Devun Miller: DuPont Pioneer

Devun Miller

Business Management – 2013

International Documentation Intern – DuPont Pioneer

DuPont Pioneer is a business dedicated to farmers, livestock producers and grain and oilseed processors.

How has Simpson College’s classes and professors prepared him for his internship experience?

“The biggest class for me coming into my internship that helped me with my experience was CIS145. CIS145 provided me with a lot of background knowledge with Microsoft Office. At my internship, I use Microsoft Excel, Word and Access pretty regularly. These programs help me stay organized with everything I do with DuPont Pioneer. I put a lot of data used for tracking different shipments with different countries into both Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel. I also use these programs to analyze ways to become more efficient. As far as relationships with professors, I would say Simpson College’s professors have helped me become more professional with my internship. It always helps when you can go to specific professors and talk to them about your internship and get valuable feedback about some questions or advice you may need.”

What strengths did he gain within the position?

“There is so much I have taken away from this internship, and it has all come from getting experience in the work field. Going in, I was very new and inexperienced at everything I did with DuPont Pioneer’s distribution department. I had limited knowledge on international business and specific countries, but that has definitely increased as I have dealt with numerous ocean shipments (both seed and non-seed) to specific countries worldwide. I have learned how to communicate more specifically, especially through emails to other countries. You learn fast about how it can be difficult at times to express what the problem is at your end. You also learn fast about how to get the recipient to understand what point you’re trying to get across. I have also learned a great deal about both the agricultural and international business fields. There is always so much going on, and you have to consistently be a lifetime learner. You always need to be updated on current issues. Along with gaining experience at my internship, I have met some great people at DuPont Pioneer. I have had the chance to network with them and go out to formal business dinners with partners of the departments. They have really taught me a lot and make me feel right at home. I never hesitate to ask questions because they are always willing to lend me a hand.”

How did he find out about this internship?

“I obtained this internship in August 2012. I received an email about it from Simpson College Career Services. Since I had previously worked for DuPont Pioneer for the last 8 summers detasseling, I thought this opportunity would be great for me. I already had my foot in the door. I ended up getting an interview, and after passing a drug test, they hired me within a week or two. Career Services (Bobbi Meyer and Professor Marilyn Mueller) have helped me prepare my resume with my current job duties and broadening my experiences with this internship as well.”

What is Miller’s advice for students?

“I would recommend that students get involved with as many different experiences as possible for your resume. You want to have a diverse portfolio, and that comes with activities and internships that you get involved with during school. Also, before applying for an internship, make sure you know exactly what the company does. Do some research. You always want to make sure you are getting involved with something that will help you in the long run. Lastly, I would just say make as many professional relationships as possible, whether it be in an internship or groups that you may be involved with. It is all about you know now, and when looking for a job, it is always good to have your foot in the door somewhere because of someone you know. I know that has come in handy for me with a few job offers I have already received.”



Getting to Know: Ryan Rohlf ’14

Ryan has been an active member of the Simpson College community from the start of his time here in 2010.  Ryan chatted with us earlier this week about his current project – an internship with the Des Moines Arts Festival®.


So Ryan, what are you doing this summer?

Since the beginning of May, I’ve been working for the Des Moines Arts Festival®. Our offices are located in the Greater Des Moines Partnership building. It’s been a blast, and I can’t believe the Festival is almost here.  The Festival is June 28-30-I’d love to see Simpson students and alums out in force! 


Any particular projects you’ve been working on?

One of the big projects I’ve worked on was making the program for the Festival.  We finished the major work last weekend, and it was sent to print on Tuesday. My task was working on the layout and design for the program.  That’s one of the best things about working for a non-profit – I get to do work of real value that I can add to my portfolio.


What are you involved in on campus?

I’ve completed a few internships during my time at Simpson.  In the spring, I interned with  Simpson’s Department of Marketing and Public Relations.  That experience was another one where I had the opportunity to create some lasting materials for my portfolio.  I’ve also interned at a corporate training firm where I developed layout designs for their training materials.Relgious Life Community

On campus I’m involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America, the Student Alumni Association and the Religious Life Community.  I’ve been able to use the graphic design and communication skills I’ve learned to help these groups as well.


