By Steffi S. Lee ‘16
For 2003 graduate Ben Parrott, it was a study abroad adventure to Nicaragua during his junior year that solidified his Simpson success.
In Nicaragua, he was able to work as an intern for a local non-governmental organization, which involved observing municipal elections in the undeveloped interior of the country.
“The study abroad experience in Nicaragua was a formative experience for me, both in terms of solidifying my Spanish language skills and broadening my world view,” Parrott said. “That trip led me to pursue a career in the public service, which eventually led me to law school and on to my present career.”
He added: “I feel like Simpson really prepared me to go to law school and to succeed in law school.” He graduated from Drake Law School in 2006.
At Simpson, Parrott completed a double-major in Spanish and Political Science, as well as a triple-minor in Sports Administration, History and Latin American Studies. He obviously wasted no time in taking advantage of his Simpson experience.
“I think with a Political Science major and a History minor, those are really writing-intensive area kind of studies,” he said. “My writing skills allowed me to succeed in law school and I credit Simpson with that. I think, also, those same areas of studies helped out with critical thinking and analytical skills. Those are important to the law.”
And Parrott said he continues to use these skills in his daily law work.
Parrott works in the Criminal Appeals Division in the Iowa Attorney General’s office. Out of the 99 counties in Iowa, all criminal appeals are handled in Des Moines, where professionals like Parrott argue the law.
But Parrott took away more from his Simpson education than how to research and write.
“There’s a course I remember from Professor (John) Pauley in particular, Political Philosophy,” he said. “I still have the book and I still apply some of the things that I learned today in my work.”
At Simpson, students have the advantage of receiving a well-rounded education, primarily because of the liberal arts curriculum. For Parrott, a liberal arts education provided him with a strong foundation to understand a variety of aspects in the legal world.
“I feel strongly about the liberal arts way of learning,” Parrott said. “I think it helps you learn to be well-rounded. It helps to come from a liberal arts background since it dips your toes in a lot of different areas.”
Despite a heavy course load and multiple areas of studies, Parrott incorporated athletics and clubs in his collegiate career. During his time at Simpson, he played soccer and was part of a foreign language honor society.
“When you’re in a sport at the same time as a full-time student, it demands that you structure your time, and also keeps you focused and out of trouble,” he said.
Parrott encourages current and prospective students of Simpson to soak up every opportunity of college life. He emphasizes that Simpson prepares students to be successful in their lives after college.
“A piece of advice I got going in to college that I tried to apply and would pass on is, don’t waste any of your time there,” he said. “Don’t waste any credits. Make sure you get the most out of them.”