Dr. Jacki Janecek

When Simpson promotes small class sizes and professors who care about their students, they might sound like marketing slogans.

Dr. Jacki Janecek, who graduated from Simpson in 2012, knows otherwise.

When Janecek, who is originally from Des Plaines, Ill., was considering a college to attend, her plan was to find a place where she could play softball and study a major that would eventually allow her to work in a crime laboratory.

“I chose Simpson because of the atmosphere,” she says. “When I did an overnight visit with the softball team, I knew it was the college for me. I knew that I fit in well with the other students, and the professors and coaches seemed to truly care about me and my goals.”

As planned, Janecek majored in Forensic Science, but that’s about the only plan that remained the same.

Health issues kept her from playing softball. And a tour of the State of Iowa Crime Lab, organized by chemistry professor Ron Warnet, told her that she might want to consider a different career path.

“I discovered that I would most likely get very bored in a lab,” she says.

But Warnet had another idea, and helped Janecek obtain an internship at the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

“That is what turned me toward my future career,” she says. “I found the job of a forensic pathologist very interesting and decided that I wanted to go to medical school to become a forensic pathologist.”

To do so, Janecek added a second major: Biology. She credits Warnet, along with Jackie Brittingham and Patricia Singer, both professors of biology, with helping her reach her goals. In addition, she says Mike Hadden, a professor and athletic trainer in the Department of Sports Science and Health Education, were influential mentors.

This is the kind of difference a Simpson education can make. Today, she is a resident physician in neurology at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

“All of my professors were very interested in who I was and trying to help me achieve my goals,” Janecek says. “Their office doors were always open and they were always welcoming to any student. I never felt intimidated by my professors and always felt like I could ask them anything.

The result: Janecek felt “very prepared” for medical school.

“There were many lectures and topics that I had already heard during my years at Simpson, which made the transition to medical school easier. Also, during my time at Simpson I had to learn how to effectively study and how I learn best. That helped me to succeed in medical school because there is so much information to learn and too little time to learn it. My time at Simpson also allowed me to learn more about myself and my own values.”

Caring professors. A personalized education. Great preparation for the next career step.

That’s part of Janecek’s Simpson Experience. And if you’re considering the study of biology or are interested in a pre-med path, it could be yours, too.

“I would tell them that Simpson is a great choice and I would go there again if I was able to do it all over again,” she says. “Many medical schools are looking for students who are well rounded and who have varied interests/experiences outside of medicine and biology.  Simpson allows students to study multiple things, have multiple majors, and be involved in multiple on-campus groups, which is appealing to medical schools.  Simpson also offers many opportunities to study abroad, which can provide experiences that others are not fortunate enough to have at other colleges.”

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