You’re going to be a senior in the fall, anything fun on the horizon?

I’m headed to London in September with Professor Brian Steffen and some other amazing students.  We’ll be taking classes at the University of Roehampton in addition to the two with Professor Steffen.  I’m excited to learn more about British culture through coursework and the folks I’ll be living with in the dorms. I will be focusing on learning more about British Advertising Culture.

When I get back in the spring, I’ll take the final courses for my majors in Integrated Marketing Communications and Marketing and begin looking for a full-time position after graduation.  I’m hoping to get a position at a local advertising agency or television network in account management.  The experiences I’ve had through my coursework and internships through Simpson have augmented my portfolio and given me great preparation, so I’m hopeful!


Thanks Ryan!  Good luck at the Arts Festival!

Thanks. I’d like to leave a few last words if I could: When I came to Simpson, I thought I’d have maybe one internship, after my junior year. Needless to say, because of our AWESOME faculty and staff, my plans changed. I got really serious about professional development and preparing myself to land a job after graduation. I would have never DREAMED of having all the amazing opportunities I have had if it wasn’t for Simpson.

Simpson College changed my life. It taught me to dream big, work hard and be all I can be. I’m so thankful I chose Simpson!! 

Getting to Know: Mike Prindle, Assistant Professor of Accounting

Simpson College has a very strong program in accounting that prepares students for the CPA exams and successful professional futures.  Professor Prindle is another one of our faculty who make that possible.

What is your field of study and Teaching?

Accounting and Finance

Do you have any areas of specialization that fall into this field?

Financial Statement Analysis

What classes do you teach?

Principles of Accounting, Advanced Accounting, Governmental Accounting, Accounting Information Systems, Corporate Finance

Have you taught any May Terms in your time at Simpson?

I haven’t yet, but I’m looking at the development of a course in financial statement analysis

What can you tell us about your family?

 I have a wife, Maureen, son Jason, daughter Jennifer, a Boston Terrier named Lilly and 2 grandchildren.  I’m incredibly proud of my kids and what they’ve accomplished!

What else should we know about you?

I want my students to become successful members of society with lucrative and enjoyable careers and great personal lives.

I spend time watching documentaries on TV, and I would love to be able to finger-pick guitar like Gordon Lightfoot or James Taylor. I’d also like to have their ability to write songs and collect royalties like they do – then I could retire.  Until that miracle happens, I’m happy to work with Simpson students!

Determining Critical Locations in Indianola, IA

We are members of the Bryan Summer Research Program. This program has been funded by Simpson alums Dr. Albert and Greta Bryan. Specifically, we are working with Dr. Deb Czarneski on identifying critical locations in a city. Our research is based on the work of Urska Demsar, Olga Spatenkova and Kirsi Virrantaus in their paper, Identifying Critical Locations in a Spatial Network with Graph Theory. These researchers worked to find critical locations in the city of Helsinki, Finland. We plan to implement some of their methods in the map of Indianola.

Critical locations are defined as areas in infrastructure that are important to the navigation of a city. Once these locations are removed, the navigation of the city is disrupted. For example, if a bridge over a river was removed, it would be more difficult and perhaps impossible to navigate across the river. We will be using graph theory to determine these critical locations. Graph theory is the study of the relationships between objects in a given problem. Often, vertices represent these objects and edges correspond to the relationships between them. In our application, the vertices represent road segments and the edges represent intersections between these road segments.

Through computer programming, we are working to implement algorithms that calculate the importance of given vertices. We plan to use cut vertices and the centrality measure of betweenness to determine their individual importance. Our research can be used to prepare for acts of terrorism or natural disasters. It also allows for efficient repair of the navigation of a city.

