Students learn from statesmen

Last week, Simpson College hosted former senators Alan Simpson and John Culver on campus for the annual Culver lecture.  While the senators were here, they visited with a few student groups and joined in classroom learning.Senator Culver speaks with Senior Management Students

In the Department of Business Administration and Economics, Senator Culver spoke with the Senior Management Seminar course of Professor Bob DeGraaff.  Before welcoming the senator, students brainstormed questions to ask the senator relating to their work on start-up businesses, small business management and non-profits as well as his advice for beginning a career and staying in Iowa after graduation. For almost an hour, the Senator answered these questions and more relating to his service to the country as a member of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  When asked his suggestions for how to start a successful career, the senator shared his experience and advice,

“Work hard and always look for new opportunities.  And don’t ever forget to continue to develop your reputation of effectiveness.  Your reputation will precede you.”

The senator also shared a personal story of standing for what you believe in and staying true to yourself from his first run for office.

Professor Meuller welcomes Senators Culver and Simpson to her Business Law courseThe following day, Senator Culver brought his friend and former colleague, Senator Alan Simpson with him to Professor Marilyn Mueller’s Business Law and Ethics course.  From a different perspective, these students asked focused questions relating to the business of congress, getting work done and working with those of differing opinions.  Both men spoke to the differences they see in congress today.

“When we were in office, there was a focus on finding common ground.  The folks on the opposite side of the aisle weren’t your enemies as they often are today.”

They counseled the students to take a different approach in their own work. One student asks a question during the visit of Senators CUlver and Simpson to the Business Law Class

Many students in the department pursue traditional business career paths, but others find success in public policy, politics, non-profits and other fields.  Thanks to the Culver Center for hosting Senators Culver and Simpson on campus and thanks to both for visiting with our students and sharing their wisdom    as they consider their career options!


Accounting students complete spring internships

He doesn’t pretend it wasn’t hard work and a big change, but Cameron Lundsford is enthusiastic in his endorsement of his recently completed internship at KPMG.  In January, Cameron few to Orlando, FL for a one week training prior to beginning his 3 month internship at this Big 4 accounting firm in Minneapolis.

“It was -20 when we left Minnesota and 80 in Florida.  We didn’t have a lot of free time, but the change in temperature was worth it!”

Cameron applied for an internship with the public accounting firm at ICORN day back in the fall.

“It is a good way to get your foot in the door.  The best way to get a public accounting job after graduation is to intern in the spring.”

This junior from the small town of Allerton, IA knew that moving to Minneapolis for the duration of the internship would be a big change, but he knew it was worth it.  So he found a place to stay, packed his bags and headed north.

An audit internship allows a college student to get into the work of an accounting firm before graduation.  After an intensive week of training, the students join teams of full-time employees as they work to complete audits of various clients.  It is an amazing experience of working long, hard days, an excellent preview of what the career will be.

Cameron is just one of the Simpson juniors who completed public accounting internships this spring.  Other students interned at firms in Des Moines. Kelsey McLaughlin dedicated herself to her internship at Ernst and Young for the last three months.

I had a mentor in the firm, someone who had just begun in August.  He knew how steep the learning curve would be and helped me out when I had questions.  I also had a senior partner I could ask questions of.  They are big on team-building at EY.

On their path to finish 150 credit hours by graduation to qualify to sit for the CPA exam, these students also take a couple classes in the Simpson evening program during the semester.

Starting the job search with some help from Career Services

Students in the Multimedia Journalism senior seminar course had some dedicated time for job preparation a few weeks ago.  Bobbi Meyer, Internship Coordinator in the Simpson Career Services office, visited the class in late February.  As a group of seniors who have Bobbi Meyer Visits MMJ Semiall had great internship experiences, this class was looking for deeper information about the job search process.  “We covered a few tips on applications and interviewing, but we spent more time talking about how they are feeling about the job search.  Many of these students are looking not just for a job, but a career at an organization they feel good about.  We discussed networking tips and where to search to find positions with the right fit so they can match their values to their career.”

