Public Service Success: Bill Northey Visits with Simpson Students

One man and his passion for Iowa’s agriculture led to a life of dedicated service. Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, spoke about his career in public service with a crowd of about 20 students and faculty Feb. 12 at the John C. Culver Public Policy Center.

Northey is a 1981 Iowa State University graduate who went back home to farm after college. He learned a lot from working on the family farm, and dabbled with politics as he watched his father be involved with various agriculture associations.

Northey has a strong line of family members involved in organizations including Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa Corn Growers. He admired his grandfather’s work with these organizations and he saw the “rewarding nature and influence of public service,” Northey said.

“Being able to influence what happens is important. My father was elected County Supervisor and he probably had more of an impact on people than I will. Being closely connected with people of the county where everyone knows you was a rewarding experience for my father and I watched how rewarding that was,” Northey said.

Northey described the current state of Iowa agriculture in his speech to students. “Agriculture is a huge entity. Iowa’s crop production is world class and we have been the top corn producer 10 years in a row. The economic impact is amazing for the state,” Northey said.

As the current legislative session is in full swing, Northey has some work to do to accomplish the goals his department has this term. Their biggest push is for water quality across the state. They are asking for a little over $6 million this year to work toward better water for Iowa’s people, as well as other initiatives.

Northey loves his job and the 335 employees he works with at the Department of Agriculture. The department handles gas pump inspections as well as feed, fertilizer, meat and dairy inspections.

“Getting around Iowa and meeting people, seeing what they are doing and finding out new things to share across the state to help other folks is one of my favorite parts of the job,” Northey said.

Northey has been around public service his entire life, but while in college he never thought he would be doing what he does today. Through his experience Northey has seen how accessible public service is to young people. He shares his advice with students with aspirations of political involvement or public service in general.

“So many young people don’t get engaged in public service. There is room at all levels of involvement. You need to be grounded in why you are doing it though. Everyone has that something they are passionate about and know more than others,” Northey said.

“Step out and engage yourself. Sometimes it will be uncomfortable, but it gets less scary. You just need to get out there and try.”

Northey is up for re-election this fall and plans to run again. His campaign has raised money so far, but hasn’t had too many events since Northey already travels the state on a regular basis. More events will be coming as the election draws closer.

Northey loves his job and is excited for another chance to serve Iowans. He said,“I can’t get enough of finding out what’s happening and helping people. If you love what you do you never have a day of work, and I am lucky to have that opportunity.”

Computer Science Club Gets New Shipment of Robot Parts

Simpson students got a new shipment of robot parts to get ready for the next MICS robot competition!

Computer Science Club Robot

2014 Bryan Summer Research Program Topics Announced

The Dr. Albert H. & Greta A. Bryan Summer Research Program in Mathematics is an opportunity to spend eight weeks of the summer engaging in mathematics at Simpson College.  Each summer six Simpson College students are selected to work on undergraduate research projects with Simpson College faculty members.  Each student receives a $3000 stipend and paid on-campus housing during the program.  In addition, the students receive funding to present their results at a national mathematics conference.

Dr. Bill Schellhorn will lead a project on analyzing draft strategies in professional sports leagues, and Dr. Aaron Santos will lead a project on collective behavior in complex systems.

For more information about the projects and the application process, click here.

2014 Bryan Summer Research Program Topics Announced

The Dr. Albert H. & Greta A. Bryan Summer Research Program in Mathematics is an opportunity to spend eight weeks of the summer engaging in mathematics at Simpson College.  Each summer six Simpson College students are selected to work on undergraduate research projects with Simpson College faculty members.  Each student receives a $3000 stipend and paid on-campus housing during the program.  In addition, the students receive funding to present their results at a national mathematics conference.

Dr. Bill Schellhorn will lead a project on analyzing draft strategies in professional sports leagues, and Dr. Aaron Santos will lead a project on collective behavior in complex systems.

For more information about the projects and the application process, visit the Bryan Summer Research Program website.

Senior considers graduate school abroad

Simpson students find their success all over the world.  One student, senior management and IMC major Lance Kramer is hoping to find the next step in his success story in across the Atlantic in England.

Lance has been a very involved student at Simpson; he worked at Holy Grounds coffee shop on campus, he interned at Community! Youth Concepts, Everybody Wins! Iowa and Parents Anonymous. He is also involved on campus in his fraternity, in AmeriCorps, Religious Life Community and Student Support Services.  Through the senior Strategic Management Seminar course, Lance is also participating in the Emerge@Simpson business incubator.  Rather than choosing an existing project already a part of the incubator, Lance and his team have set a goal to create a non-profit organization focused on agricultural education in the Caribbean.

