Dr. Nate Thomson arrived on the Simpson campus with the perspective of a young man from Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
He left in 2008 with a double major in Biology and Spanish and a global perspective.
During his sophomore year, Thomson decided to study abroad in Nicaragua. He says the experience changed his life.
“I really credit my travel experiences at Simpson for helping shape me into a better person overall,” he says. Leaving the country fluent in Spanish was almost like icing on the cake of a broader life-changing learning experience”
Thomson says he knew he wanted to study pre-medicine when he chose Simpson.
“Simpson was far enough away from my hometown to feel like I was truly getting the college experience while still being reasonably close enough to get home when need be,” he says. “I thought that a smaller college community was best for me, being able to have a more intimate learning environment with professors and not teaching assistants. I loved the campus when I visited.”
At Simpson, he met professors who pushed him to excel, and who taught him the difference between earning an “A” in a class and truly learning the subject material.
Professor of Biology Jackie Brittingham, he says, “saw early on that I was an intelligent student who was happy with succeeding by putting in the bare minimum work necessary. She pressed and pressed, trying to get me to work for my academic success and to appreciate obtaining and retaining knowledge.”
Taking her physiology course, “I realized that learning was actually a rewarding endeavor. Studying just enough to get an ‘A’ on an exam wasn’t nearly as satisfying as learning concepts for life and the pursuit of gaining knowledge in a field you love.”
Thomson credits other professors, including Mark Bates, a professor of Spanish who taught him the language “and headed the greatest experience of my life, my semester in Nicaragua”; former biology professor Jeff Parmalee, “an enthusiastic professor who ingrained my love for anatomy;” and Ryan Rehmeier, an associate professor of biology who is “an excellent example of balancing a life in academics with a healthy, fit lifestyle, something I still take pride in today.”
But he says his experiences outside the classroom were equally important.
“I was involved in Greek Life with Alpha Tau Omega, which provided plenty of fun with all my brothers, but it also taught me excellent leadership skills serving many different roles in the fraternity.”
Thomson says he’s not sure anyone could be fully prepared for the academic rigors of medical school, “but Simpson had me as prepared as possible.”
Today, he is a resident physician in the Department of Radiology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
“It’s a lot of work, but the faculty and resources at Simpson will prepare you fully to succeed in medicine,” he says. “Utilize your advisor or additional faculty mentor to keep you focused and push you to your academic goals.
“I would also encourage everyone to take advantage of the numerous travel opportunities, as learning should not just be limited to the sciences. A global perspective will serve you well the rest of your life.”