Professor Brian Steffen had invited Bobbi to speak with the students to offer some additional advice as they begin their career search.

The students also discussed the recent change in attitudes towards careers.  The job they begin in May will not necessarily be the job they are at in 3 years which will be different still from the job they have 20 years from now.  The benefit of getting a degree from a college of liberal arts like Simpson is that the students have a broad education and have learned how to learn and adapt.  They will be able to switch career fields and thrive in new environments.

The coming weeks will bring a flurry of activity in their coursework and a number of job interviews.

Add an Event to the Web Calendar/Campus Events Newsletter

Add an Event to the Web Calendar/Campus Events Newsletter

  1. Navigate to the Simpson web site and click on Upcoming Events found on the right hand side of the page under the main picture.
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  2. Click on the Submit an Event button located on the right hand side of the page.
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  3. Login using your Simpson username and password in firstname.lastname format.
  4. Enter the event information into the form adding as much detail as you would like, including pictures, web sitelinks, etc.
  5. Under the Event Type, tag your event with Daily Event and/or Prominent Campus event in order for it to beincluded in the appropriate newsletter by clicking on the triangle and choosing the value from the drop down menu.
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  6. Finish by clicking on the submit event button at the bottom of the page.
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Each event entered must be approved by either PR and Marketing or StudentActivities. Please plan ahead to allow time for your event to be approved and placed in the web calendar and in the newsletters prior to your event. 

Katie Purvis – 2014

Katie Purvis at her internship at the Salisbury House. At the Salisbury House I am learning new skills that will better my understanding of what it takes to catalog, store and clean items; understand placement for different artifacts in the house based on the period that is chosen to be represented in the House’s life; as well as giving tours of Salisbury House.

I am learning how to apply what I learned in the classroom as well as from the department, to understand the concept of Public History and how it differs from teaching or working at the college level with history. These skills are a small scratch on the surface of what it takes to understand the logistics of running a Historical House, but the current Curator, Megan Stout-Sibbel, is fantastic at answering any questions and providing ways to learn these skills.  Having an Internship through Simpson has really solidified my reasoning behind being a History Major and has brought a good sense of direction of what I am to do with my career path when I graduate.

And the Winner of the Pi-K Run is…


On Friday, March 21st, Math Club & Tri Club celebrated Pi Day by hosting the first annual Pi-K run!! (3.14 kilometers is approximately 1.95 miles.) Students were given three pie related questions before the race. Each correct answer eliminated 30 seconds from their race time. The top three finishers received gift cards for pie at Funaros.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Laura Alt won with a time of 14:12 minus 1:30 for 3 correct math problems.

Meredith Harrison was second with a time of 14:00 minus 1:00 for 2 correct math problems.

Dillon Diering placed third with a time of 15:28 minus 1:00 for 2 correct math problems.







Thank you to all participants!

Students Find Success at Simpson College Career Fair!

Simpson College recently hosted a career fair for students interested in positions within the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.  Amongst the 25 employers in attendance was The IMT Group.  Locally run from its home office in West Des Moines, Iowa, The IMT Group has been a Midwest insurance company since it was founded in Wadena, Iowa in 1884.  The IMT Group’s website boasts to be an insurance company advanced in automation, having won awards for their innovative technology.  Being so innovative, it is no surprise that they caught the eye of many Simpson College Computer Science students.  Spenser Hardin and Casey Croson were among those students who attended and had the opportunity to connect with The IMT Group at the career fair.  Both Spenser and Casey now have stories to share of gainfully securing employment.

