During her first semester at the University of Iowa Medical School, Dr. Allison Boardman took a Human Anatomy class that required her to study a cadaver.
And that’s when she realized how well Simpson had prepared her for this stage in her life.
She already had studied cadavers as an undergraduate at Simpson.
“Having already been through the material once and having the opportunity to study cadavers at Simpson helped me feel prepared in this class from the first day,” she says. “Several other classes I took at Simpson, including cell biology, immunology and biochemistry, gave me a solid foundation for the material I was being taught in medical school.”
Today, in the spring of 2017, Boardman is finishing her fourth and final year of OBGYN residency at the University of Connecticut in Farmington, Conn.
It has been a long college path for Boardman, who grew up in Dubuque, and it started when she chose Simpson.
“I made my decision to attend Simpson for a couple of reasons,” she says. “I knew I wanted to study Biology and likely go to medical school, but I also loved theater and spent my first year at Simpson taking theater classes and working with Theatre Simpson.
“The other reason I chose Simpson above other colleges was how warm and friendly the faculty and students were when I came for my interview day. I did interview at other small private colleges in Iowa, but nothing compared to Simpson!”
One of the benefits of a liberal arts education is that Simpson students are presented a myriad of opportunities, in and out of the classroom, such as studying theatre when you know medical school is in your future.
But that wasn’t the only area of interest Boardman developed at Simpson, which explains why she graduated with a double major in Biology and Spanish.
“I never thought that I would also learn Spanish and decided to study abroad for a semester in Seville, Spain,” she says. “I became interested in Spanish during my second year at Simpson and spent a semester living in Seville during my third year. This ended up being one of the best and most formative experiences of my college career.”
That background, she says, “has been invaluable in my current job working at a large, inner-city hospital with a big Spanish-speaking population. The chance to live in another country while still taking classes through Simpson and getting credits toward my major was amazing.”
While the huge universities may herd students into large lecture halls taught by teaching assistants, Simpson students know they will receive a personalized education by professors who will help guide their careers.
Boardman praises Jackie Brittingham, professor of biology, who was “always willing to go the extra mile to help me achieve my goals.”
That includes mentoring Boardman on a research project and writing a recommendation that led her to a prestigious summer research fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center.
“She then helped me to secure funding to continue my research project back at Simpson in collaboration with the Cincinnati lab,” she says. “The professors in this department always seemed to have their doors open. Whether you wanted to talk about a question from class or career planning, someone was always willing to listen.”
Boardman, who graduated from Simpson in 2009, says the college helped her become a more well-rounded person who loves to travel and appreciate other cultures and languages. She also credits the Pi Beta Phi sorority and student ambassadors for providing lasting friendships.
“To a prospective student thinking about pursuing pre-medical education at Simpson, I would say go for it!” she says. “The staff are extremely supportive and have experience in preparing students for medical school. The classes that Simpson offers will provide a solid foundation that you will build upon in medical school.
“Attending a liberal arts school like Simpson allow you the time to pursue other activities or interests outside your Biology major to help you be a more well-rounded person. The opportunities for research and internships are plentiful.”
If it’s not already clear, Boardman spells it out:
“I would not hesitate at all to choose Simpson again!”