The Research Team

Research Mentors

Dr. John PauleyProfessor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department

He grew up in Northeastern Massachusetts. After earning his BA degree in the Honors College with concentrations in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Dr. Pauley spent two years at Harvard University studying Theology and Philosophy at the Divinity School. From there, Dr. Pauley earned a MA and PhD in Philosophy from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At Simpson, Dr. Pauley teaches a wide variety of classes at all levels. His academic work focuses on Value Theory and Philosophy of Art. Throughout his career, Dr. Pauley has sought interdisciplinary modes of inquiry. In 2015 Dr. Pauley became involved in the Palmer Project after engaging with Simpson faculty and the student research team. The scope of the Palmer amaranth problem is multifaceted inspiring an interdisciplinary approach to the problem. This inspiration led to the development of a grant proposal that was accepted by the Roy J. Carver Foundation. Central to the grant is the advancement of an interdisciplinary curriculum – STEAM. He is currently developing his ideas and creating two new courses, Philosophy of Agriculture and the Philosophy of Sustainability, that will be added to the curriculum next year.

Dr. John Pauley at the Purdue Palmer amaranth Field Day

Dr. John Pauley at the Purdue Palmer amaranth Field Day in June 2016.

Dr. Clint Meyer – Associate Professor of Biology & Environmental Science and Co-Director of Undergraduate Research at Simpson

He grew up on a farm in northeast Nebraska. After earning his BS degree in Biology at Wayne State College, he earned his MS Degree in Entomology from Kansas State University and his PhD in Zoology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. At Simpson, Clint teaches a range of courses in the Department of Biology & Environmental Scientists that focus on plants, invertebrates, and freshwater ecology. His research interests include measuring impacts of habitat disturbance on plant and invertebrate communities, as well as factors important to recovery of those habitats through restoration. Clint joined The Palmer Amaranth project in 2017. The project allows Clint to combine his background in agriculture with his research interests in assessing the impacts of invasive species. He offers a biological perspective to help improve model parameters and arrive at potential solutions to combat this invasive weed.


Dr. Clint Meyer studies a specimen in the field.

Former Research Mentors

Dr. Rick Spellerberg – Mathematics Professor

The Student Team

Senior Research Assistants

Maggie Long ’18 – Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Mathematics

Zoe Muehleip, ’17 – Applied Philosophy

Leslie Decker ’19 – Biochemistry, Mathematics

Research Assistants

Jacob Bruns ’19 – Applied Philosophy, Economics: Finance

Marisa DeForest ’19 – Biochemistry

Drew Roen ’19 – Computer Science, Mathematics

Geoff Converse ’17 – Computer Science, Mathematics

Former Research Assistants

Molly Monk ’16 – International Relations, Political Science

Park Mikels ’17 – Applied Philosophy, Computer Science, Mathematics

Teig Loge ’17 – Computer Science, Mathematics

Tre Loge ’19 – Computer science, Mathematics

Andrea Van Wyk ’19 – Chemistry, Mathematics

The Palmer Project team during the summer of 2016. Top: Dr. Rick Spellerberg, Park Mikels, Tre Loge, Dr. John Pauley. Bottom: Zoe Muehleip, Andrea Van Wyk, Leslie Decker, Maggie Long

Board of Advisors

Dr. Brady Spangenberg – Business Systems and Analytics Manager, US crop at BASF in the Research Triangle of North Carolina. Dr. Spangenberg is a 2004 Graduate of Simpson College and also holds an MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from Purdue University. Dr. Spangenberg has recently been named a Visiting Scholar at Simpson College for the academic year 2017-2018, and he has been helping to direct and inform our research since May of 2016. 

Dr. Michael Gunderson – Associate Professor and Associate Director of Research at Purdue University Center for Food and Agricultural Business. Dr. Gunderson has been helping inform the project since Summer of 2016 and continues to advise the team about the economics surrounding agriculture and weed infestations.


The Fleming Foundation
Dr. Albert H. & Greta A. Bryan ’57
Ned and Mickey Burmeister