SpenserSpenser attended the fair seeking a summer internship in the area of computer information systems.   She first learned of the fair by an announcement made in one her classes and through the encouragement of Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Dr. Mark Brodie.  Spenser prepared for the fair by writing a resume and having it reviewed by Career Services’ Career Counselor, Laurie Dufoe.  She also selected a professionally appropriate outfit.  While at the event, Spenser took time introducing herself to each employer of interest.  She noted that all employers were very friendly and willing to talk, but students did need to come prepared with introductions and good questions.  After each conversation, she was intentional about asking for each employer’s business card for further connecting.  Following the fair, Spenser emailed those employers with whom she had a great conversation.

Spenser was offered three initial interviews with three different companies.  She shared that her set of interviews, phone and in-person, with the IMT Group went the best, and she was thrilled to have been offered a position.  Prior to interviews, Spenser took time researching the commonly asked interview questions and preparing both quality answers and examples to share during her conversations.  Spenser will be a full-time, paid intern, during the summer months.  Spenser stated, “I think it is very important for students to attend career fairs; without going, it would have taken me longer to get an internship.  It was wonderful to meet all the different employers and get their contact information.  My whole spring break was filled with interviews, so I generated a lot of activity by going to the fair.  I also think it’s important for students to go so that companies feel like it was worth their time to set up there.”

caseyCasey Croson shared a story similar to Spenser’s, but having gained a full-time position post-graduation.  Casey found out about the fair through her Simpson College email account and prepared by updating her resume and creating a LinkedIn profile.  Casey was glad she took the time to create a LinkedIn profile, because at The IMT Group’s booth, she had the opportunity to connect with them on-site using a provided tablet.  She, too, felt all employers were approachable, but recommended students be assertive by preparing a personal introduction.

Casey also had two interviews with The IMT Group: one over the phone and one in person.  To prepare, she researched the company and generated ideas for answers to questions she anticipated would be asked.  Casey will start as a full-time, entry-level programmer, following her graduation in June.

MeganMegan Wonsmos, Human Resource Generalist for The IMT Group, was in attendance for the S.T.E.M. Career Fair.  The IMT Group feels it important to support and build relationships with local colleges and shared their confidence in Simpson College’s programs.

Reflecting on the two Simpson students The IMT Group hired, Megan shared, “The students we hired both have great technical skills.  We have been very impressed with the education Simpson provides to their Information Technology students. The individuals have proved to have good knowledge and skills and the ability to communicate effectively and professionally.  Another great aspect of the individuals we hired from Simpson College was their attitude and willingness to learn.”

The S.T.E.M. Career Fair was one of three fairs hosted by Simpson College Career Services during the 2013-2014 academic year.  The Business and Communications Career Fair was held in September and The Human Services Career Fair will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, March 26th.  Students interested in the industries of Education, Government, Not for Profits, Social Services, Counseling, Leisure, and Ministry are invited to network with employers at the fair which will be held from 12:00p.m. to 2:00p.m. in Hubbell Hall of the Kent Campus Center.  More information can be found here.

For students considering attending the career fair, Megan prompted, “I cannot stress preparation enough.  Much of the job search process is actually done before an interview is even scheduled.  Always have an up-to-date polished resume.  There are several resources out there to help you prepare your resume.  Take advantage of them!  Before attending the fair, I highly suggest students to do research on the companies that will be in attendance. You can learn a lot about a company just from visiting their website.  One thing to keep in mind is that the real world is not organized by major, meaning keep an open mind as to what companies might have opportunities you’d be interested in.  Explore your opportunities; you just never know where you might land your dream job.”

Securing an internship or job can be daunting task, but Simpson College Career Services is committed to helping students from the opportunity search to the contract signature.

Simpson College Ecological Research Program

Want to do field research in ecology this summer?

