Iowa Section of MAA

The Iowa Section of the MAA recently held their annual meeting at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.  Deb Czarneski, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Simpson College, organized the meeting as vice chair of the section.

In addition, Deb gave a talk about the summer research that she advised during Summer 2013 as part of the Bryan Summer Research Program at Simpson College.  Her research students found critical location in the road network of Indianola, Iowa.  (Click here for more information about the project.)

Next year, the annual meeting with be held at Clark College.  Deb will be the chair of this meeting.

Students learn to solder during a Computer Science Club meeting

Students recently learned to solder during a Computer Science Club meeting in October. Students assembled a LCD shield for an Arduino, and a USB interface board.

Students learn to solder during a Computer Science Club meeting

Students learn to solder during a Computer Science Club meeting

Iowa Council of Teachers of Mathematics Presentation on HiMCM

On October 23, Rick Spellerberg, Professor of Mathematics at Simpson, Vicki Hamdorf, a math teacher at North Cedar High School, and a group of North Cedar High School students gave a presentation at the Iowa Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual meeting at Iowa State University.  The student presenters participated in the High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM) all four years of high school.

In the presentation, Rick introduced the attendees to the competition and talked about the value of competition from a college professor’s perspective.  For Vicki’s part, she talked about the logistics involved in organizing the event and gave tips on things to do to assure the students have an enjoyable experience.  The students added their thoughts on what they valued from the experience of competing.

North Cedar is one of the first schools from Iowa that started participating in the competition due to outreach activities at Simpson College.  Vicki also served as a Master Teacher in the first summer workshop Simpson hosted that prepared teachers and students for the competition.


Three students attend the Women in Computing Conference

Dr. Lydia Sinapova took three Simpson students to the October 18-19 Midwest conference for Women in Computing in Kansas City. Keynote speakers included Nora Denzel, a former executive from HP and IBM, and Sara Granger, an award winning innovator in digital media.

“The WINK WIC Conference was an incredible experience. There were so many women who are successful in the CS and IT fields. Not only did I learn an impossible amount of information about how to be in high demand in Computer Science when I’m looking for a job, but I was able to get rid of any anxiety I had about feeling inferior as a woman in a male dominated field. This conference is a wonderful resource for any woman looking to get a career in the computer science or IT fields. I would definitely go again.” – Anna Littlejohn

“Attending the MINK WIC conference was an eye opening experience for me. It helped me to realize how many women have overcome the same feelings of inadequacy from being minority in the computer science field. The knowledge that I gained will help me move forward. Knowing that such successful women that have had the same feelings that I am experiencing and have been in my shoes makes me even more determined to claim and defend my position in this field.” - Kendra Klocke


2013 MINK WIC Conference, photo from ACM at

2013 MINK WIC Conference, photo from ACM at


Simpson College and Drake Law School announce new 3+3 pathway

Simpson College and Drake Law School have joined together to create a new opportunity for our students. Under the exclusive new 3+3 pathway, students can complete both a Simpson undergraduate degree and a Drake law degree in six years, all at a substantial reduction in expense.

After the signing of the official agreement, Dean Allen Vestal of the Drake Law School told Drake Law and Simpson College 3 + 3 programof one Simpson business graduate who had done great work at Drake Law including serving as editor of the law review.  She has gone on to great success in her career and is now a top lawyer in the area.  Drake Law wanted to design a pathway to make the process easier and the costs lower for high caliber students from Simpson to pursue a Drake Law degree.

One of the primary goals of the 3+3 pathway is to reduce the cost of higher education, a priority for both Simpson and Drake Law. Taking one year off the normal seven-year progression will significantly reduce student loan balances and get participants into law practice one year earlier. To further reduce the cost, Drake Law has committed special scholarships for all participants in the 3+3 pathway with Simpson.

Additionally, students will have opportunities to engage with the law school experience while at Simpson.  During their second year, students pursuing this pathway will take Introduction to American Law at the Drake Law School.  These students will also be invited to participate in Drake Law activities including debate, special events and guest lectures during their years at Simpson.  These experiences will give students exposure to the law school experience prior even to beginning the law school admissions process.

Speaking of the new opportunity, Simpson Business Administration and Economics Professor and advisor for students in the pathway Mark Juffernbruch, explained, “Numerous Simpson business students have pursued their J.D. at Drake Law and gone on to successful careers in various areas of business law.  This new pathway makes it easier for Simpson students to pursue an education and career in the law”

The pathway is open to students of any major, but the Department of Business Administration and Economics is particularly enthusiastic about the opportunity with the significant number of our students who pursue a law degree after graduation from Simpson.

Interested students should contact Mark Juffernbruch at  The primary contact at Drake Law School is Miguel Schor.

The Best Diversity Experience… Ever!

London is a city filled with diversity. And what better way to experience that diversity than to actually live on a university campus. That’s definitely one of the best parts about our program. Studying at Roehampton gives us a chance to meet students from all different walks of life.

I’m in classes with people that have completely different views from me. They’re from all over the world, and they have some pretty awesome backgrounds. It’s a big change from what I’m used to in Iowa. Don’t get me wrong I love Iowa, but there’s just something amazing about the way London can broaden your perspective.

I know that probably sounds really cheesy. Like, what’s the point of that? Isn’t that what school is for? I mean, at Simpson we take diversity classes and it’s part of our curriculum. It’s kind of expected that we have a broad worldview, right? That’s what I thought too, until I arrived in London. There’s just no substitute for an experience like this. Book learning is great, but you can only learn so much. An experience is priceless.

I spent a day learning about Hampton Court Palace with some new friends from Germany and France.

Spending the day learning about Hampton Court Palace with some new friends from Germany and France.

