Simpson students learn valuable skills during internships over summer



This summer I was brought on as an intern with the State Hygienic Lab, a branch of the University of Iowa which conducts water testing, air quality testing, microbiological analysis, as well as a myriad of miscellaneous services.

I worked in the Ankeny division of Nutrient Demand and began assisting the chemists on staff with preparatory work for water testing, ranging from nitrogen in river samples to phosphorous in industrial runoff to E. coli in beach sand across the state.

After putting in extra hours and volunteering for plenty of additional work, I was brought on as a summer employee and began actually making money, which was an excellent bonus to the experience I was gaining. As a biology and chemistry double major, my goal was to use the internship and the view of analytical work it provided to inform my decision whether or not to pursue a Ph.D. in biochemical sciences.

The programs absolutely allowed me to make the best choice for my future, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity. Accepting my internship was an excellent choice, and I would recommend application for anyone interested in a diverse and applicable work experience.


I was a camp counselor at Camp Oasis in Willow River, Minnesota, which is a camp for kids battling Crohn’s and Colitis or inflammatory bowels disease, or IBD. The company is Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

I found out about the counselor position from being a camper there for five years. I was a junior counselor about three years ago, and this was my first time taking on being a counselor of my own cabin. I kids ranging from 8 to 10 years old.

My favorite part about the whole experience was how much my campers taught me about life. Their outlook on their diagnosis was so positive, and they are such strong individuals that are wise beyond their years. I also learned valuable leadership training and how to be creative on the spot. The whole experience was so worth it.

My responsibilities included watching over my campers, getting them ready, making sure they were having fun, watching over them to make sure they weren’t pushing themselves too hard if they were flaring, listening when they wanted to share personal stories, helping with medications and running activities for the whole camp site, which was around 95 campers total. There wasn’t a minute in the day that I wasn’t busy. I did this for eight days, one day including training for multiple things like LGBTQ, mental illness and mandatory reporting among other things.

This didn’t really apply to my major directly but something that is so close to my heart. I felt compelled to help out and give kids the experience that I once had as a camper. It gave me volunteer hours so that was a plus as well.

I think the main thing I took away from this is how everyone comes from different backgrounds, and we all deserve to tell a story. I found myself absolutely exhausted after every day ended, but I felt so rewarded with how much fun everyone was having and that they could be normal kids for a week.

I would recommend everyone be a camp counselor at least once in their life because it teaches you so much about life, yourself and what really matters at the end of the day. I can’t wait to go back.