More freshmen hail from across US, admissions office says


(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

by Mariah Hirsch, Staff Reporter

The school in the cornfields attracted students from the ocean views of Hawaii to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and anywhere in between. The Simpson College Office of Admissions reported that the Class of 2020 has a higher percentage of students not native to Iowa.

Of the 348 students in this year’s freshman class, 28 percent are from out of state and 17 percent are members of minority groups, according to the admissions office. All numbers have increased since last year.

Genevieve Block is among the 28 percent. All the way from Pahoa, Hawaii, Block selected Simpson because of the internship opportunities and welcoming atmosphere.

“Iowa is a chill state,” Block said. “My favorite part so far are the tall trees and all of the brick buildings. You don’t see anything brick in Hawaii.”

Block hopes to major in actuarial science.

“Professor Spellerberg reached out to me first and then the president of Simpson, which really surprised my family and me,” Block said. “It was a cool, personal interaction.”

Block is involved in the STEM program and looks forward to getting involved with intramurals.

Michael Zardus Strunk, a freshman from Denver, Colorado, majoring in vocal performance, was impressed with the school’s music programs, especially opera.

“I was originally going to go to Ireland to go to college, but (Bernard) McDonald showed me Simpson, and I just fell in love with it,” Strunk said. “I fell in love with the campus, with all the people when I visited. I really like that the academics are challenging, but they fit me really well.”

From Welcome Week activities to Simpson Colloquium courses, Simpson’s faculty and staff hope to make several accommodations to ensure freshmen feel at home on campus.

But part of what makes Simpson stand out is its community.

“Everyone is just really accepting,” Strunk said. “There’s always this stigma between the upperclassmen and the underclassmen, but I just don’t feel that here.”

Though Iowa can be welcoming, it’s tough to transition to living so far from home in such unfamiliar territory.

“I definitely miss the sunsets over the mountains,” Strunk said. “I miss all the different scenic views you could have there, but Iowa has its own scenic views. It’s a give and take. I’m excited for the year, and I’m excited to be a part of the community.”