Since the founding of the Culver Center in 2010, more than 100 Culver Fellowships have been awarded to incoming Simpson College students interested in pursuing studies and careers in politics and public policy. Our alumni have used their experiences as Culver Fellows and their Simpson degrees to pursue post-graduate studies in law, political management, international relations, environmental policy, history, education, and business, among others. Other alumni have gone directly into careers in fields such as advocacy, communications, financial services, government, journalism, nonprofit management, politics, and public policy research.
Michael Roets – Class of 2021
Michael Roets, a Culver Fellow from Princeton, Texas, graduated in December 2020 with a degree in English and Philosophy. In addition to his involvement with the Culver Fellows program, Michael was a member of The Storm’s tennis team, an actor in the theatre department, a debater, and a really big fan of Hamilton. “The Culver Fellowship gave me the opportunity to capitalize on the rich political environment of this part of Iowa, providing me with ample opportunities to learn how to turn the dreams of the classroom into the reality of our community.” Following graduation, Michael is pursuing teaching and graduate school opportunities.
Emily Bell – Class of 2021
Emily Bell, a Culver Fellow alumna from Aurora, Colorado, graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2021 with a degree in Management and Psychology. She was honored as the Outstanding Senior in Business Management. In addition to her involvement in civic engagement work as a Culver Fellow, Emily competed on the Speech & Debate team and was a four-year letter winner in softball, earning American Rivers Conference All-Academic honors and All-Conference Second Team pitching honors. She was also a student ambassador in the Admissions office and an active member of Pre-Law Society. Following her graduation from Simpson, Emily is continuing her education at Drake University Law School. Politics are important to Emily because they are a force that can drive change. “Being a Culver Fellow was the first step in improving my political knowledge to begin to make a difference in this world.”
Katie Cardoza – Class of 2021
Katie Cardoza, a Culver Fellow alumna from Springfield, Missouri, graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2021 with a degree in Political Science. As a senior at Simpson, she served as the Culver Center’s Undergraduate Assistant, working with the director and forty other Culver Fellows to plan programs, events, and voter engagement initiatives. Her interest in combating misinformation and protecting privacy in the digital age led her to organize a virtual Culver Center program in April 2021 featuring Dr. Colleen Sinclair of Mississippi State University, a social psychologist who spoke on the rise of online misinformation and disinformation in the political realm. Katie was involved with women’s swim team, Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and interned with Vote Smart. She spent a semester studying in Concepción, Chile, which was unfortunately disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. After graduation, she is planning to travel and pursue opportunities to advocate for digital privacy rights.
Daniel Estrada – Class of 2021
Daniel Estrada, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Gilbert, Arizona, graduated in May 2021 with a degree in Political Science and International Relations. Daniel graduated from Perry High School and was a first-generation, Hispanic college student. On campus, he was involved in the Speech and Debate team, Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Campus Activities Board, Simpson Democrats, Intramurals, Pre-Law Society, and a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Off campus, he was involved in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign and interned at an employment and civil rights law firm in the Des Moines area. Following graduation, Daniel accepted a position at a family and divorce law firm in Mesa, Arizona.
His drive to pursue his interest in politics stems from understanding the struggle of lower-income families who wish to participate in politics. Daniel sees education as a means to lessen the effects of poverty and in turn, provide a more informed, tolerant group of citizens who exercise the right to vote. As a Culver Fellow, he worked to promote civic engagement and voting on campus and to increase outreach to students who don’t think they can afford college.
“The decision I made to attend Simpson College was ultimately based on what the Culver Fellowship offered me as a first-generation college student. This program continues to provide me with the opportunity to explore what civic engagement truly means and a community to debate the nation’s biggest issues with a diverse pool of viewpoints and perspectives.”
Joe Sams – Class of 2021
Joe Sams, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Indianola, Iowa, graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Accounting and Political Science. In addition to the Culver Center, Joe was involved in Greek life, pre-law society, speech and debate, and intramurals. Following graduation, he accepted a position as an associate in the West Des Moines office of CliftonAllenLarson accountancy firm.
Jailyn Seabrooks, – Class of 2021
Jailyn Seabrooks, a Culver Fellow alumna from Alburnett, Iowa, graduated in May 2021 with a degree in Religion and Political Science. She was honored as the Roger Betsworth Outstanding Senior in Religion. Jailyn served as Vice President and President of the Simpson student body and co-chaired the Culver Center’s Political Events committee. She was involved in Speech & Debate, Residence Life, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Simpson Democrats, the Andrew Goodman Foundation Vote Everywhere program, and Model UN. She interned with NewBoCo in Cedar Rapids and the Fred Hubbell for Governor of Iowa campaign. She was active in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign in Iowa and interned at the National Organization for Women in Washington, D.C. through the Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP). She decided to pursue a career in politics after being involved in an organization, Iowa Student Learning Institute, that advocates for the involvement of students in educational leadership. After graduation, she is pursuing opportunities to work for a nonprofit focused on getting more women involved in politics.
