Growing up in the land of corn, Waterloo’s Jessie Hoffman ’17 had dreams of going to the coast and being a marine biologist. When she first came to Simpson, she had no idea how to get there.
Simpson professor Dr. Clint Meyer listened to Jessie’s desires and suggested a degree in environmental science. And the rest is history, which she also minored in.
“Dr. Walden, my first history professor, showed me that I can combine my love of history and passion for science,” Jessie said. “I don’t have to choose between one field or the other.”
While supporting her, Jessie’s professors always challenged her to help her grow as a student. Twice, she traveled with Dr. Ryan Rehmeier: once to Australia for a semester and once to Honduras for May term.
“I absolutely would not be where I am without his guidance and unyielding ability to make me see that I can do anything I put my mind to,” she said.
Having such dedicated professors during her undergrad makes Jessie nervous to move on to graduate school. Her new professors will have big shoes to fill.
“I brag about my professors daily, and I am going to be so disappointed in my professors at graduate school,” she said. “No one will ever live up to my extremely high expectations of faculty that Simpson has given me.”
A supportive faculty isn’t the only thing Simpson gave Jessie. She took full advantage of the opportunities to get involved on campus, filling several roles over her four years, many of them as a leader. From serving as a teaching assistant, working on- and off-campus jobs, being a member of Pi Beta Phi, Phi Alpha Theta and Beta Beta Beta honors societies, she was never bored.
“There have been many late nights in Carver studying, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and having dance parties with my favorite people on campus – many of them including my best friends and my sorority sisters,” Jessie said. “There have also been many late nights in Pi Beta Phi, watching movies, having spa nights, hanging out with my roommates, and making sure our doors are open to anyone who wants to come in and share in the laughs.”
After all her hard work, Jessie is headed for Hawaii Pacific University in the fall to get her Master’s of Science in Marine Science, using chemistry, physics, biology and the connections to the environment and climate change. While studying, she will also be doing research and working as a graduate assistant.
Jessie could’ve never done all this without allowing herself to take chances and do all that she wanted to do. That’s why she encourages other students to get involved, whether that means being in several clubs, studying abroad or tackling three majors.
“Don’t let yourself hold you back. This is a time for new, exciting changes, so take every opportunity,” she said. “Study hard, but make time for yourself, and for a social life. The balance is hard, but is possible and worth it.
“I have found my best friends at Simpson, and have loved every moment of these four years. Simpson has so much to offer, and will stay with you forever.”