Recent grads find success after Simpson


by Belle Ward, Features Editor

Graduation is the achievement all Simpson College students strive for. But finding a career that aligns itself with the student’s degree can be a daunting task.

Becca Schmidt completed her studio art major in spring 2018. Now, Schmidt is a domestic violence advocate at SafeHouse Denver as a volunteer through Urban Servant Corps.

Schmidt was inspired to complete a year of service by the Call of Service May Term course. Through the course she was introduced to Jorie Hidri, a Simpson alumna. During this time, Hidri was the volunteer coordinator at Central Iowa Shelter and services.

“Her experience of Simpson greatly reflected mine and introduced me to Art Therapy, the career I have chosen to pursue,” Schmidt said in an email interview.

Schmidt credits her success at Simpson to professors and mentors that assisted her throughout her college career. Two specific faculty and staff members she cited were associate professor of English JJ Butts and Bobbi Sullivan, director of career development.

Sullivan gave Schmidt the support she needed to apply for internships and jobs.

“She encouraged me to apply for internships and diligently read through every application, cover letter, and resume I sent her way for internships, year-long service programs, and jobs,” Schmidt said.

Both faculty members assisted Schmidt in her decision-making process as she chose her future career.

“My current year of service position is a step towards pursuing a master in art therapy or another master’s program that would aid my desire to sit with people and listen to them in their darkest spaces,” Schmidt said.

“Sometimes life doesn’t go exactly according to our perfect plan, and that’s OK,” she added. “Do what is best for yourself in the moment, even if that means sacrificing something you really wanted or planned on doing.”

Another recent Simpson grad, Nathanael Smale, majored in music education and also graduated in spring 2018.

Smale is the K-5 general music teacher at Emerson Elementary school in Indianola. Since Smale was five years old, he knew he wanted to become a music teacher.

“That being said, Simpson did give me the connections and tools I needed to land my current position, where I’m fulfilling my lifelong dream of being a teacher, so I suppose Simpson had a pretty big impact on how my career path formed,” Smale said in an email interview.

His inspirations at Simpson are associate professor of music and applied voice teacher Kim Roberts and Tim McMillin, professor of music and director of choral studies.

“They both saw my potential and pushed me to be my best,” Smale said. “Both of them modeled what it meant to be a talented, caring teacher, and they provided me the knowledge and skills I now use as a teacher in my own classroom.”

Smale hopes to inspire Simpson students to work toward their goals.

“The greatest piece of advice I can give for current college students (and especially those graduating this year) is to always push yourself toward your greatest potential,” Smale said. “You are capable of doing more than you can imagine, if you’re willing to put in the effort.”