Natasha Shipp – Class of 2021
Natasha Shipp, a Culver Fellow alumna from Oskaloosa, Iowa, graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2021 with a degree in Political Science and Applied Philosophy. She was honored as both the Outstanding Senior in Political Science and the Norman Thomas Outstanding Senior in Philosophy. Natasha developed her passion for politics and public service while debating in high school and as she worked on the Hillary for Iowa Campaign in 2015 and 2016. While at Simpson, Natasha enjoyed several wonderful opportunities such as interning on the Hubbell for Governor campaign and attending a civic engagement conference at the Harvard Institute of Politics. Giving a voice to those less fortunate remains an important goal for Natasha. She plans on using her experiences from Simpson College and the Culver Fellowship to advocate healthcare policy issues in Iowa. Following graduation, Natasha accepted a position at State Public Policy Group in West Des Moines focusing on the Capital Crossroads regional development program for Central Iowa.
Geoff VanDeusen III – Class of 2021
Geoff VanDeusen III, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Olathe, Kansas, graduated in May 2021 with a degree in History and Political Science. Geoff was a leader on the Speech and Debate team, president of the Simpson College Democrats, and recruitment chair for Lambda Chi Alpha. He co-chaired the Culver Center’s Programming Committee and helped to host mock caucus trainings and voter engagement events throughout his four years at Simpson. He represented Simpson at the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement conference at the Harvard Institute of Politics, working with students from across the country to mobilize young voters to address political polarization. Following his graduation from Simpson, Geoff will continue his studies at Drake University Law School.
Drake Wood – Class of 2021
Drake Wood, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Blue Springs, Missouri, graduated Summa Cum Laude in December 2021 with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Religion. In addition to his involvement in civic engagement work as a Culver Fellow, Drake competed on the Speech & Debate team, Simpson Rugby, and was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. He was also a student voting ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation and President of the Pre-Law Society. Following his graduation from Simpson, Drake is working as a staffer on Capitol Hill and continuing his education at American University Washington School of Law. “Simpson College is where I found a voice and a newfound agency to help others.”
Kathryn Hays – Class of 2020
Levi Lefebure – Class of 2020
Levi Lefebure, a Culver Fellow from Fairfax, Iowa, graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2020 with a degree in Political Science, Mathematics, and History. He received the Joe Walt Senior History Award. As a Culver Fellow, Levi co-chaired the Voter Engagement committee, co-designed and led mock caucus trainings for students, and was principal investigator for a survey of Simpson students on campus free speech and the First Amendment. Levi was involved with Cross Country, Track & Field, the Iowa History Center, the Campus Election Engagement Project, the Andrew Goodman Foundation Vote Everywhere program, the Student Athletic Advisory Council, Undergraduate Research Symposium, Summer Research program, and Simpson Colloquium on campus. Policy has interested Levi from a young age as well as the numbers behind anything and everything. As a Culver Fellow, he took advantage of as many opportunities to be involved in politics on campus as possible. Following graduation, Levi launched a search for positions in the political methodology field.
Erin Magoffie – Class of 2020
Erin Magoffie,a Culver Fellow from Anthem, Arizona, graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2020 with a degree in Political Science, English, and French. Erin was named the Outstanding Senior in Humanities, Political Science, and World Language & Culture Studies. She also received the Alpha Lambda Delta Society’s Maria Leonard Book Award as a senior. She graduated from North Canyon High School and is an International Baccalaureate diploma recipient. In addition to being a Culver Fellow, Erin was also a Cowles Fellow, a member of the Speech and Debate team, a Wesley Service Scholar, a member of the Delta Delta Delta Women's Fraternity, and Student Ambassador in Simpson's Admissions Office. During her time at Simpson, Erin spent a semester studying abroad in Tahiti, where she interned for the U.S. Consulate Agency. She completed a Capitol Hill Internship in Washington, D.C. in the spring of 2019 for Earthjustice, the nation's largest nonprofit environmental law firm. Erin also interned for U.S. Congressman Andy Biggs in his DC office, along with former U.S. Congressman Trent Franks and former U.S. Senator John McCain at their Arizona offices. Erin has also completed research at Biosphere 2, the world's largest facility for Earth processing and environmental science research. After graduation, Erin enrolled at UCLA School of Law to study environmental law.
Kelsey Poppe – Class of 2020
Kelsey Poppe,a Culver Fellow from Ionia, Iowa, graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2020 with a degree in Psychology and Management. She graduated from Nashua-Plainfield High School before coming to Simpson. In addition to being a Culver Fellow, Kelsey was involved with Simpson Women’s Golf Team and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. During her time at Simpson, she interned in the Des Moines office of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. Following graduation, Kelsey enrolled at the University of Minnesota to pursue a Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations.