~Casey Croson, Louis Joslyn, and Sara Reed

Link to Team Simpson

Like a well-oiled chain the days almost silently tick by, each revolution of our pedals brings us one day closer to RAGBRAI XLI. In 29 days (or about 4 short weeks) we will begin our two-wheel trek across Iowa together. Thanks to the hard work of Chris Goodale, Aaron Page, Erin Herren and Bob Lane – just four of the links in a chain that will make sure your personal efforts will continue to propel you forward – most of the organizing details are done. While we focus on things like gathering the needed snacks and beverages, your pre-RAGBRAI focus should be seat time on the bike and preparing and packing your gear.

This past weekend, my husband and I biked to Perry using the new bike trail on a training ride. I couldn’t help but marvel at the number of cycling friends we came across quite unexpectedly. After two friends spontaneously joined us for the entire return trip home it dawned on me that other riders might benefit from connecting with other cycling enthusiasts. While we don’t expect to try and coordinate a specific event like a team training ride we will provide this blog as a way to ‘link’ our team virtually before the start of RAGBRAI. Anyone is welcome – encouraged, in fact – to post your training ride, ask a biking question or even just share a funny biking story. Think of a post as a link in a chain – with each virtual link we’ll make the chain that is Team Simpson. Our rider list and their home towns are listed on the Team Simpson web site. As you can see we not only have riders in the numerous communities close to campus but Team Simpson also has riders from many states across the country.

Whether your chain is already slicked down with a state-of-the-art synthetic or slightly rusty from a lack of use I encourage you to check out our packing list to help you prepare. I have found RAGBRAI’s training blog to be helpful and their 15 week training plan to be an informative benchmark by which to judge your own training. RAGBRAI’s main blog always has new information, including daily posts on recent route inspection rides. The BikeIowa web site is a great place to find local rides and cycling news. The Des Moines bike collective publishes a weekly ride list that some Team Simpson members may be able to join and they also publish a comprehensive listing of central Iowa bike trail maps as well.

Do you have a ‘link’ that’s been particularly helpful? Share it. Need more information or concerned about a particular detail? Don’t be afraid to ask. Hopefully we’ll continue to add links to the Team Simpson chain. After all, it’s hard to get anywhere on a bike without a chain. Be safe on your training rides and keep the rubber on the road.


Getting to Know: Grace Christensen ’14

Rising senior Grace Christensen has a great summer ahead of her!  She’s getting ready for her last year at Simpson and she has the pleasure of working at Arnolds Park Amusement Park in northern Iowa, on Lake Okoboji.  Grace took some time to tell us more about her internship at Arnolds Park and reflect on her time at Simpson.

Tell us about your internshipKids and Ferris Wheel at Arnolds Park

I got connected with the marketing internship through a friend who was the same intern last summer. My boss, Di Lorenzen is awesome. She assigns me certain projects and tasks daily to work on.

The biggest project I have been involved in so far has been helping start up a Birthday Party room inside the park. I was responsible for creating a flyer, poster, and press release for the Party Room for potential customers. I also ordered all the decorations and typed up details of what should be placed on our website for the Birthday Party Room. Now, we are just waiting for someone to book the room!

I also created flyers and will be in charge of our monthly “Family Fun Night” in June, July, and August. “Family Fun Night” is held out on our green space called Preservation Plaza. The event will allow families to bring their kids to the Plaza to participate in a fun activity such as a sidewalk chalk drawing contest, sand castle contest, or kite-flying. Everyone in attendance at family fun night also receives free merchandise. In June, kids will receive a free kite and a free Roller Coasters at Arnolds Parkyo-yo! I’m very excited to be a part of this event!

Every weekend, the Park also has concerts on Preservation Plaza. I will work at every concert handing out free t-shirts, taking pictures, and just interacting with the crowd. For each concert, I also created a press release and email blast to send to all of Arnolds Park Amusement Park’s media outlets, sponsors, and donors.

Along with these many activities and events I get to be apart of, the one I am most looking forward to is called Making Waves for Children. Arnolds Park Amusement Park, along with many sponsors in the area teamed up with Sandford Hospital to bring kids suffering a severe illness, and their families, to Arnolds Park Amusement Park to play in the Park and participate in other activities within the area, such as playing in the water park at Bridges Bay Resort, enjoying a pizza party, and playing Bingo with awesome prizes. I’m really looking forward to helping out at this event!