We are excited to announce the Simpson College Ecological Research (SCER) Program. The SCER Program will provide hands-on research opportunities for up to 4 undergraduate students working with faculty members Ryan Rehmeier and Clint Meyer in the Simpson College Department of Biology and Environmental Science. The goal of this program is to provide students with critical skills, training, and experience in conducting ecological research. Students will work with faculty mentors to design and conduct experimental research that addresses novel ecological questions. General topics could include ecology of soil, plants, invertebrates, birds, reptiles, mammals, or streams. The primary research site is a 285-acre tract of restored grassland just 25 minutes from campus in the rolling hills of Marion County in south-central Iowa. The site was formerly managed for conventional agriculture but has been restored and currently comprises multiple habitat types (prairie, savannah, stream, wetland, pond, forest).


This opportunity is open to any current Simpson College student who will not graduate before Summer 2014. Preference will be given to students majoring or minoring in Biology or Environmental Science.

Stipend & Housing

Each student will receive a stipend of $3,500 over an 8-week period from June 2-July 28, 2014. Each student would also receive an additional $600 to be used toward summer housing. On-campus housing is available for approximately $9/day.

New History of Mathematics Course

The Simpson College Mathematics Department is excited to offer a new special topics course, Math 190: Classical Writings in Mathematics, during the Fall 2014 semester.  The class will be taught by Dr. Deb Czarneski.  Note that this course will not count as an elective in any major.  However, the course is designated Historical Perspective (HP) and Quantitative Reasoning (QR).

What is the course description? Students in the course will read, discuss, and analyze the historical context of important primary documents in the history of mathematics.  We will learn about key developments in mathematics and the motivation behind these developments from the original authors.  Topics include arithmetic operations, an axiomatic approach to geometry, decimal places, imaginary numbers, Pascal’s triangle, continued fractions and more.  All mathematics discussed will be mathematics developed before the introduction of calculus.

What is an example of a primary document in mathematics? Simon Stevin wrote a 1585 paper (which we will read and discuss in the course) first introducing the theory of decimal places.  He devotes a portion of the paper to argue why this representation is superior to fractional representation.  He also includes an appendix of how his invention could be used in surveying, measuring tapestry, and astronomy.

What are the prerequisites for the course?  None.

What general education designations will the course satisfy?  HP and QR

For more information contact Deb Czarneski.


From beneath whispering maples to the Windy City…

stephenThis past year was a whirlwind for ‘13 alum Stephen Henrich. After garnering acceptances from many of the nation’s top medical schools (Harvard, Yale, and Stanford were not among the least of these) and graduating from Simpson in April with triple majors in Biochemistry, Math, and Applied Philosophy, Henrich decided to pursue an MD/PhD dual degree track at Northwestern University in Chicago. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, this 7-8 year program is designed to train students who, like Stephen, are passionate about both medicine and scientific research to become practicing physician/scientists. Henrich’s primary research interest is in the field of nanotechnology, a passion which first developed at Simpson when conducting research under former Chair of the Dept. of Chemistry, Dr. Ron Warnet. Henrich chose to attend Northwestern, in part, because it has long been considered one of the world’s hubs for research in nanotechnology.

To further support his graduate research, Henrich was awarded a Ryan Fellowship, Northwestern University’s top award for graduate students in nanotechnology. The Ryan Fellowship “supports graduate students dedicated to the exploration of fundamental nanoscale science and to advancing this knowledge into practical applications of benefit to society.” For Henrich, this means using nanoscale science to design novel medical technologies which could one day improve the lives of his patients.

While Henrich is still uncertain in precisely which medical field he would like to conduct his research, he is currently exploring laboratories. Last summer he worked in the lab of Dr. Chad Mirkin, who was predicted to be a contender for the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry ( for his work in DNA nanotechnology, and for inventing a technique called Dip-Pen Nanolithography. This summer Henrich plans to rotate in two labs, both of which are applying innovations in nanotechnology to achieve different medical purposes. The first aims to treat patients with severe spinal cord injuries using customized nanoscale scaffolds, while the second is attempting to make devices called biosensors which could detect cancer at its earliest stages. Henrich began medical school at Northwestern this past fall, and will officially start the PhD phase of his training in 2015.