I’ve spent a lot of time interacting with my peers at Roehampton, and it’s truly been an eye-opening experience. I’ve been able to learn so much from the new friends I’ve made here, and I’m extremely thankful for that. I’ve learned more about their cultures. I’ve learned about what they think of Americans. And I’ve definitely spent some time rethinking my views on certain things we do in America.

Though the old Simpson Experience Abroad in London was great, having the opportunity to live among peers from all different countries makes this experience truly amazing! New friends, a fantastic experience, and a completely different worldview; what more could a person ask for?

Simpson Debate earns 2nd place

Simpson College’s Parliamentary Debate Team traveled last weekend to Mankato, MN for the Parliamentary League of the Upper Midwest’s tournament at Bethany Lutheran College.  This is just the second time that Simpson has fielded a Parli team and their results show the team’s growth and opportunities for advancement.  The team lost to St. Olaf on a 2-1 decision in the final round.

Members of the Parli Team include Ethan Fredrick, Jacy Gomez, Emma Kain Tegan Ethan Fredrick at Bethany Lutheran PLUM DebateJarchow, Tyler Millard, & Kiley Murray

Ethan also won a 2nd place Speaker Award.

The Speech and Debate team will travel again next weekend to Huntington, WV for the 5th Annual Chief Justice Invitational & Pi Kappa Delta Southeast Province Comprehensive Tournament. The tournament will be held on the campus of Marshall University in Huntington, WV.

Free-range culture


Simpson sophomore Tori Halloran takes a break on Brick Lane

Simpson sophomore Tori Halloran takes a break on Brick Lane

Living in a city like London has a lot artistic perks, compared to Indianola. There’s free museums practically everywhere, so no matter what your favorite style is you are bound to find a haunt dedicated to your preferred artists. Even people who aren’t ‘art fans’ enjoy a good visit to the Tate Modern Art Museum. But a big perk to studying abroad isn’t just the well known spaces. Take a spin on a bike or just pound the sidewalks and you’ll find my favorite pieces- on the walls and streets of London!

by Kate Hayden

Street art culture is one of the more unique quirks I’ve discovered living here. Whether you find it a public nuisance or intriguing, it’s all over the city. You are just as likely to find it behind your flat as you will in central London, although in my opinion the best pieces are usually found in and around Brick Lane, an area in East London known as much for it’s graffiti artists as the local vintage and ‘indie’ shopping. Banksy, the most well-known British street artist, has previously left his mark here, although to my disappointment he’s currently in New York City, so no new pieces for a while. There’s even walking tours devoted to graffiti: Alternative London hosts walking and bike tours to find art only the locals could tell you about. I’ve already booked my tour for the end of October (it’s popular!) and I’m so excited for it.

B. Brave

Generally, the most creative and diverse neighborhoods are the most tolerant of street art, so it’s not hard to find a great little ethnic food stall when you’re hungry or independent designer’s shop for a unique gift. Whether it’s as small as a sticker on the back of a lightpost or as large as a two-story wall, keep your eyes spotted for some creative pieces when you visit cities abroad. It’ll open your eyes to a completely different way of life from our campus town!

Stoplight Sticker



London + art go together for me. Follow me on Twitter for more snapshots of London walls and city life!

Service in India

Simpson’s focus on a well-rounded education extends beyond the classroom.  Simpson College Junior Taylor Sharp is active in the Business Administration and Economics department in the classroom, in the Enactus student organization (she’s the President of the group this year) and in the Emerge@Simpson business incubator.  But recently, Taylor moved beyond the classroom walls and beyond our campus and spent the summer doing service work in India.  Simpson student Madison Boswell interviewed Taylor about her experiences.

Summer well spent: Serving people in India

By: Madison Boswell ‘13

With only a hiking backpack and a passion for service and travel, Simpson junior Taylor Sharp had the experience of a lifetime this summer.

With her enthusiasm for service work, Sharp took it upon herself to find unique service opportunities in India – and then she raised the money to pay for it.

“I have always felt like I had a calling to go to India,” said Sharp, whose hometown in Kearney, Neb. “I have always wanted to go there and I love doing service. So I decided to seize the opportunity of summer and kind of combined the two and did service in India.

“ I wanted to do extended service, so I literally Googled service in India, and a group called Cross Cultural Solutions came up, and they had opportunities that seemed really appealing and fit what I wanted to do. I had incredible support while fundraising, and covered the rest of the cost on my own.”

While in India, Sharp had the opportunity to volunteer as an English and math teacher with Cross Cultural Solutions. At the school she worked mainly one-on-one with students who had learning and physical disabilities.

In India, the physically and mentally disabled tend to be ignored in the regular school system. The school in which Sharp worked, Harmony Through Education, is fairly new, starting only three to four years ago. Among the 30 students who attend Harmony Through Education there is a wide range in age from five to 22.

Part of Sharp’s learning experience included adapting to communication with the students, as Hindi is the predominant language in that region.

“We did a couple Hindi lessons, and I was never fluent by any means, but it was enough to communicate with hand gestures,” she said. “During my time there I grew really close to these students. They are beautiful people and I had spoken with them predominantly in Hindi. On the day I left, I started crying and a couple of them started crying as we exchanged hugs. When I started walking towards my car to leave they all shouted as a class ‘We will miss you’ in English and it was the most beautiful moment. It was fantastic.”

Having not traveled extensively before this summer, Sharp had the opportunity to spend a month backpacking through Europe before her month spent in India.

“This experience has given me the travel bug, a lot, but it has also solidified my interest in working in the non-profit field,” she said. “It opened my eyes up to the limited perspective that I had before of what I wanted to do, but now I am much more open to a wider range of things. International non-profit work has now been added to the list of post-graduation ideas.”

Sharp hopes to travel abroad through Simpson to Israel during May term and travel domestically next summer when she also hopes to continue her service work with an non-profit internship.