Abby Schulte – Class of 2020
Abby Schulte,a Culver Fellow from Keota, Iowa, graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2020 with a degree in History and Political Science. She received the Joe Walt Senior History Award. As a Culver Fellow, she co-chaired the Voter Engagement committee and served as Simpson's Lead Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Vote Everywhere program. She and Culver Fellow Casey Nickel attended the 2018 National Campaign for Political & Civic Engagement conference at the Harvard Institute of Politics and returned to campus to develop the Simpson Dialogue Series, which brings students together in respectful, structured dialogue sessions to share their views on controversial and challenging issues. Along with the Culver Fellowship, she was a member of the Speech and Debate team and Career Peers mentorship program. Abby's passion for public service began while working on a civic engagement project during the 2016 Iowa Caucus that involved getting presidential candidates to visit her small rural high school. She has carried this passion throughout her Culver Fellowship as she held internships at Congressman Dave Loebsack's District Office in Iowa City, the Iowa Quilt Museum, and participated in the Capitol Hill Internship Program in Washington D.C. She has also been inducted to the Iowa Second District Democrats Hall of Fame, the Phi Alpha Theta National Honor Society in History, and the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society. She worked as the Undergraduate Assistant in the Simpson College Archives, paving the way for future graduate studies in history and museum studies. After graduation, Abby accepted a position as archivist for the World Food Prize in Des Moines.
Jake Stoulil – Class of 2020
Jake Stoulil, a Culver Fellow from Kansas City, Missouri, graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2020 with a degree in Actuarial Science and Economics: Finance. He was named Outstanding Senior in Actuarial Science. As a Culver Fellow, Jake helped sponsor and co-host the spring 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate forum at Simpson. Jake became interested in politics while participating in debate in high school. He was the Lincoln-Douglas Event Undergraduate Assistant for Simpson’s back-to-back PKD National Champion Debate Team. Jake was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. In the summer of 2018, Jake completed his first actuarial internship at Athene. Following graduation, Jake accepted a position with an actuarial firm in West Des Moines.
Kyler Zielsdorf – Class of 2020
Kyler Zielsdorf, a Culver Fellow from Merriam, Kansas, graduated in May 2020 with a degree in Political Science and International Relations. As a Culver Fellow, Kyler helped to develop programs examining international relations and foreign policy. He and Culver Fellow Quinn Slaven hosted “Poli Sci Guys,” a talk show on Simpson radio station KSTM 88.9 FM. Kyler was a four-year member of the men’s soccer team. Kyler is honored to have been chosen as a Culver Fellow and enjoyed being involved on campus and in the community. Immediately following graduation, Kyler commissioned into the United States Marine Corps as a second lieutenant – becoming the first Culver Fellow to follow Senator John C. Culver’s path of public service through the U.S. Marines.
Quinn Slaven – Class of 2019
Quinn Slaven, a Culver Fellow from Mason City, Iowa, graduated Magna Cum Laude in December 2019 with a degree in Political Science. As a Culver Fellow, he co-chaired the Communications committee and organized an event on “The Future of Conservatism in the Trump Era.” Quinn worked to bring prominent Republican speakers to campus, drafted and revised questions with other fellows, organized logistics, and co-moderated the event with Culver Fellow Stacey Post. He and Culver Fellow Kyler Zielsdorf hosted “Poli Sci Guys,” a talk show on Simpson radio station KSTM 88.9 FM. Quinn has always had a passion for public service and leadership. In high school, he worked as an intern for Democrat Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign, where he was able to gain first-hand experience in the political world. In 2017, he traveled to New York over spring break to take part in a service trip addressing homelessness and hunger. In 2018, he was an intern on Republican David Young's re-election campaign for U.S. Congress. In addition to being a Culver Fellow and partaking in the political science and public relations programs, Quinn was a four-year varsity letter winner in football for Simpson College, a member of Simpson’s 2018 PKD national champion debate team, and correspondent for The Simpsonian student newspaper. Following graduation, he accepted a position as account coordinator with LS2 Group in Des Moines, where he interned as an undergraduate. “Joining the Culver Fellows, and attending Simpson College, have been two of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said Quinn.
Amir Suljic – Class of 2019
Amir Suljic, a Culver Fellow from West Des Moines, Iowa, graduated Summa Cum Laude in December 2019 with a degree in Political Science and History. As a Culver Fellow, he was a student leader on an Interfaith Youth Core grant-funded project exploring the intersections of religion and politics. At Simpson, he competed on the Speech & Debate and Mock Trial teams. His interest in politics began as he grew older and began to understand his Bosnian heritage and the opportunities being born in the United States has given him; as well as how staying politically active can change not only one’s own life, but a community as a whole. His outstanding undergraduate research paper, "Nema Mira: Yearning for Prosperity Within a Democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina," was informed both by rigorous scholarship and many personal visits to Bosnia. Amir interned for eight months with the Iowa Senate Democratic Research Staff at the Iowa State Capitol and served as Public Policy Intern for the Greater Des Moines Partnership. He currently serves as the Event Management Director/Voter Involvement Chair for the Bosniak-American Association of Iowa. His future career plans are to become a lobbyist or policy analyst and run for public office.
Danielle Bates – Class of 2019
Danielle Bates,a Culver Fellow from Kansas City, Missouri, graduated Cum Laude in May 2019 with a degree in Political Science, International Relations, and Religion. During her time at Simpson, Danielle led nonpartisan voter registration and engagement initiatives as Lead Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation Vote Everywhere program. She played tennis for Simpson and was involved in the Speech and Debate team, Model UN team, and College Republicans. Danielle was also a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society. During her sophomore year, Danielle attended the Harvard IOP's National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement where she worked with students from around the country on solutions to today's polarization. In the Spring of 2018, Danielle interned at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. where she researched topics relating to American Congress and Politics. In May of 2018, Danielle attended the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship College Student Congress as the representative for Iowa, where she collaborated with students from all 50 states to reach solutions on divisive political issues through compromises. Following this, Danielle traveled with 24 other HCCS students to Washington, D.C. where they presented their solutions to members of the U.S. Congress. Danielle served as Simpson's 2018=-19 Newman Civic Fellow and used the opportunity to increase the Impson community's civic engagement. Danielle is passionate about politics, foreign affairs, and civic engagement. Danielle is pursuing a career relating to her passions and may eventually go to graduate school.