What about your experiences at Simpson?  What have you been involved in on campus?

I chose Simpson because I like its smaller size and being able to talk to my professors about certain assignments or projects face to face was important to me. I also love how close Simpson is to Des Moines!

I was a member of the Simpsonian as its copy editor, and I enjoy playing intramural co-ed indoor volleyball and co-ed sand volleyball at Simpson. My favorite class was probably Intro to Communication Studies with Lisa Carponelli because it was the class that made me want to continue to pursue a degree in Integrated Marketing Communication. She made the class so much fun, and I learned a ton!


Thanks to Grace for giving us the scoop on summer activities at Arnolds Park!  Head up there this summer and say hi.

Summer Lunch/Dessert Lecture Series has begun!

The summer Lunch/Dessert Lecture Series has begun! Each Wednesday, we will gather at Carver Atrium at noon for lunch and dessert. You should bring a sack lunch and we will provide the dessert. At 12:30, we will go to Jordan Lecture Hall for a short research talk.

Please contact Heidi Berger ( if you plan to attend so that dessert can be planned accordingly. All talks are general audience talks. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend.

Here is the summer schedule…

June 12: Paul Craven
Creating and formatting a book and the “flipped” classroom experience
June 19: Dave Richmond
Iowa Courthouse images
June 26: Laura Coombs (note: location change to Dirlam Lounge)
How students develop purpose during college
July 3: Diogenes Ayala
Crime and Technology
July 10: Shane Cox
May term course exploring the 2008 financial crisis
July 17: Jennifer Del Pino
Globalizing Simpson…what does it look like?
July 24: Ecological Research Group mentored by Clint Meyer and Ryan Rehmeier
July 31: Bryan Summer Research Program Students, mentored by Bill Schellhorn and Deb Czarneski

Research presentations by the MAA NREUP research group (mentored by Heidi Berger and Clint Meyer), the chemistry research group (mentored by Derek Lyons), and the research in business group (mentored by Marilyn Mueller) will be scheduled soon. Check back for dates and times.

Getting to Know: Matt Nichols ’15

Matt Nichols is a rising junior from Urbandale, Iowa.  He is studying Economics: Finance and Mathematics.  His focus on finance has led to an interest in careers in securities brokerage, fund management or financial advising.

How I Got into Finance/Business

My dad got me involved in online stock trading in high school, and I was instantly hooked on investing. I continued trading through my first two years of college, and also began trading stock options and commodities futures during my sophomore year. I grew to enjoy anything involving business or finance, especially fundamental and technical analysis of investments.


Experience in the Business Field

A huge aspect of my financial experience has been through online securities trading. I’ve traded stocks, futures, options, etc. for the last few years. I have gained not only experience in trading but I’ve also found my passion and future career path. I have also been involved in unique trading opportunities, such as the 2013 CME Commodities Trading Challenge. In this worldwide competition, four other Simpson students and I competed against 324 schools across the globe in a three-week futures-trading competition. Our team gained a huge amount of experience trading on the world-renown CQG IC trading system, and we advanced as high as 7th in the world.

Aside from investing, I have gained business experience through jobs and internships. I’m currently the project lead for the Green Financial Exchange (GFEX) project through Simpson’s business incubator, Emerge. In this position, I trade renewable energy certificates on the gTrader online trading platform, move markets through publications on social media sites, recruit potential clients, and manage client portfolios. I am also an intern with Vision Financial Group. In this position, I meet with potential clients, learn financial planning strategies, manage financial plans and portfolios, and gain real-world experience in a potential future career as a financial advisor.

I have also gained a great deal of business experience through my involvement with 7 officers of the Enactus Group 2012-2013Enactus at Simpson. As Enactus’ Vice President and representative on the Student Organizational Board, my involvement has brought growth in areas of business expertise, leadership, and community involvement. Through Enactus, I also meet countless contacts outside of Simpson, and I gained excellent experience working with members of the community and the business world.


