Quotable Quotes, or, Why You Should Come to Simpson

Recently, alumni shared some of their thoughts about their Simpson experiences. Scroll down to see what Simpson graduates have to say about the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.

The learning and teaching in the CJ/Soc department at Simpson College is tailored to effective learning along with incorporating real world events into the curriculum to let you understand how the lecture ties into why you should care about what is being taught to you. Biggest benefit is that you have instructors that
have performed the job and just haven¹t studied in books and took classes to be an instructor, again, ties back to real world curriculum.

Steve Conner, 2013, Air Force intelligence analyst

My experience at Simpson gave me a concentrated academic approach to policing, and opened me up to other perspectives within the entire criminal justice field.

Ben Hektoen, 2009, Patrol Officer with the Iowa City Police Department


At Simpson, I learned how to write – really write. I notice technology hasn’t replaced the craft and I don’t think it ever will.

Laura Roan, Assistant Attorney General, Iowa Attorney General's Office

The Simpson Sociology and Criminal Justice Department helped me discover a natural sense of leadership through the teaching of critical thinking skills. These skills have been the foundation of my career.

Danielle Caswell, 2011, Program Supervisor of Services for People with Disabilities, Lutheran Services in Iowa

Through studying sociology at Simpson, I was taught to look deeper at the issues our communities face. As a service-minded student, I quickly became attached to direct service and “hands-on” volunteering. While that was beneficial to my growth as an individual and citizen of my community, my sociology classes required me to analyze the root causes that were creating the problems for many of the populations I served. By learning that many factors on multiple levels contribute to those issues, I became passionate about working with those communities to solve, not just alleviate, the problems.

Jorie Landers, 2012, Volunteer & Donations Coordinator at Central Iowa Shelter & Services

The Criminal Justice department at Simpson made it easy to come to class because the professors knew how to make the classes intriguing and engaging. Each class and professor brought something new to the table such as traveling to Des Moines to help middle school students have a mock trial or creating our own data set through campus questionnaires. In all cases, the classes were stimulating and made you want to take more and learn more. The members of the department were also extremely helpful and encouraging when it came to the idea of furthering my education.

Adrienne Gathman, 2011 graduate, Drake Law graduate 2014, 1st year PhD student at University of Texas in Dallas

Without Simpson, I would not be the passionate social worker that I am today. When I look back on my time there, I immediately smile. My professors were beyond amazing and taught me many valuable life lessons. I looked up to them in school and I still look up to them today. I feel like I have accomplished so much in my career due in large part to their guidance and support, I owe them the world. The small size of Simpson offered me the chance to really dive into my studies and engage in passionate classroom conversations with my professors and fellow students. I beam with pride every time I tell someone I graduated from Simpson College and that is a feeling that no one can ever take away from me.

Emmalee Bowlin
, 2007, Director for Warren County General Relief and the Warren County Necessity Pantry

As an older student, I was working full time and going to school four nights a week. Getting a degree was a goal I set for myself and worked diligently to achieve. While I’m not sure what role getting a degree has played in my career, it certainly hasn’t hurt! I encourage students of all ages to set a lifelong learning goal. Expanding your mind and thinking critically is important at any age. I am thankful every day that I reached my goal of getting a degree.

Joyce Flinn, 2006, Operations Division Administrator with the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

My SCJ classes gave me the necessary knowledge to become an agent of change in both Iowa and Argentina.

I figured I’d let you know that studying at Simpson as an international student was not an easy experience, but that made me get out of my comfort zone and I founded the Criminal Justice Club. I completed three full internships with DMPD and the Iowa Department of Public Safety, being probably the first non-native intern to receive security clearing for confidential information access (maybe I shouldn’t say that, but I was very happy they trusted me!).

Thanks to my friends from all over the world, I learned about diversity, and I lived it myself. Because of all my experiencies in the United States, I am now working on a project to train officers from the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Police force about diverse communities, based on sexual diversity (sexual orientation and gender identity), ethnic diversity (six main immigrant communities in BA), religious diversity (Judaism and Islam) and functional diversity (persons with body and audio-visual disabilities). The project has been approved by the Police Academy so I’m just finishing up the details.

Wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t because of my experiences at Simpson!

Gastón A. Akerman '12, former Bilingual Community Service Officer at West Des Moines PD. Current Public Safety Research Analyst at the Ministry of Justice & Security of the City of Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Since I was a small child, I dreamed of become a police officer, and without my education form Simpson College I wouldn’t be living that dream today. Simpson helped me prepare for my career in criminal juice allowed me to be the first Burlington Police Officer to be awarded the Woodard Award while at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.

Jordan Smith, '13, police officer at Burlington, Iowa.