Jacob Bruns – Class of 2019
Jacob Bruns, a Culver Fellow from Washington, Iowa, graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2019 with a degree in Applied Philosophy and Economics: Finance. Jacob's campus involvement included positions of Simpson Colloquium Leader in the First Year Experience, resident economic modeler on the Palmer Project research team, member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon executive council, and member of the Simpson College Feminists. During the fall 2018 semester, Jacob participated in the Capitol Hill Internship Program in Washington, D.C> as an intern for Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA-2). Jacob believes that the future of the United States will be determined by how well the American public is educated, engaged, and represented in public policy. Jacob's political goals center around promoting the rights and representation of the working class, equal access to vital social services, and equality along all social and class-based intersections. "The John. C. Culver Policy Center is what drew me to Simpson College. As soon as I learned I was accepted as a Culver Fellow, I knew that this was the place where I could do the best for myself and for the community." After graduation, Jacob moved to St. Louis to work in the financial services industry.
Samantha Hafermann – Class of 2019
Samantha Hafermann, A Culver Fellow from Goodell, Iowa, graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2019 with a degree in English. She graduated from West Fork High School in Sheffield, Iowa before coming to Simpson College. Sam became interested in politics through her volunteer work at the Caring Pregnancy Center and listening to her parents talk about the elections as a child. Along with being a Culver Fellow, she was a part of Alpha Landa Delta honor society and Sigma Tau Delta English honor society. Sam had a very rewarding experience as a Culver Fellow and enjoyed her time at Simpson.
Elizabeth Mixon – Class of 2019
Elizabeth Mixon, a Culver Fellow from Leawood, Kansas graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2019 with a degree in History and International Relations. She graduated from Blue Valley North High School before attending Simpson. She became interested in public policy because she wants to give a voice to women and children, primarily in the area of combatting human trafficking. She plans to attend law school and hopes to go into the FBI. In addition to being a Culver Fellow, she participated in the Simpson College Speech and Debate team and was active in the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. Elizabeth strongly believes that public policy is important because that is where real change occurs.
Randy Paulson – Class of 2019
Randy Paulson, a Culver Fellow from Grinnell, Iowa, graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2019 with a degree in multimedia journalism and Spanish. During his senior year, he served as the editor-in-chief for the student newspaper, The Simpsonian. As editor-in-chief, he helped moderate an on-campus debate between the candidates for the Iowa Senate District 13 during the 2018 midterms. Other activities and organizations he was involved with at Simpson include Speech and Debate, Simpson Feminists, and Active Minds. he was also a Writing Fellow for a Simpson Colloquium class and worked all four years at the Kent Information Desk. Randy had multiple internships during his time at Simpson, starting with his internship with the Iowa House of Representatives in his freshman year. During the spring of his junior year, he was the communications intern at the Iowa National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). In the summer of 2018, he interned at Iowa Information Publications in Sheldon, where he wrote for two weekly newspapers (The N'West Iowa Review and the Sheldon Mail-Sun) and two magazines (Discover and Okoboji Magazine). After graduating, he accepted a full-time position at Iowa Information Publications as a staff writer.
Sydney Samples – Class of 2019
Sydney Samples, a Culver Fellow from Des Moines, Iowa, graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2019 with a degree in Spanish and Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Environmental Studies. Sydney spent her junior spring semester studying abroad in Concepción, Chile, where she lived with a host family and spent time learning about Chilean culture and improving her Spanish language abilities. At Simpson College, Sydney was involved in the Student Government Association, the Speech and Debate team, Sustainability Club, Light Company, and the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma. Sydney had the honor of serving as the youngest Student Body President in the school's history in 2017. She also served as a Newman Civic Fellow of the 2017-2018 school year and attended the national Newman Civic Fellow Conference in Boston. Sydney was a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society and Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society. Following her first-year at Simpson, Sydney interned at the Iowa Environmental Council. During her sophomore and junior years, she interned over her breaks at IMPACT7G. While at Simpson, she worked on many projects to make the campus more sustainable, including leading a prairie reconstruction project and promoting increased recycling on campus. After graduation, Sydney began her graduate studies in International Environmental Policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Bobbie Fogle – Class of 2018
Bobbi Fogle, a Culver Fellow from Oskaloosa, Iowa, graduated Magna Cum Laude in December 2018 with a degree in Political Science and Psychology. Bobbi became active in politics in high school, participating in debate and volunteering on campaigns. At the forefront of Bobbi's drive to learn more about government and policy is the idea of equity, striving towards "liberty and justice for all" as outlined in the Pledge of Allegiance. This principle is evident in Bobbi's internship and employment experiences as well, having worked for Hillary for America, NARAL, Youth Emergency Services and Shelter, AmeriCorps at Des Moines Public Schools and Beacon of Life. Outside of work and the classroom, Bobbi furthered her advocacy by volunteering for the Des Moines SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) chapter as well as on-campus as a SARA, Bobbi served as a legislative clerk in the Iowa House of Representatives. She was a proud member of the Simpson Speech and Debate team where she won several honors and awards including a team national championship. Her hobbies include video games, listening to podcasts, and playing with her dog Sullivan. After graduating from Simpson, Bobbi enrolled at the University of Seattle Schoool of Law.
