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Shawn Schossow '17

Overcomes Obstacles and Graduates with Sociology and Applied Philosophy Majors


Shawn Schossow ’17 thought he knew exactly what he wanted to do when he came to Simpson College. He would study Spanish and criminal justice alongside his best friend since middle school, Justin Martin.

Both of them became interested in becoming police offers after talking to Officer Buenting in Rockwell City, where they were both from. Officer Buenting was an inspiration for them and helped guide their career paths.

During his first year, however, Shawn’s path started changing. Professor Mark Freyberg taught Shawn’s Simpson Colloquium class and introduced him to sociology. Philosophy professors Dr. Allison Wolf and Dr. John Pauley influenced Shawn’s discovery of his passion for philosophy and social justice.

Now Shawn has graduated from Simpson College with a double major in sociology and applied philosophy, either of which he hopes to get his doctorate in after taking a gap year so he can teach at a college level.

Shawn’s success, like anyone’s, didn’t come without a few bumps in the road, but you can bet his professors were there to help him through every step of the way.

The relationships Shawn fostered on campus weren’t limited to his professors. Participating in intramurals and SGA, working in the admissions office and for residence life and the grounds crew gave him connections in nearly every area of the school.

“The diversity of activities introduced me to various departments and people of Simpson, which enhanced my experience through making many new friends and having a variety of experiences,” he said.

But Shawn’s life changed on November 2, 2016, when he received the news that Justin Martin, who had graduated a year early and started working for the Urbandale Police department, was killed on duty. When news spread, the Simpson community was there to keep Shawn on his feet.

“The support which I received from my classmates, my professors and Simpson College staff was a major reason why I was able to continue and complete my education in high-standing,” he said. “Without their support, my life would certainly be much different.”