Math and Economics Research Project

As a double major in Mathematics and Economics: Finance I have developed a fascination in what makes certain groups or companies perform better than others do. I am currently using Graph Theory to show how efficient networks are formed. Through this research I have gained more understanding of how organizations can form efficient networks, which can benefit any organization.  I am currently undecided on what career path I am going to pursue, however I am certain that with the skills set I have developed while at Simpson I will be able to pursue any option I choose.

During my research I looked into network formation based on cost and benefit. A network evolves when two entities mutually agree to create or remove a connection between them. Each connection has a cost and benefit associated with it. For example consider knowledge. Any given entity will gain knowledge from any other entity in which it is directly connected to. However, direct connections are not the only source of knowledge. An entity can and more than likely will gain knowledge from other entities in which it is not directly connected to. Depending on the cost and benefit there is a given network structure that will be the most efficient.

~Heather Malbon

Important Upcoming Dates: December 2013

Winter Break, Friday December 20th through Friday, January 10th

Classes will not be held Friday, December 20th through Friday, January 10th.  Offices will close at 4:30pm on Monday, December 23rd and remained closed until Thursday, January 2nd.

Please Have a Happy Holiday!

New Student Orientation, Thursday, January 9th, West Des Moines Campus

This is an important event for new students. Become acquainted with your fellow classmates, receive your Simpson email account and access to SCHOLAR (Simpson’s online learning tool), and have your photo taken for your student ID. This is an information session where you can feel free to ask any last minute questions as you start your journey towards Success!

Spring ’14 Classes Start, Saturday, January 11th

It’s the start of Spring and Term 3!  If you haven’t registered yet, it isn’t too late to do so now.  Check out our schedules and class options here.

Graduate Programs Information Session, Saturday, January 18th, West Des Moines Campus

Please join us for an overview of our Masters of Arts in Teaching, Transition-to-Teaching, and Masters of Criminal Justice programs.  Representatives from each program will be available to provide general information, along with more detailed answers to any questions you may have. If you would like to read more about the program prior to this event, please visit the links above. We hope to see you there!

Girl Scouts Learn Lego Mindstorms Programming


On Sunday November 17, the CIS 300 Project Management Class taught a local Girl Scout troop how to program Lego Mindstorm robots. The girl scouts competed in teams to successfully navigate a course set out on a track.

The project management students had been planning this event all semester. Students developed project documents such as a Project Charter, a Work Breakdown Structure, and a Time Schedule. Before the event, the project management students worked out the bugs with two test runs.

The Girl Scouts were excited, and Simpson students applied what they learned in Project Management class. This was great hands-on learning for collaborative leadership, and a service to the community.



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Religion Senior Paper Presentations

The Simpson community is invited to hear senior religion majors present their research projects this Thursday, November 21, at 7:00 pm in Pioneer. Note the five presenters with their topics and approximate starting times below.

7:00 Becca Cali, “Mujeristas and Biblical Authority: Threat or Thrive?”
7:15 Ryan Willoughby, “The King James Bible: The Past’s Present to the Present”
7:30 Jessica Prowant, “Through Darkness and Pain: God’s Presence during Child Abuse and the Healing Process”
7:45 Jessica Olson, “The Beauty of Desire: Reordering Desire through Pauline tradition and the Song of Songs”
8:00 Annie Fullas, “Religious Liberty and Equal Protection: What To Do When Intrinsic Rights Conflict”

Weather Announcements

Bad Weather?  Wondering if it will affect your classes?  Call the Simpson College Weather line at 515-961-1414!

Culture comparison

Remembrance Day, Britian

The U.K. celebrates Remembrance Day (or ‘Poppy Day’) with parades on Nov. 10th (instead of calling it Veteran’s Day)

Recently my study abroad reflection professor has been focusing on the ‘iceberg effect’ a new country has on long-term visitors. The idea, in a nutshell, is that not all cultural differences are obvious. For instance, in Britain you suddenly have a different style of the English language or cars driving on opposite sides of the road- those are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ differences, visible deviations above the ‘ocean’ that don’t really effect you on a deeper level (unless you stop paying attention while crossing the road). But below the water, the iceberg grows bigger, and you run into bigger stumbling blocks that make it harder to adjust to your host country.

For me, a below-the-surface block has had a lot more to do with school then I expected. The UK’s idea of a ‘free press’ is in evolution right now- after a series of phone-hacking scandals fronted by news editors, the Leveson Inquiry was established to explore the possibilities of press regulations. Obviously, I’m still learning journalism from my English professors, but I’m also learning how my industry thrives and struggles in countries without the U.S. Constitution’s famous first amendment. And beyond media business, there’s also the little things, like grammar differences, that affects how I write stories and how my professor grades them.

This week’s assignment from my Simpson professor has the class taking a look at our home culture in Iowa (for the majority of us) and making a list of things our friends from England might stumble over if they came to visit. I thought I’d share mostly above-the-water differences they might experience if they visited the very rural town I spent my childhood in (population 45).

1) Smiling at strangers- people are very private here, and smiling at someone you don’t know seems off-putting. People not only smiled at each other in my town, but if you drove past someone on a gravel road you’d do the obligatory head nod and two-to-three finger farmer’s wave.

2) Small talk- with the bank clerk, grocery cashier, or stranger in line behind you at the bakery. Again, people in the U.K. are private, and asking someone’s name or how their day is going seems intrusive, although some people who recognize your American accent will appreciate the friendliness.

