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Emma Fleddermann ’20

An internship at Blank Park Zoo helped Emma Fleddermann ’20 chart her course for the future


As a high school student in Colorado, Emma Fleddermann ’20 developed a love for animals by volunteering at a local animal shelter. That love grew into a passion for veterinary medicine at an internship at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines. Next up for the former captain of the women’s soccer team is the doctor of veterinary medicine program at Colorado State University.

About Emma

Hometown: Castle Rock, Colorado
Majors: Biology and Spanish
Involvement at Simpson: Women's soccer, Rotaract
Exploreships at Simpson: Blank Park Zoo
Graduate Program: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University 


How far back can you trace your love for animals? 
I have had a love for animals for as long as I can remember. I began volunteering at an animal shelter in high school and knew from then on that I wanted to be around that environment in some way, shape or form. It soon developed into a desire to help both the animals and the families they are a part of to give them the best life and home possible.

Simpson College graduate Emma Fleddermann
Emma Fleddermann ’20 served as a team captain for the Storm women's soccer team.

Was there a specific aspect of your Simpson Experience that confirmed your passion for veterinary medicine?
I knew coming into Simpson that I wanted to pursue veterinary medicine. But I interned at Blank Park Zoo to get a different experience and I realized that I had a passion for working with these animals. Up until that point I planned to work with small animals. After that internship, I decided that being a part of a zoo and working alongside sustainability and conservation would be the goal of my future career.

Which animals did you enjoy working with the most during your internship at Blank Park Zoo?
My favorite animals to work with were the tortoises. That might seem strange because a lot of people tend to overlook them, but they have so much personality, all the way down to a favorite food. It was so fun to get to know them and work with an animal that was 60 years older than me!

Simpson College graduate Emma Fleddermann feeds a tortoise at Blank Park Zoo
Emma Fleddermann ’20 feeds a tortoise during her internship at Blank Park Zoo.

What kind of support did you receive from the faculty at Simpson College?
Dr. Jackie Brittingham (professor of biology), my academic advisor, had a huge impact on both my success at Simpson and getting into grad school. She guided me through the application process and helped me find the right sources within the college that would help me with everything from essay writing to GRE prep. Beyond that, she pushed me in the classroom to do my best academically and prepare me for anything I could expect in grad school.

What will you miss most from your time at Simpson?
Definitely the time spent with friends. There were endless memories made playing soccer, tailgating, or just hanging out in the room. Having to move back home [because of COVID-19] and not being surrounded by my best friends was the hardest part of this past year!

What led you to choose Simpson College in the first place?
I first came to Simpson for a prospective soccer camp. I loved the atmosphere of the team and the campus itself. I knew I wouldn't get lost in the crowd at Simpson and I could be a part of anything.

There are so many reasons to major in biology - cutting-edge research, rewarding summer internships, great career opportunities and state-of-the-art labs just scratch the surface. 
Explore the Biology Major at Simpson College