Other Activities

Outside of school, I work as a student ambassador in the office of admissions at Simpson. I also serve and bartend at Glen Oaks Country Club and roof houses on weekends.

I am extensively involved in RLC at Simpson, playing in the Quench band and leading Calm Café every week. I also am involved in countless intramural sports. I enjoy doing just about everything in my free time, and my favorite activities include playing sports and video games, cycling, and playing guitar.

Thanks Matt!  He’s a humble guy, so we’ll point out that Matt also won the Outstanding Junior for the 2012-2013 academic year!  We’re excited to see what success Matt finds in his last year at Simpson and in his career.

Getting to Know: Professor Mark Green

It’s another Getting to Know Wednesday!  Today we’re getting to know Professor Mark Green a bit better. We’ll have an extra Getting to Know student feature later this week-be on the lookout.

What is your field of study and teaching?

Management and Marketing


What classes do you teach?

Management, Marketing, Advertising, International Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  I taught “International Marketing” and “Introduction to Marketing Strategy” at the Consortium Institute of Management and Business Analysis in Paderno del Grappa, Italy 2011-2012


We hear you’re into Russia.

I guess you could say that.  My BA is in Russian Literature (Lawrence University) and I have an MA and PhD in Russian Linguistics from Cornell University.  I studied business in an MBA program at Syracuse University.  I’ve had the opportunity to travel multiple times to the former Soviet Union to teach.  The US Agency for International Development funded a trip in the mid-1990s where I taught marketing in Nizhny Novgorod.  I also work with local organizations as they develop their business and cultural relationships with Russia and former Soviet republics.


 What else should we know about you?

      I play bass and guitar with the Sonny Humbucker Band; the members include Simpson colleagues David Wolf (associate professor of English) and Mark Juffernbruch (associate professor of accounting). Rounding out the lineup are David Kochel, a political consultant with Red Wave Communications, and Thom Wright, an architect who is currently employed by Pigott Inc.

I also write academic articles, essays, book chapters and have co-authored a textbook, Global Marketing, published by Pearson/Prentice Hall. Through my writing I hope to further to academic study of marketing and management and provide resources for students.

You can find me on twitter @Sonnybassman.

Getting to Know: Jazmin Rubel

Continuing our series of profiles this summer, we had the opportunity to sit down last week with Jazmin Rubel, rising Simpson College senior, to hear her success story.


Jazmin, what are you up to this summer?

I have an internship at the Wakonda Club as Youth Director of Activities.  The work is mostly event planning for youth activities.  Each Friday, we have an event at the pool that I plan and manage for kids at the club.  Additionally, I have had the opportunity to work on some other events like the Lobster Fest and some weddings.  I get to plan the event from start to finish including decorations, setup and so forth.  I like the opportunity to see different people and have different experiences each day-I don’t think I’d do well sitting at a desk all day, so this is perfect.


How did you become interested in this opportunity?

I did an internship last summer at The Wright Place in Norwalk doing event planning, mostly for weddings.  I really enjoyed that experience and it piqued my interest in event planning, so I was looking for an opportunity this summer in that same line of work.  I came across the internship at the Wakonda Club through a program that Simpson Career Services put on. They brought in employers and we got to ask them questions. I spoke with the General Manager of Wakonda afterward, we had a good conversation and I got an interview.


Are you involved in other activities on campus?

So many things over the last 3 years.  I did cheerleading for awhile, swim team for a year, I was Director of Digital and Social Media for The Simpsonian, SIFE activities (now Enactus), and most of my time has been spent as a Community Advisor and Student Hall Coordinator in the First-Year Residence Halls.  My senior year, I’ll be the Student Hall Coordinator again, but other than that, I’ll be spending my time looking for a job for after graduation. 


Do you have any idea of what kind of job you’re looking for?

I’d like to find an opportunity to work in big event planning, hopefully not focused exclusively on weddings so I can have some weekends free! I would also enjoy finding an opportunity to do some traveling while I work.


Thanks for talking with us Jazmin!  Enjoy the summer break!