Louis Joslyn ’16-A Career of Research

A chance encounter with a small school during Iowa Private College week led Louis Joslyn ’16 to a career in research. 

Joslyn and his father had traveled from their home in Baldwin City, Kan., to central Iowa to visit other colleges when they discovered Simpson and what they considered to be a diamond in the rough.

 “I was immediately struck by the kindness and warmth of the professors during my quick visit,” Louis Joslyn said. “In fact, the visit was an epitome of my four years at Simpson College: the vast majority of faculty and staff are kind, welcoming and truly care about your experience. You will find they are very invested in your success.”

 Not only that, but Simpson also had much more to offer for him, like the opportunity to play a crucial role on the men’s soccer team and ample research opportunities. It was a perfect match.

 “I liked the idea of being in small classrooms where I would not be an audience member in a massive lecture hall,” he said.

 Joslyn is currently continuing his education as a Ph.D. pre-candidate in the Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics program at the University of Michigan Medical School. There, he has discovered just how invaluable his research experience at Simpson was.

 “I was able to conduct research during my first summer in college (at Simpson),” he said. “That research has proved to be influential as I weigh different career options. Because of Simpson, I was able to develop independence in scientific pursuit across various fields. I would highly recommend that incoming students explore and embrace all of these opportunities. Today, I heavily rely on the fundamentals of research that I first learned through my Simpson experience.”

 At larger schools, he said, undergraduate students interested in research often end up doing the dirty work, but it’s much more hands-on at Simpson.

 “Simpson’s research is highly collaborative and provides plenty of avenues for interested students to contribute,” Joslyn said. “At Simpson, you are encouraged to take ownership of your own project and become an independent researcher.”

 As if research, soccer and academics didn’t take enough of his time, Joslyn participated in the Mathematical Competition for Modeling for three years and was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, serving as the Scholarship Chair for two years. His excellence in academics allowed him to tutor Indianola high school and middle school students in math as well as some Iowa State University students in calculus.

 Double majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science at Simpson gave Joslyn his foundation for his graduate work, but the liberal arts education he received gave him a decided advantage.

 I work in a lab that builds computational models of a tuberculosis infection in humans,” he said. “We hope to provide a platform that allows doctors to perform virtual clinical trials. If our models can determine the drugs that work best for patients, the medical community could save money and resources that are otherwise wasted by testing unsuccessful drugs.

 “As a double major in mathematics and computer science, I was introduced to many of the concepts that are intrinsically associated with Bioinformatics.  Additionally, the diverse and broad curriculum of Simpson allowed me to develop into an interdisciplinary student – an aspect that I consider critical for successful research and collaboration in my field.”

By Laura Wiersema ’18

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