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Simpson Faculty Showcase Lecture Series

November 2021

A biology professor who moonlights as an Ironman triathlete. An education professor who is an expert about Iowa's role in WWII. A religion professor who explores how religion was used to racialize medieval Europe. A biology professor who converges the areas of architecture and design.

The distinguished faculty of Simpson College enjoy a wide range of passions, interests and expertise. The Simpson Faculty Showcase Lecture Series provided the chance to learn from their in-depth knowledge. The virtual series was held via Zoom the first four Tuesdays of November 2021. All four installments can be viewed on-demand below.

Watch the Lectures

My Journey to Becoming an Ironman

Nov. 2, 2021
Dr. Ryan Rehmeier, professor of biology, and Tara Rehmeier

In this lecture, Rehmeier tells the story of how and why he started swimming, biking, and running like he enjoyed it. I’ll document his humble beginnings of being unable to swim the length of a pool and having only a mountain bike on which to race, to today, where he's completed 56 triathlons, including 13 Ironman races all over North America, and his full carbon, electronic shifting triathlon bike is, well, his baby. Rehmeier's wife Tara joins in to keep him honest in the recounting of how things actually transpired, highlight the highs and lows of some of their travels to various races, and then be embarrassed when he heaps praise on her for the unwavering support he's received from her and others along the way. He'll wrap up with some noteworthy lessons learned over the past 20 years of chasing down an elusive entry to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

Working with the enemy: German, Italian, and Japanese Prisoners of War in Iowa from 1943-1946

Nov. 9, 2021
Dr. Chad Timm ’95, professor of education

This lecture focuses on the creation of two Prisoner of War (POW) camps in Iowa during the Second World War: one in the Northern Iowa town of Algona and one in the Southwestern Iowa town of Clarinda. Some of the topics discussed will be life in a prisoner of war camp, community relations, the POW labor program, branch camps in more than 30 Iowa communities, and the arrival of Japanese prisoners at Camp Clarinda in early 1945. 

Biological Design – From Cells to Palaces

Nov. 16, 2021
Dr. Aswati Subramanian, assistant professor of biology

This talk explores the convergence of biology, design, and architecture through biomimicry and bio-design. Principles of biomimicry rely on forms and functions in nature to find solutions to complex human problems. Historically speaking, these range from the mechanics of human flight to designing self-healing polymers. On the other hand, bio-design harnesses living materials in making objects of use or architectural pieces. Both biomimicry and bio-design, together, are essential for a sustainable lifestyle. This talk  emphasizes how the liberal arts at Simpson College provides a perfect playground for teaching students to find creative solutions through the theoretical study of biomimicry and bio-design. These studies will, in turn, allow them to engage in laboratory research and modeling competitions to showcase their inter-disciplinary talents on both national and international platforms.

Our Tribe’s Complicity: Religion and Racism in Medieval Europe and Their Modern American Echoes

Nov. 23, 2021
Dr. Maeve Callan, professor of religion

White supremacists have repeatedly brandished medieval religious imagery and twisted medieval history to serve their agendas. Their actions attest to their ignorance, however, including about the ways in which medieval Europeans were anything but unified as some imagined white race. In this talk, Professor Maeve Callan will explore how religion was used to racialize even members of the same faith in the medieval British Isles to justify imperialist colonialism and how, why, and when European whiteness was invented.