of a research proposal reviewed by regional directors.

Maddie and her research partner, John Greaves are continuing their work on this exciting line of investigation in a novel model organism, Nematostella vectensis, the starlet sea anemone. This simple organism holds a unique branch point on the tree of life and may hold keys to understanding the molecular regulation of traits shared with more complex animals, including humans. This project aims to further characterize the cellular events that regulate axis formation in this organism and to better understand how intracellular signaling molecules in the Wnt pathway, when disrupted by pharmacological agents, alter morphogenesis in these organisms. This team’s preliminary data show severe disruption of axis specification and in some cases we observed duplication of the axis with dramatic consequences for the embryos.

This project has also been supported by a Better FUTURES for Iowans grant from the University of Iowa for undergraduate research, and the Iowa Science Foundation (J. Brittingham).

Other recent Beta Beta Beta Research Grant award recipients from Simpson College include John Greaves (2012-2013) and Allison Boardman (2008-2009).

Finding success in Emerge@Simpson

Abby Miller is a senior double majoring in management and music.  This semester, she is taking the Senior Management Seminar with Professor Bob DeGraaff and has gotten involved with the Emerge@Simpson business incubator.  Abby is working on a project new this semester called Modern Dickens.Modern Dickens logo

Modern Dickens has been a collaboration of Emerge@Simpson Director, Chris Draper, the Iowa Arts Council and Des Moines Social Club.  Thus far, the project has seen two serial novels to completion with e-books published in 2011 and 2013.  Moving into a project of the incubator, a team of students is determining feasibility, setting long-term goals and handling the hands-on marketing and promotion of the project and eventually the 3rd book.

Students in the Senior Management Seminar had a choice of projects on which they would like to work.  After some deliberation, Abby chose the Modern Dickens project because of her creative interests and the similarities between a marketing a written work and her future goal of owning a recording studio.

Simpson-College-Press LogoIn collaboration with her team members and the Simpson College Department of English, Abby has developed Simpson College Press, attracted writers to submit their work for chapters 1 and 2 of the newest book, and worked on long-term planning goals.

Emerge@Simpson provides students with the opportunity to get hands-on experience with start-up businesses, moving the businesses in new directions, developing goals, performing analysis of objectives and more.  The students involved with the projects will get a stake in any future profitable ventures that come out of their work.

Any budding authors interested in submitting work to be considered should go to

Undergraduate Research: Radio Frequencies, Parties, and Roads

You are invited to attend the annual Watson Lecture on November 6, 2013 from 1:00-2:00pm in Hubbell Hall.  The year the talk will be given by Debra Czarneski, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Simpson College and the Director of Undergraduate Research.

Deb will be talking about her experiences advising summer undergraduate research in mathematics at Simpson College.  Her talk will describe past projects, the benefits of undergraduate research for students, faculty and institutions, and her vision of summer undergraduate research at Simpson College.

This event is part of the First Wednesday series of campus-wide convocations.

Simpson Student Media attends 92nd Annual ACP/CMA National College Media Convention

Seven students traveled to New Orleans, La. last weekend to soak in all things journalism.

Hoda Kotb

Hoda Kotb speaks to audience.

Sponsored by Associated Collegiate Press and College Media Association, the National College Media Convention has more than 360 educational sessions based on media studies. Keynote speakers included Dateline NBC correspondent Hoda Kotb and The New Orleans Times-Picayune photojournalist Ted Jackson.

Simpson Student Media’s leaders fell in love with the sights, sounds, beauty and culture of New Orleans. More importantly, though, they brought back lessons to implement into The Simpsonian, KSTM-FM radio and I.D. Magazine.

“I took away lots of valuable information and tips relating to every aspect of student media, from writing and design to internships and portfolios,” she said. Junior multimedia journalism major Megan Quick said when presented with the opportunity to attend, she knew she had to immediately take advantage of this conference.

Quick is currently the director for I.D. Magazine and was able to attend sessions pertaining to magazine design and content.

Critiques, workshops and trade shows also provided students chances to review their media outlets. The Simpsonian was able to receive critiques from media professionals and other collegiate advisers. Students also had a chance to keep up with all sessions through live-tweeting under the the hashtag: #collegemedia13.

Some takeaways are:


For senior integrated marketing communications Julia Warfield, the conference was an opportunity to not only hear from media professionals, but also other students in her shoes. Warfield serves as The Simpsonian’s 2013-14 editor-in-chief.

“I chose to go on this trip because I think it is a great way to network and get ideas from other student journalists,” she said. “Also, the presenters are extremely talented and a great resource for networking after college.”

After attending the conference, Warfield came back to Simpson College with a realization about the industry. In a world with breaking news and a constant sense of urgency, sometimes people forget what matters, she said.

“The biggest thing I took away from this trip was that journalists need to take a step back and remember they are a person before they are a journalist,” she said. “You need to take time to get to know your subjects as a person. Don’t be so focused on getting the story right away.”

Mary Beth TinkerStudents had a chance to meet American free speech activist Mary Beth Tinker. Tinker is famous for her role in the 1969 Tinker vs. Des Moines Supreme Court case, where the Court ruled that the First Amendment applied to speech in public schools.

