Senior Spotlight: Taylor Gehrls
December 4, 2016
Senior Taylor Gehrls has spent the majority of her time and effort at Simpson College serving and giving back to the community.
A math whiz from Donahue, Gehrls knew she wanted to come to Simpson after she visited for Iowa Private College Week.
“I just really liked the campus, and I heard that Simpson had a really good math department,” she said. “I liked that it was close to Des Moines but still in a small town that I was used to.”
Majoring in math and computer information systems with a minor in computer science, Gehrls took every opportunity she could to be involved in a club or organization related to her area of study, including being vice president and president of Math Club.
“The two bigger events I helped plan was a Pi-K where we ran like 3.14 kilometers and then ate a bunch of pie afterwards, so that was a lot of fun,” she said. “And then the Science-Off, which was kind of like the coming together of some of the Carver science clubs and like a jeopardy-style game.”
Gehrls has also gained knowledge and experience through job shadowing and interning. After attending a career fair, she landed an internship at Mittera Group in Des Moines working on the data analytics team.
“That helped me use some of the analysis and programming skills that I’d learned in the classroom,” Gehrls said. “It gave me a perspective of what it would be like to work in a pretty small company in Des Moines and be able to network, and so that was really cool.”
She also had the chance to intern at Principal Financial Group this past summer and work in the Information Technology Services department doing project management.
“I was able to kind of compare working in a larger company with a small company like Mittera and again, be able to network and see all the opportunities that are available at a larger company,” she said. “They even let me lead some different meetings and shadow a bunch of different people, so it was a really cool experience.”
After graduation, Gehrls hopes to work in IT in Iowa City or Des Moines. After her experience at Principal and some classes she has taken, she’s become interested in web development and user experience and plans to take an independent study next semester to learn more.
Aside from Math Club, Gehrls has played a large role in the Greek life community. Over the past three years, she’s had several positions in Delta Delta Delta and on Panhellenic Council including sponsor chair, academic chair, vice president of membership, vice president of records, vice president of Internal Affairs and serving on the Disciplinary Board.
“I think I’ve just grown a lot through my leadership positions and having a chance to live with and get to known women of different walks of life, and different interests, passions and personalities,” she said.
If Gehrls could change one thing about Simpson, she would get rid of the stereotypes placed on Greek life.
“I respect the people that choose not to go through Greek life or who maybe tried it and felt that it wasn’t the right fit for them, but I think everybody needs a big support system going through college and I found that through Greek life,” she said. “I wish the rest of campus was a little more open-minded and accepting of Greek life, and Greek life was a little better at being more involved and more accepting of the rest of the campus.”
One activity Gehrls recently put on with her Interfraternity Council counterpart, Matt Lash, was a Risk Management event, which focused on anxiety and depression.
“That was kind of inspired by some of my own experiences I’ve had in college and then another close friend of mine, and just hopefully speaking to an issue that a lot of people in the Greek life community can relate to,” Gehrls said. “I know that we’re really a huge support system to everyone involved, so hopefully it will be able to be a positive thing for the community.”
Gehrls is also passionate about exercise, healthful eating, environmental issues and getting women more involved in the STEM fields. When she isn’t dedicating time to her studies or Greek life, she enjoys volunteering for Second Chance Dog Rescue, Meals of the Heartland or Saint Jude fundraisers through Tri Delta. She also volunteered at a food bank and worked at a homeless shelter on a May Term mission trip to Colorado.
“We got to do a bunch of different service projects in Colorado and then spend a week in Estes Park and that was just a lot of fun,” she said. “Also getting to know a bunch of people outside of my major and people who are really dedicated to service and giving back.”
Gehrls advice to underclassmen is “probably just the cliche of getting involved in any way you can and trying new things. Just any random thing on campus to meet new people and get involved.”