Casey Nickel – Class of 2018
Casey Nickel, a Culver Fellow from Grinnell, Iowa, graduated in December 2018 with a degree in Political Science. During her time at Simpson, Casey was involved in Speech and Debate, Student Government Association, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and was a member of the cheer team. She served as the Culver Center Undergraduate Assistant, the Student Development Marketing and Promotions Undergraduate Assistant, clerked for State Senator Amy Sinclair, worked as a Field Director for the Iowa Senate Majority Fund, and interned with the Iowa Senate Republican Analysts. After graduation, Casey worked in the United States Senate before returning to Iowa to take a position as a client services coordinator for the Ames Chamber of Commerce.
Emily Schwickerath – Class of 2018
Emily Schwickerath a Culver Fellow alumna from New Hampton, Iowa, graduated Summa Cum Laude in December 2018 with a degree in Political Science. Schwickerath was heavily involved on Simpson's campus as a member of the Speech and Debate team and as a member of Simpson College Republicans. Schwickerath also attended the Harvard Institute of Politics National Campaign conference as a sophomore. Off-campus, she worked as a field director for the Senate Majority Fund, legislative secretary in the Iowa Senate, field director for Kim Reynolds For Iowa, and Deputy Director of the Senate Majority Fund. After graduation Schwickerath served as Executive Secretary to the Iowa Senate Majority Leader. Since 2019, Schwickerath served as Political Director to State Senator Randy Feentra's 2020 Congressional Campaign and now serves as field director of his district office in Ames. Feenstra made national headlines after defeating 18-year incumbent congressman, Steve King, in Iowa's Fourth Congressional District in the June 2020 Republican primary.
Olivia Anderson – Class of 2018
Olivia Anderson, a Culver Fellow from Greensboro, North Carolina, graduated Magna Cum Laude in April 2018 with a degree in Applied Philosophy and Political Science. Olivia also earned minors in Spanish and Public Relations. She served as President of Simpson College Democrats and as the lead Vote Everywhere Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation at Simpson. Olivia was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women and the Simpson Speech and Debate Team. Olivia worked as a 2015 Organizing Fellow with the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. She interned with the Immigrant Rights Network of Iowa and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) in Des Moines. During the spring of 2018, Olivia completed an internship with the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington, D.C. as part of the Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP).
Niki Dean – Class of 2018
Niki Dean, a Culver Fellow from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, graduated in April 2018 with a degree in Sociology. The Culver Public Policy Center was one of the main reasons Niki decided to attend Simpson as it provides many involvement opportunities to expand her interest and knowledge of politics. Aside from being a Culver Fellow, Niki was on the Simpson volleyball team, a member of the TRiO program, and a member of the pre-law society.
Allie Karpurk – Class of 2018
Allie Karpurk, a Culver Fellow from Peoria, Arizona, graduated Summa Cum Laude in April 2018 with a degree in Political Science and Management. She was named Outstanding Senior in both of her majors. Allie is pursuing her law degree at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. She hopes to one-day work in the public sector as an attorney and become a judge later in life. Through Simpson and the Culver Center, she had the opportunity to attend a conference at Harvard on voter mobilization and intern for the Iowa Attorney General and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst in her Washington D.C. Office. She was deeply involved in a range of activities Simpson’s campus, as a Culver Fellow, Senior Class President of SGA, a member of the cheerleading team, Crew Captain of Love Your Melon, a Simpson Colloquium Leader, and Kappa Kappa Gamma Women’s Fraternity. Politics and public policy are important to Allie because she believes that through them people have the power to make a positive impact in America. “The Culver Fellowship has provided me with so many opportunities, and I know this is the best way for me to get involved in politics at a young age.”
Kara Eischen – Class of 2017
Kara Eischen, a Culver Fellow from Wesley, Iowa, graduated in December 2017 with a degree in Criminal Justice. She plans to attend law school in the fall of 2018.
Kara graduated from Bishop Garrigan High School in Algona. At Simpson, she was involved with the Culver Fellows, the Student Alumni Association, and the Writing Fellows. In addition, she was a member of the Epsilon Sigma honor society. During the spring semester of 2017, Kara completed an internship at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa under a magistrate judge. In May of 2017, she traveled to Italy for a May Term course with Simpson. Kara was excited to gain the knowledge and cultural immersion that studying abroad can offer. “I was so fortunate to make connections and have experiences at Simpson that will help develop my career plan and let me find success,” she said.
