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Mariah Peterson '17

Pursuing a Doctorate Degree at Drake


Simpson College is where it’s AT! Athletic Training is a popular major at the school full of sports-lovers, and it’s what 2017 graduate Mariah Peterson dedicated most of her time toward.

“Being able to balance 5 classes or more each semester, AT hours, and work along with events going on in my personal life has made me realize that I can work through just about anything,” she said. “It also has made me to realize that it is okay to reach out to friends, family, professors, or even the school counselor when I need help managing it all.”

And Mariah had no lack of willing professors to help her out when need be. Simpson’s small class sizes and low student-to-faculty make it easy for students to get the assistance they need when they need it.

“Mike Hadden, Megan Pilcher, Nicci Whalen, and Cal Busby have all given me much advice and have helped me throughout my time at Simpson,” Mariah said. “Whether that is where to get an internship or just to get life advice.”

That’s why she listened when they urged her to apply to graduate school for occupational therapy during her senior year even though she was considering taking a gap year. This way she would at least be familiar with the application process if she decided to wait before attending.

So she started applying and she slowly heard back from each school. Her decision wasn’t difficult, though. University of New England in Portland, Maine was her dream school, but when she heard back from them, the unthinkable happened.

“I was invited to interview, however, my grandpa had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, so I turned it down,” Mariah said. “Spending precious time with him was a decision that I will never regret.”

When she got back to choosing, it was down to Drake University and Creighton University. Mariah had visited both before so when she heard back from one, the search was off. Drake it was. Starting in the fall, Mariah will be starting a three-year doctorate program there.

Mariah said she’s looking forward to starting the new journey. She views her years at Simpson the same way.

Without first choosing Simpson, she might not have made the same memories or met her fiancée. And it all started with a visit.

“Stay the night with someone on campus to get a feel for the environment,” Mariah said. “Meet with some professors in your desired field and see how you feel about them and what they have to say. Ultimately, gather as much information as you can and make sure you get some quality time on campus.”