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A Time to Celebrate Success: Simpson Holds Honors Convocation


One day each spring, the Simpson community gathers in Smith Chapel to celebrate student achievement. This academic year’s Honors Convocation was held on April 18.

One award is reserved for a faculty member. The 2018 Faculty Award for Distinguished Research, announced by President Jay Simmons, was awarded to Derek Lyons, an assistant professor of chemistry and a 2007 Simpson graduate.

Lyons joined the Simpson faculty in 2012. His research, developed out of collaboration with a former physics faculty member, has dealt with developing nanoscale manufacturing processes.

“Nanoscale devices are 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair,” Simmons said. “The tiny size presents many challenges to manufacturing devices. His research improves the manufacturing process by relying on the ability of DNA to guide the self-assembly of nanostructures in a solution of water. Two startup companies were co-founded by him since 2015 in collaboration with Simpson’s EMERGE entrepreneurial program. He has authored three patents, one international, resulting from his research. His work was conducted with undergraduate students from Simpson resulting in one publication and presentations at six separate academic conferences.”

Here is the list of awards:



Alpha Psi Omega Junior Award.. — Cierra Clark

Outstanding Senior in Theatre Arts — Brianna Stoever

Outstanding Senior in Art — Levi Eblen

Outstanding Junior Portfolio  — Sam McCaule

Frank Barrows Award — Kaylah Hicok and Nathanael Smale

Douglas J. Duncan Music Award — Eli Aronson

Sven and Mildred Lekberg Music Award — Rosa Gude, Zachary Howarth and Audrey Sebring

Music Performing Honors – Nathanael Smale, Cortez Daniel, Liz Russell, Grace Peck, Elaine Tilly, Shea Lueninghoener, all for voice recital.



Outstanding Senior in Political Science — Alexandria Karpuk

Carl Halgren Certificate of Excellence in Psychology — Megan Bradley

Everett Laning Award in Sociology — Elizabeth Burgus

Outstanding Senior in Criminal Justice — Kara Eischen

Outstanding Senior in Human Services — Zoei Tonkinson



Mildred Wilson Science Award — Alexander Hoffman

Doft Science Honor Awards: 

Jackson Arndt, Jessica Arnold, Jared Bacon, Mark Becker, Graham Brooks, Joshua Dietrich, Daniel Goldsmith, Nathan Hawkins, Hannahlynn Heinen, Alexander Hoffman, Carley Irlmeier, Cassidy King, Payton McBurney, Miriam McDonough, Kaitlyn Mulder, Benjamin Rajewski, Karson Richardson, Conor Riordan, Truman Schmitt, Kristina Smith, Matthew Turnley, Ellen Willhoit, Valerie Wilson, Mikala Williams Yee

Jordan Science Achievement Award — Maggie Long

Outstanding Senior in Chemistry/Biochemistry/Forensics — Matt Hayden

Outstanding Student in General Chemistry — Alex Austin

Outstanding Senior in Physics — Nick Joslyn

Margaret L. Watson Awards in Biology (Senior) — Stacy Overman

Juniors: Carley Irlmeier and Kaitlyn Mulder

Outstanding Senior in Environmental Science — Adam Stewart

Hiram Doty Research Award — Galen Gist

Outstanding Freshman in Biology — Alex Austin

Outstanding Seniors in Computer Science — Christopher Hanson and Audrey LoVan

Outstanding Senior in Computer Information Systems — Kyann Marie Brown

Outstanding Senior in Mathematics — Nick Joslyn

Outstanding Senior in Actuarial Science — Joshua Hof



Outstanding Senior in Humanities — Gina Reiman

Leopold Award in History — Rachel Miller, Levi Lefebure and Amir Suljic

Joe Walt Senior History Award — Mallory Hanson

Roger Betsworth Outstanding Senior in Religion — Maddy Kersten

Outstanding Senior in English .. — Gina Reiman

Clerk’s Award — Sarah Miller

Outstanding Students in World Language and Culture Studies — Adam Stewart and Chau Tran 



Dick Starr Award — Ellen Gallagher

Outstanding Senior in Sport Science — Jacque Luth

Leadership in Education  — Kim Boehm and Emily Jermeland

Outstanding Senior in Elementary Education — Annika Wasson

Outstanding Senior in Secondary Education — Christian Bengtson

Outstanding Graduate Student in Secondary Education — Peggy Lundquist

Dr. Donna J. Helble ‘71 Award Winner for Outstanding Junior in Elementary Education — Sarah Nutting



Outstanding Senior in Public Relations — Brandi Putz

Outstanding Senior in Multimedia Journalism — Laura Wiersema

Outstanding Senior in Management — Alexandria Karpurk

J. Samson CEO (Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization) Award — Emily Sassman

Outstanding Senior in Global Management — Valeria  Vanessa Gonzàlez Contreras

Lisle C. Wilson Outstanding Junior — Madison Paulson

Feyerharm Award for Outstanding Junior — Jackson Arndt

Heckert Award-Outstanding Senior in Economics — Joshua Hof

Financial Executives International Awards — Brianna Marie Fisher and Christopher Harris

Institute of Management Accountants — Zachary R. Leonard

Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants — Kyann Marie Brown

Outstanding Senior in Health Services Leadership — Brock L. Rodgers


GENERAL RECOGNITION                          


Volunteer of the Year Award — Andrea Casaretto

ODK Emerging Leader Award — Elizabeth Stolte

E.G. Booth Award — Noreen Morrow

Alpha Lambda Delta Society’s Maria Leonard Book Award  — Matthew Hayden and Annika Wasson

Women’s and Gender Studies Program Scholarship Award — Sydney Baty and Mandy Brown

Women’s and Gender Studies Program Activism Award —   Liz Nimmo

Barborka Award — Garrett Pochop

President’s Award in Human Relations — Cecilia Martinez

Distinguished Research Award — Derek Lyons, assistant professor of chemistry.



Dr. Dean and Sandra Blinn Research Scholarship — Kelby Kies

Joe K. Moody Research Scholarship — Benjamin Rajewski

Dr. Alan & Karen Orr Biology Research Scholarship — Kameron Hartung