Zach Goodrich – Class of 2017
Zach Goodrich, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Grimes, Iowa, graduated in April 2017 with a degree in Political Science, History and Business Management. He currently serves as Legal Counsel for the Iowa Public Information Board. Following graduation from Simpson, Zach earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Drake University Law School with certificates recognizing his specialization in constitutional law and civil rights, as well as public service for his work in the community. Prior to his current position, he worked in private practice, non-profit organizations, and various roles in politics and state government.
Tegan Jarchow – Class of 2017
Tegan Jarchow, a Culver Fellow alumna from Prairie Village, Kansas, graduated in April 2017 with majors in Political Science and Sociology with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. After graduation, she enrolled at Drake University Law School. While at Simpson, Tegan served as a campus Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Vote Everywhere program, helping to register and turn out hundreds of Simpson College students to vote. She was involved in Simpson College Democrats, Environmental Awareness Club, Rotaract Club, Social Justice Book Club, Religious Life Community events, Pizza and Philosophy, and Speech and Debate.
Tegan became interested in politics and public policy because she has always been interested in history and current events. She believes patterns of politics and policy contribute to history and how our society is maintained. She hails from a family that discusses politics a lot. She is constantly inspired to use politics and public policy as an end to better society and individual people’s lives.
Nick Laning – Class of 2017
Nick Laning, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Byron, Minnesota, graduated in April 2017 with a degree in Political Science and International Relations and a minor in Religion. He currently serves as the Manager of Government Affairs at Advocacy Strategies, a nonpartisan government relations and public affairs firm in Des Moines. Nick worked at another bipartisan public affairs and public relations firm for about two years prior to becoming a registered, multi-client Iowa lobbyist with Advocacy Strategies and the Rafferty Group. Nick has also received his Master's in Public Policy degree from the University of Northern Iowa. As a student, Nick was involved as a leader in organizations including Student Government, Campus Activities Board, and Kappa Theta Psi Fraternity. Nick was also highly involved with campus-wide efforts and was a representative to the Board of Trustees, several campus hiring committees, and the All-Campus Budget Committee. Nick chose Simpson because of the Culver Fellowship Program and the opportunities it presents to be involved in public policy and government service. He was deeply involved in politics while growing up in Minnesota, having worked on U.S. House campaigns and interning in the Minnesota State Senate. As a Culver Fellow, Nick clerked for Representative Guy Vander Linden in the Iowa House of Representatives and worked on the presidential campaigns of Carly Fiorina and Gov. Scott Walker. Nick also worked with several Iowa campaigns at the local and statewide levels. Nick is using the opportunities that the Culver Center offered him as a foundation for his current career as a lobbyist.
Emily Ortiz – Class of 2017
Emily Ortiz, a Culver Fellow alumna from Lawrence, Kansas, graduated in April 2017 with a degree in History and Political Science. After graduation, she is doing ten months of service in Americorps NCC. She believes that service and public policy are important because they create fundamental understandings between people. As a Simpson student, Emily was active in Simpson Pride, Simpson College Feminists, and Simpson College Democrats. “The Culver Center has provided me with the opportunity to visit Washington D.C., an unforgettable trip that has furthered my interest in the politics of our nation.”
Stacey Post – Class of 2017
Stacey Post, a Culver Fellow from Des Moines, Iowa, graduated in December 2017 with majors in political science and applied philosophy. After graduation, she accepted a position with an event planning and production company in West Des Moines. Stacey is a graduate of Dowling Catholic High School. While at Simpson, she served as chair of Simpson College Republicans and interned in the Iowa State Capitol office of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and his state-federal relations office in Washington, DC. During the summer of 2016, she worked statewide for the Republican Party of Iowa’s Senate Majority Fund. Stacey plans on a career in economic development. She was employed as the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Executive Call Program intern for Summer 2017. She loved being a Culver Fellow because of all the opportunities, including meeting prominent members of the political community, internships, and networking.
Britney Samuelson – Class of 2017
Britney Samuelson, a Culver Fellow alumna from Newton, Iowa, graduated in April 2017 with majors in Social Justice, Applied Philosophy, and Spanish. After graduation, she served as an executive assistant with the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University and currently works as a program manager at State Public Policy Group in Des Moines. During her senior year at Simpson College, Britney led an initiative to pass a new state law providing more options for Iowans to go back and earn high school equivalency degrees by applying work experience to diploma requirements. Britney served as philanthropy chair of the Simpson College chapter of Delta Delta Delta and volunteered with the Wesley Service Scholars program on campus. Britney’s interest in politics began when she served as a page in the Iowa Senate during her junior year in high school. Ever since then, she has been interested in how politics and government impact lives. Public policy is important to Britney because she believes it has the power to make a positive difference in all people’s lives.
Alanna Wendt – Class of 2017
Alanna Wendt, a Culver Fellow alumna from Santa Rosa, California, graduated in April 2017 with a double major in Political Science and International Relations and a Theater minor. After earning her degree from Simpson College, Alanna enrolled at the University of Denver in the graduate program in international studies. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta, Simpson College Democrats, Simpson Debate Team, and the Pre-Law Society. As a Culver Fellow, she attended the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement Conference at the Harvard Institute of Politics on September 2015. Alanna was also selected to represent the Culver Center and Simpson College at two conferences in summer 2016 organized by the College Debate 2016 project to promote student political engagement through the presidential debates. She views the Culver Fellowship as an honor and looks forward to expanding her knowledge of government and public policy.