3) Tipping servers- people visiting from England might not realize how rude not tipping someone at a restaurant or coffee shop can seem at home, because they don’t tip at all. Add to that the currency exchange/insecurity over how much to leave, and you’d probably have one very confused foreigner.

Culture permeates a lot deeper then I had realized. I’m really interested in seeing what U.K. habits I bring home to the U.S. (to coffee shop baristas: I promise I’ll keep tipping).


For more London life, follow me on Twitter or Instagram: @xkatehayden

London: Safe and Sound

It’s amazing how time flies. I know that’s cliché. But, wow! I only have a month left in London, and there are just so many things I will miss. I think the main thing I will miss, though, is the safety of the city. I would have never thought I would be comfortable going out on my own in a city like London.

I’m sure that sounds crazy to some of you. Heck, two months ago it would have sounded crazy to me! London is a big city, so naturally I expected it to be similar to New York City or Chicago. I wasn’t expecting anything to happen to me, but I figured I wouldn’t feel very comfortable going places alone. There are a lot of crowded areas in the city, so I just assumed there would be a lot of crime. Let’s just say that was a bad assumption on my part.

That’s not to say there isn’t any crime in London. There is, and it’s something that the city even acknowledges. They have adverts in busses, in trains and in other crowded areas reminding people to keep an eye on their belongings. Because when it starts to get crowded, people end up getting a little closer. And of course that’s typically when people get pickpocketed. As long as you have an eye on your belongings, though, there is nothing to worry about.

Another measure that the city uses to keep people safe is security cameras. You can find them pretty much everywhere. You’ll find them on the street corners, in the busses and trains and in just about every shop. We even have one in the entrance of our flat building! There are also signs posted everywhere notifying people that there are security cameras in operation.

Personally, I think it’s pretty cool that the city and its businesses are making such an effort to keep people safe. They don’t try to hide that there is crime. Instead, they take a proactive stance by reminding people that they need to be mindful of their things. The publicity that is created also acts as a criminal deterrent.

As a small town Iowa kid, I really didn’t know what to expect in London. I honestly was a little bit uneasy before I arrived. After all, I’d never lived in a city as large as London. Once I saw all the ads and the security measures London takes to deter crime, I definitely found myself resting a little easier. And for those of you thinking about London in 2015, I hope you’ll rest a little bit easier knowing that London is a very safe city.

Alumni News

Calling all Continuing & Graduate Alumni and Current Students:

Please join Continuing & Graduate Programs for our first ever Alumni Happy Hour event!  We will be meeting at Dos Rios in Des Moines, from 5 to 7pm on Wednesday, January 22nd.  Simpson College President, Dr. Jay Simmons, will even be in attendance. Appetizers will be provided by the college. Bar service available.

Please RSVP to the link below if you are interested in joining us for this special event!

Join the Continuing & Graduate Alumni for Happy Hour!

Speaker Series Recap

This fall, Continuing & Graduate Programs proudly announced the members of our Thirty Over 30 class. Thirty Over 30 recognizes the accomplishments and achievements of Simpson’s most successful adult students and graduates. Honorees were nominated by their advisors based on GPA, professional experience, volunteer service, and community involvement. As part of the application process, each honoree has shared a part of their ‘Simpson experience’ with us. You can find their stories here. Each one is unique and inspiring. Please join us as we congratulate and celebrate these vibrant students who enrich our campus on a daily basis.

Jade Ahrens
Diogenes Ayala
Kelly Babberl
Howard Berger
Joy Biott
Jared Bremer
Stephen Conner
Jill Cunningham
Martha Esser
Adrian Flores
Brady Fry
Julie Heck
Karin Hooper
Bryan Ingram
Brian Kemmerer
Mark McCulloch
Jamie Marco
Renee Parsons
Kandi Petry
Ann Powell
Kelli Jurey Reetz
Sara Ringgenberg
Mario Rodriguez
Amy Rowe
Beth Speltz
Clara Stults
Rachel Villarreal
Jami Vollmecke
Katherine Willcox

Travel Course Opportunity

by Andrea Biklen

Dr. John Bolen will be leading a travel course to Japan in early summer 2014. Over the years that Dr. Bolen has taught the Japan: Kimonos and Blue Jeans course, many students have expressed an interest in travelling with him to Japan. We are offering an opportunity for you to join his travel course.

Dr. Bolen has written this description of the trip: “We are flying to Fukuoka, Japan on June 1 where we will spend six days, and from which we will travel by bullet train to Hiroshima and spend the day. We will also visit The Shrine of Tenjin, the 150 tall Jibbu Kanen, Canal City, and attend a baseball game. We will then travel by bullet train and spend three days in the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto. Kyoto is known for its beautiful gardens and temples.  Then we will fly back to the States on June 11 from Osaka, Japan.  We will also have an opportunity to meet adult students at Fukuoka jo Gakuin, where I used to teach.  We will see Japanese gardens, temples, castles and so much of the Japanese culture.”

The course dates will range between May 27 and July 17, with the actual travel occurring June 1-11. Preliminary costs are estimated to be $4700, which include: all travel, lodging, $60/day for meals, and the baseball game. Anyone participating in this travel course will be registered as a student. The class can be taken for 4 credits ($1420) or can be audited for 1 credit ($184).

If you have any interest in this travel course, Dr. Bolen will be holding an information session in early December. Even if you are not a current student at Simpson College, you can take advantage of this travel opportunity. Call 515-309-3099 for more information.