Facebook group helps alumni keep in touch

by Molly MishlerStaff Writer

A Simpson alumni Facebook group is helping those stay in touch and see what former students have been up to since graduation.

Admissions Counselor Tiffany Hummel started the group a couple of years ago to stay in touch with old friends.

“I’d lost touch with friends who I hoped I could find via Facebook,” Hummel said.

Hummel also thought the group was a great idea to help keep spirit up.

“I wanted to help increase Simpson Storm spirit and pride throughout the entire community since I know spirit has been an issue over the years,” Hummel said. “Facebook is an easy and fast way to publicize upcoming Alumni events, fine arts productions and big games to a lot of people all at once.”

As an out-of-state admissions counselor, Hummel has found it helpful as well to find volunteers for out-of state conventions and fairs.

“It is helpful to have contact with alumni who may be willing to volunteer for events and… college fairs in their area, recommend prospective students or who have good stories about their professional success following Simpson that we can use for administration publications,” Hummel said. “I have a discussion topic started on the page, asking people to write about their life after Simpson.”

One former student that has been keeping others updated through the page is Jessica Trost who graduated in 2005 with a major in German. Trost continued her education at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where she received her master’s in German studies. The first year of the program was spent at Salzburg University in Salzburg, Austria and the second year at Bowling Green, Ohio.

“I wanted to have another experience abroad and applied for a position through Austrian Fulbright,” Trost said. “I was accepted and am currently an English language assistant at two high schools in Spittal an der Drau, Austria.”

Trost says she received inspiration from two professors while at Simpson, Jeff Parmelee, associate professor of biology, and Patricia Calkins, associate professor of German. Parmelee was her LAS professor who she says challenged her and pushed her to do extra projects and go beyond the requirements set in class. Calkins was Trost’s German professor who convinced her to study abroad in Germany.

“I became very interested in language study in [Calkins’] courses and followed through with a German major,” Trost said. “Her enthusiasm for the German language and culture was infectious. She is definitely a role model for me and I will ever be in awe of her incredible knowledge.”

Calkins, who’s worked at Simpson for 11 years now, first met Trost in German 102.

“I knew [Trost] very well,” Calkins said. “She participated in the Simpson German Semester in Schorndorf for which I am the resident director. We were in Germany for four and a half months.”

Calkins is very flattered by Trost’s acknowledgement of her being her role model.

“That’s why we do this job,” Calkins said. “We all want to see our students find that one thing that becomes vitally important to them in their lives. I am always particularly happy when students find a way to integrate intercultural encounters into their lives. They may never know where it is going to take them.”

Calkins says Trost’s success was due to her studying abroad.

“I think Trost found that study abroad made a real difference in her life,” Calkins said. “Other students should find a way, any way, to study abroad too. It will open many doors for them.

Trost says her success was due to her professors at Simpson.

“This is already by second extended stay abroad in a German-speaking country since I studied at Simpson,” Trost said. “I would never have accomplished so much had it not been for the support and encouragement I received from my professors at Simpson.”