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Kristen Alstott '17

Headed to the West Coast to Continue Education at University of Washington


“Your professors won’t care if you don’t come to class,” high school teachers often threaten. “You’re just a number to them.”

Kristen Alstott ’17 was prepared for this when she started looking for colleges. She’d just have to get used to the cruel reality that college professors wouldn’t care about her as much as her small high school teachers had.

And then she came to Simpson, and she knew her college experience didn’t have to be that way. She could have it all: a quality education, endless involvement opportunities and meaningful relationships with her professors.

“Simpson College is a college that offers a small town atmosphere with big town opportunities,” Kristen said. “Professors and staff care about your future just as much as, and sometimes even more than, you do. There are a wide variety of opportunities and activities on campus that you can join in on.”

With help from professors like Mark Freyberg and Heather Groben, Kristen was able to follow her passion for helping people into psychology and social work. Her plans for the future we refined through field experiences and internships.

“I began interning in the ICU at Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, and I immediately learned the value of a Master’s in Social Work degree,” she said. “My whole world was turned upside down, and I found my dream profession that could give me everything I wanted thanks to the opportunity Simpson College gave me.”

So Kristen set off applying to graduate schools around the country, searching for a perfect fit like she’d found at Simpson. Luckily, Simpson prepared her with a well-rounded education to help her stand out in the application process.

After being accepted by top ranking schools in social work, Kristen decided to attend the University of Washington in Seattle to focus on mental health and health social work. When all is said and done, she wants to work as a social worker in a small town, making a difference in how mental health is perceived.

“I would love to work in a smaller community because I know how much need there is for mental health professionals in small towns,” she said. “I would also like to continue to be an advocate for mental health in whatever community I settle in. Mental health is extremely stigmatized, and I want to do what I can to end that stigma.”

No matter where she goes, Kristin knows she’s a better person because of Simpson College, and she’ll never stop improving herself.

“Simpson will push you to challenge your assumptions and open your mind so you can be a more respectful and kind citizen,” she said. “You will understand diversity so much better, and that knowledge will be extremely important as you make your way into a professional career.

“As long as you keep trying and pushing yourself, you will go far with the tools Simpson College provides you.”