Michelle Beving – Class of 2016
Michelle Beving, a Culver Fellow alumna from Hartley, Iowa, graduated in December 2016 with double majors in Political Science and Religion. Michelle is currently employed as a Legal Assistant at Hedberg and Boulton, PC and lives in Des Moines. She served as a campus Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Vote Everywhere program, a nonpartisan voter registration initiative on college campuses nationwide. She also served as an intern in the office of the Iowa Secretary of State, assisting in the processing of voter registrations and election returns. In addition to being a Culver Fellow, Michelle was involved in Speech and Debate, served as Community Service Chair of Rotaract, and was a Wesley Service Scholar.
MacKenzie Bills – Class of 2016
MacKenzie Bills, a Culver Fellow alumna from Altoona, Iowa, graduated in April 2016 with a degree in Political Science and International Relations and minors in French and Religion. Immediately after graduation, Bills traveled to Djibouti to serve as a U.S. State Department public diplomacy intern at the U.S. Embassy. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Malaysia as a U.S. cultural ambassador in 2017. Returning from Malaysia, Bills worked as the Africa Report Editor for the annual International Religious Freedom Reports for the U.S. State Department before landing at her current position where she works as an Analyst covering East Africa in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. State Department.
During her senior year at Simpson, Bills participated in the Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP), serving as a research intern with the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum Institute and as a research intern with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. She was heavily involved in Simpson’s campus, as a Culver Fellow, Wesley Service Scholar, Pi Beta Phi, member of Simpson College Democrats, and Interfaith Undergraduate Assistant through Simpson’s Religious Life Community. In the past, she interned for former U.S. Representative Leonard L. Boswell on his 2012 congressional campaign.
As someone who is deeply passionate about public policy and politics, Bills founded Simpson Votes, a nonpartisan student organization that registers hundreds of students to vote each year. Her passion for civic engagement has opened up many opportunities for her. She was able to engage students across the southern half of Iowa’s college campuses as the Campus Election Engagement Project’s Iowa contact. She furthered her voter engagement work across the state as Lead Campus Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Vote Everywhere program. In the summer of 2013, she also interned in Washington D.C. for U.S. Representative Bruce Braley’s office and was a Virtual Intern for the U.S. State Department. MacKenzie served as a Government Affairs intern for LS2group during the 2015 and 2016 sessions of the Iowa Legislature. Public policy is important to Bills because she believes it strengthens democracy. It encourages everyone to have an opinion which leads to a better world.
“The Culver program has connected me with so many people and organizations. I have had some great opportunities and will have numerous more to come. Lastly, I have made some great friendships out of it.”
Ethan Fredrick – Class of 2016
Ethan Fredrick, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Ankeny, Iowa, graduated in April 2016 with a degree in History and Economics. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in history at the University of Minnesota. Fredrick was a page in the Iowa Senate, a fellow for the Obama for America campaign in 2012, and served as the Simpson College student body president in 2015. He served as student body treasurer from September 2013 to December 2014. He presided over the Simpson College Democrats, Inter-Fraternity council, and was active within his own fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. As a member of the Simpson Speech and Debate team, Fredrick earned individual national championships in Open Parli and anchored the team’s national championship at PKD nationals in spring 2016. Fredrick earned the senior history award and was lauded by professors in his department for possessing “superpowers” of persuasion. He also served as an assistant coach of the Ankeny High School Debate team.
Public service is important to Fredrick because society is shaped by individual choices. He feels his participation allows him to input his values into the process, and he believes that a true test of public service is encouraging others to share their beliefs and ideas in our decisions as well.
Molly Monk – Class of 2016
Molly Monk, a Culver Fellow alumna from Rochester, Minnesota, graduated in April 2016 with a degree in Political Science and International Relations and a minor in French. The summer after graduating, she continued her undergraduate research applying mathematical modeling techniques to the study of the invasive weed Palmer Amaranth, which is destroying cropland across the South and creeping into the Midwest. In the fall of 2016, Monk accepted a position as an accelerator program manager with the nonprofit start-up accelerator New Bohemian Innovation Collective (NewBoCo) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As a senior, Monk was elected class president and homecoming queen. While studying at Simpson, she worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer at the Des Moines Catholic Worker, a local homeless outreach center. She served as a research intern on homelessness for the Institute for Community Alliances. Monk also completed internships for the Iowa Senate Democratic Research Team and worked with the American Legion Auxiliary as a convention speaker and a counselor for their Girls State and Girls Nation programs. She spent the spring semester of 2014 studying abroad in French Polynesia as a Cowles Fellow. While suffering from acute sunshine withdrawal, she worked on research regarding the politics of independence in French Polynesia and presented her findings in spring 2015
“The Culver Center made it possible for me to attend Simpson College. I’m thankful for all of the opportunities it has created for me and the people I have been able to meet.”
