We enjoy seeing our alums and connecting them with current students. Anne Alesch was recently back on campus to be part of a panel for the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Anne, a graduate of Vanderbilt Divinity School, is now Bereavement Coordinator for Unity Point Hospice in Des Moines. In her words, “My position gives me the opportunity to be present with patients and families during some of the most emotionally significant times of their lives. Majoring in religion at Simpson prepared me for this experience because it encouraged me to reflect on difficult questions and be comfortable with a certain degree of ambiguity. This disposition allows me to journey with patients and their families as they discern meaning from their joys and sufferings.”
In December about thirty people gathered at Prof. Gammon’s house in Des Moines for a festive study break and end of semester gathering. We typically have at least one meal-centered event each semester to celebrate milestones in students’ lives.
Simpson religion alums are currently engaged in a wide variety of roles, serving the community and the world. Below are profiles of a few more of our recent alums.
Miranda Knake Kracke (2010) switched her religion minor to a major toward the end of her junior year. After graduation, she earned a Master of Social Work degree from UNI (2012), and now works as a forensic interviewer for Allen Child Protection Center. Miranda writes, “My senior research project for my religion major about using the spiritual as part of the healing process for sexual abuse survivors translated into my graduate work and my job. The writing skills stressed in my religion courses as well as presenting my papers have helped me write reports and speak in front of others. Every day I work with people of all ages, backgrounds, and religions, and the discussions and assignments from my religion classes helped me as I entered the social work field.”
Miranda volunteered with Best Buddies during her time at Simpson and also worked at ChildServe in Johnston. “These experiences were instrumental in my desire to continue advocating for those who have special needs.”
After graduating from Simpson in 2011, Luke Weber spent a year volunteering in Denver and living in a community with other volunteers. Now Luke is employed by St. Francis Center. In his words, “I am following two joys that I discovered through Simpson: life in Denver and working with the homeless. I am employed at St. Francis Center, a local day shelter for the homeless and impoverished. I assist clients with basic needs such as clothing, mail, storage, shower facilities, and other services while maintaining a safe environment for the guests.” In May 2014 Luke had a chance to connect with Simpson’s annual “Call of Service” class when some of the students volunteered at St. Francis Center.
Jasmine (Crosser) Reidemann was the Social Media Manager for Kellogg Company at their global headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan. “I work with mega brands like Cheez-It® and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes ®. I think all my Humanities courses helped me develop the writing and communication skills that I need every day within the professional workplace.” Jasmine recently accepted a position in Kentucky and has just relocated there to work with social media for another large company.
Nate Nims, who graduated from Drew University Theological School in 2010, is pastor at First United Methodist Church in Waterloo, Iowa. “During my time at Simpson I was academically and spiritually prepared for both seminary and my career in the church. It was through the religion department and religious life community that I was able to discern my future while being challenged and supported to grow as a student, person of faith and global citizen.”
Our alums often return to campus to visit with current students or attend lectures. Several alums attended the 2012 Matthew Simpson Lecture and post-lecture reception with Dr. Anatanand Ramachan. In November, alums were among the attendees at the annual Senior Presentations.
For information about the 2014 Matthew Simpson Lecture, scheduled for Tuesday, October 14 at 7:00 p.m., click here.