He is hoping to leverage those experiences in graduate school, but he is not looking down the street, or in the next state.  No, Lance is turning to schools in England.  Lance had a great time studying abroad during his undergrad years, so he is applying to business schools in the London area for graduate school.

“I hope to expand my knowledge through an international experience in seeking a variety of new skills to apply toward my goal of becoming an executive director of a nonprofit organization.”

Lance has been accepted to three of his choice schools and is waiting to hear from the last one before making his decision.  Lance will start his graduate education in England in the fall and we look forward to seeing the good work he brings to the world in the coming years!

Undergraduate Research Publication: The International Journal of Difference Equations

The undergraduate research of Stephen Henrich, Jill Jessee, Blaise Mikels, and Jean Mullen was recently published in The International Journal of Difference Equations.  This publication was co-authored by Assistant Professor of Mathematics Heidi Berger, Assistant Professor of Biology Clint Meyer and David Beresford (Trent University). The paper was titled Application of Time Scales Calculus to the Growth and Development in Populations of Stomoxys calcitrans (Diptera: Muscidae).

The research was started in Summer 2010 during the Dr. Albert H. & Greta A. Bryan Summer Research Program at Simpson College and a grant from the Iowa Academy of Science.  It was completed during the 2010-11 academic year with additional support from a CURM mini-grant.

This group also presented their research at CUR’s Posters on the Hill session in Washington D.C. in April 2011.

Undergraduate Research Publication: The International Journal of Difference Equations

The undergraduate research of Stephen Henrich, Jill Jessee, Blaise Mikels, and Jean Mullen was recently published in The International Journal of Difference Equations.  This publication was co-authored by Assistant Professor of Mathematics Heidi Berger, Assistant Professor of Biology Clint Meyer and David Beresford (Trent University).  The paper was titled Application of Time Scales Calculus to the Growth and Development in Populations of Stomoxys calcitrans (Diptera: Muscidae).

The research was started in Summer 2010 during the Dr. Albert H. & Greta A. Bryan Summer Research Program at Simpson College and a grant from the Iowa Academy of Science.  It was completed during the 2010-11 academic year with additional support from a CURM mini-grant.

This group also presented their research at CUR’s Posters on the Hill session in Washington D.C. in April 2011.

Tetris Board Update

The Tetris board is currently in the basement of the Carver Science Building:

There is an Arduino driving the board right now. The code you are seeing is available via BitBucket at this link.

To Do:

  • The board needs to be straightened out.
  • Paper needs to be put on the board to cover it.
  • Some kind of controls need to be set up.
  • Tetris needs to be programmed.

Feel free to play around with programming the Arduino. See Dr. Craven for details.

Congratulate Jay Simmons

Share your own words of encouragement and congratulations to Jay Simmons as he is inaugurated on March 20, 2014 as Simpson College’s 23rd president.

Carver Clubs Host First Science Off

Question: Arrange these numbers from smallest to largest (see below for answer):

  • Number of stars in the Milky Way
  • Number of neurons in the human brain
  • Number of dollars in the national debt of the USA right now
  • Number of monthly Facebook users
  • Number of pizzas sold worldwide each year

ScienceOff (2)

Math Club partnered with Computer Science Club, Pre-Health Society, and Environmental Awareness Club to host the first Science Off on Thursday, January 30, 2014. The Science Off is a sciences-themed trivia competition similar to Jeopardy in teams. There are two rounds of 25 club-submitted questions each to build up the points and a final round of one question where the teams can wager as many or few points as they would like. The event is open to all undergraduates at Simpson.

Five teams of three turned out for the jovial competition. Math Club President Kelly Bruett and Vice President Taylor Gehrls served as moderators. Student Government Association provided popcorn and Math Club provided soda and M&M’s.

Andy Becker, Matt Christen, and Park Mikels as Team McWilliams won first place, $60 to keep, and $45 to put in a club budget of their choice. Zoey Hogue, Noah Hartman, and Connor McDermott as Team Overreacting won second place and $30. Andrew Dexter, Kayce Olbrich, and Lauren Schemmel as The Helicases (We Unzip Your Genes) won third place and $15.

This event was a success in bolstering the community atmosphere in Carver Science Center. Thanks to everyone who helped out or donated to the event!

Answer:

  • 1.3 billion monthly Facebook users
  • 5 billion pizzas sold worldwide per year
  • 85 – 100 billion neurons in the human brain
  • 400 billion stars in the Milky Way
  • $17.3 trillion in USA national debt