Tinker is currently participating in the Tinker Tour, a special project of the Student Press Law Center.

Senior Sarina Rhinehart is currently pursuing studies in integrated marketing communications and political science. She serves as Simpson Student Media’s director of marketing and the conference provided her with ideas on how other newspapers and media outlets market their brand.

“I went on this trip expecting to get some great ideas from other schools that we could implement into The Simpsonian,” she said.

She did just that. She attended sessions about eye-catching column ideas, potential news ideas and advertising strategies for college newspapers.

Rhinehart said the conference taught her a valuable lesson about Simpson College and the success students can have at this college.

“The biggest thing I took away from this trip was the Simpson Student Media really can compete with state schools,” she said. “When comparing our product to theirs, we are doing an amazing job here at Simpson.”

And not only did students learn how to market Simpson Student Media’s brand, they also came home with ideas on how to build their own brand. Communications is competitive, but with strong portfolios, resumes and online profiles, students can come out on top.

“I learned how to use my strengths when trying to get a job and learned about how crucial an e-portfolio is,” senior Renee Castenson said.

During free time, students and advisers from across the nation were able to try different cuisines and partake in New Orleans festivities. Simpson Student Media’s adviser, Mark Siebert, provided students with ideas on what to take advantage of, such as the Halloween parade and popular restaurants.

Students came back from the conference feeling even more fired up about journalism and media studies. With a little more than halfway to go for the semester, the staff is working hard to strengthen Simpson Student Media in print, web, video and radio.

Math Club Pumpkin Display

Last night, several members of the Math Club carved pumpkins at our monthly meeting.  The pumpkins are now on display outside Carver Science.

London Has a Way with Food

I’m going to dispel an American myth about the food in England. Right now. To be honest, it’s not as bad as everyone says. I was prepared to experience the worst, but I really haven’t found anything that is especially bad. It’s definitely different than American food, but that comes with the territory. In fact, they have a lot of good dishes here: fish n’ chips, beans on toast, shepherd’s pie, and pork pie to name a few.

Catching a bite to eat at a great Chinese place.

Catching a bite to eat at a great Chinese place in Chinatown.

With the diversity of the city, there are also loads of international cuisines. And when you have the chance to taste authentic Indian or Ethiopian food, you kind of have to try it to find out what you’ve been missing.

The best place to get your international food fix? You’ll definitely find it at one of London’s markets. In my opinion, that’s the best place to get it. For one, it’s cheaper than going to a restaurant (believe me). At the markets, though, you can usually find some pretty awesome street music as well.

Don’t fret if you need to get your American food fix. You can find a taste of home on just about every street corner. There are McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC restaurants pretty much everywhere. I suppose that comes in handy if you’re a picky eater, too. But where’s the fun in that?

Part of any study abroad experience is trying new things. So naturally, trying some new types of foods made it to the top of my list. And it’s amazing to have the opportunity to try so many different types of food. I’ll be honest; I’ve never been very adventurous with food. But hey, I’ve been learning to adapt to a completely different culture. I think I can handle some new foods in my life.

Travel to Chicago for May Term 2014

May Term 2014: Domestic Travel Option

Comm. 161: Media & Communication in Chicago

Instructor: Jane Murphy

 Cost: $600 (includes transportation, lodging and meals)

Travel Dates: May 12 – May 16

Explore the dynamic role of media and Public Relations in the Midwest’s premier economic and cultural city.  

Students will spend the second week of the term in the city, visiting media outlets, public relations agencies and other organizations, getting a close-up look at the significant role of media and communication in a variety of settings. During the first week of the term, students will research and develop corporate profiles of the organizations they’ll visit. The final week will be spent writing and sharing how the experience can help shape students’ academic and career goals.

Don’t miss out on a chance to make valuable connections in the Windy City.  (Extra Credit option for students who enroll: How did Chicago earn its nickname?)

Contact Jane Murphy for more information on this May Term course.

Previewing The Simpsonian’s Oct. 31 Issue

The Simpsonian strives to provide students, faculty and staff with timely and relevant news. As a digital first outlet, we’ve boosted our web presence.

Some stories to expect for you to read this week are:

Your sports news has all of the updates on where Simpson Athletics stands in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Be sure to grab a copy when The Simpsonian hits the stands around campus on Thursday, Oct. 31.

Follow @SimpsonianSC and @SimpAthletics for all your updates at Simpson College.

Math Club Pumpkin Carving and Meeting

Come Carve Pumpkins with Math Club Today at 4 p.m. in Carver 323!

Bring T-shirt ideas and any revision ideas for the Constitution.

The Society of Developmental Biology’s Regional Conference

We were given the chance from a Simpson Travel Grant to travel to George Washington University in St. Louis for The Society of Developmental Biology’s Regional Conference. At the conference we were able to present our yearlong independent research project as well as listen to other oral, and poster presentations enlightening us of new areas and model organisms in the realm of developmental biology. It was great to be able to communicate with the science community at the conference gaining knowledge and curiosity as well as forming new questions and hypotheses around our project.

~John Greaves