Valerie Goodhue-Nolte – Class of 2015
Valerie Goodhue-Nolte, a Culver Fellow alumna from Carlisle, Iowa, graduated in May 2015 with a double major in French and Spanish and minor concentrations in Political Science and History. In the fall of 2015, she enrolled in the Master of Accounting program at Drake University. As a student, Goodhue-Nolte participated in Simpson College Republicans and Simpson Students for Life. Public policy and service are both important to her because her goal is to make a positive change in this country by inspiring her future students to be active members of the community. “The Culver Fellowship provided some wonderful opportunities such as bringing amazing speakers to campus.”
Kyle Hauswirth – Class of 2015
Kyle Hauswirth, a Culver Fellow alumnus from Corwith, Iowa, graduated in December 2015 with a degree in Political Science and Marketing. After graduation, Hauswirth moved to Washington, DC to pursue a master’s degree in political management at George Washington University. He also served on U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s Capitol Hill staff. Hauswirth is pursuing a career in politics because he would like to make the United States stronger and a better place to live. He is a member of the largest North American Greek-letter fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, which he served as Eminent Recorder while studying at Simpson College. He was also involved with the Freemasons and Inter-fraternity Council. To Hauswirth, public policy and service have both been extremely important from the very start. He has always wanted to help people and to make the world thrive.
“It was a great opportunity and honor to be a Culver Fellow. It has allowed me to travel to great places such as Harvard, and really do some serious networking and working on my career. I’m really looking forward to the future of the Center and all the good it will do.”
Steffi Lee – Class of 2015
Steffi Lee, a Culver Fellow alumna from Anaheim, California, graduated in May 2015 with a major in Multimedia Journalism and a minor in Political Science. After graduation, Lee accepted a position as a multimedia journalist for KGAN CBS 2 Iowa in Cedar Rapids, covering a range of local and regional news stories. She went on to cover politics and government for broadcasters in central Iowa, Alaska, and Texas. At Simpson, she served as the editor-in-chief of The Simpsonian and was a member of Pi Beta Phi. While a student, she also worked as a part-time reporter, editor, and photographer at KCCI 8 News, the CBS affiliate television station in Des Moines. In February 2015, Lee was honored by the Iowa College Media Association with its first-ever Student Journalist of the Year Award. She previously studied abroad in Poland as a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar. “Being a Culver Fellow was one of the greatest honors. This fellowship allowed me to deepen my understanding of public policy. It also allowed me to participate in activities such as the CBS student panel with Scott Pelley on the evening news. The Culver Fellowship furthered my conviction about how service is extremely imperative to keep our country flourishing.”
Thomas Sanford – Class of 2015
Thomas Sanford, a Culver Fellow alumnus from New Hampton, Iowa, graduated in May 2015 with a major in Political Science and minor in Business Management. As a Simpson student, Tom studied abroad in Adelaide, Australia and served as an intern in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa. He was heavily involved in Simpson’s campus as a Culver Fellow and as a member of Pre-Law Society and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
After graduating from Simpson, Tom attended the Georgetown University Law Center, earning his J.D. in 2018. While at Georgetown, he served as a summer clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa for the Honorable Stephen B. Jackson, Jr., as an Honors Legal Intern with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and as a Legal Intern at the Investment Company Institute. Tom now practices corporate and securities law at the Los Angeles office of Greenberg Traurig LLP. He has experience counseling clients on issues arising under the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940, and the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, as well as various state securities laws. He also has considerable experience counseling clients on corporate governance, fiduciary matters, and a variety of other transactional matters.
Annie Olson – Class of 2014
Annie Olson graduated magna cum laude in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a minor in Political Science. A member of the inaugural class of Culver Fellows, Annie was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society. She also served as the Undergraduate Assistant for the Iowa History Center. Annie was honored to be one of the initial recipients of a John C. Culver Fellowship at Simpson. She hails from Santa Rosa, California. Annie has familial ties to Iowa, as her dad grew up in Ames and also attended Simpson College. Currently, Annie attends The University of San Francisco where she is pursuing her Master of Arts in Teaching. She hopes to teach high school English and History. Annie greatly values her Culver Fellowship experience:
“But for the Culver Fellowship, I probably would not have chosen to attend Simpson College. I would have missed out on the opportunity to meet interesting and influential people, such as Senator Culver and George McGovern, and to immerse myself in current political and social issues.”
Dillon Thiner – Class of 2014
Dillon Thiner of Graettinger, Iowa was a member of the inaugural class of Culver Fellows. He graduated in May 2014 with a triple major in Political Science, International Relations, and Business Management. Following graduation, he accepted a position as Consulting Group Analyst for Morgan Stanley in West Des Moines, Iowa. Thiner aims to work on an international scale and hopes to eventually become an ambassador. At Simpson, he was involved in Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Model United Nations. He is also active in the Iowa Democratic Party. Thiner believes that public policy affects every aspect of daily life; everything from turning on a light to the water we drink, which is why he strongly believes in the importance of developing sound public policy.
“The Culver Center provided me with opportunities that I would never have had anywhere else. The events that the Culver Center hosts and the speakers it brings to campus give students invaluable insights, as well as access to a network of successful individuals as mentors. Many of my most memorable political experiences would have never been possible without the Culver Center.”
Interested in becoming a Culver Fellow? Download the John C. Culver Fellowship Application today.