Slaying on the runway M Leonard finds power and passion in drag
What subscription box should you get? Olympian Kip Janvrinâ€™s passion carries on after his college days
SIMPSON STUDENT MEDIA
88.9 The Storm @KSTMFM
ID Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jayde Vogeler
Editorial Assistant Daria Mather
Advertising Manager Baillee Furst
Editorial Staff Johanna Beierle Blake Carlson Madison DePover Jonathan Facio Morgan Frideres Daria Mather Emma Schlenker Zoe Seiler Laura Wiersema Most people don’t discover their passion right away in their lives. Some find it in grade school while others don’t find it until they’re 40 years-old. Coming into Simpson, I had no idea what I wanted to major in or what activities I wanted to be a part of. But, through my work study, my time with Simpson Student Media and later internships, my four years at Simpson have shown me graphic design is my passion while also growing my love for sports and the media world. I’ve grown as a person here at Simpson College and am so thankful that I’ve been given the opportunity to learn and grow with my passions. In this edition of ID Magazine, you can check out stories of people discovering their own passions. We talked with Simpson alum Kip Janvrin about his track and field journey to the Olympics on page 23, with senior Valería Gonzalez about discovering her love for learning about different cultures by studying abroad on page 31 and with freshman M Leonard about working his way to the top of the drag world on page 27. You can also find a new book to dive into this summer on page 5 or learn why students decorate their laptops with stickers on page 15. Thanks for picking up this spring’s edition of ID Magazine. Enjoy!
Photography Daryl Batt Madison DePover Emma Schlenker Jayde Vogeler
Design Jonathan Facio Sam McCauley Jayde Vogeler
Special Thanks: Mark Siebert
Have a great summer, Copyright © 2017 ID Magazine is created and produced by students at Simpson College. Opinions stated or implied by the magazine are those of the students involved and are not approved or endorsed by Simpson College no material may be reproduced without written permission send all comments, questions and concerns to email@example.com.
Jayde Vogeler, Editor-in-Chief
Editorial Philosophy: ID Magazine is a publication created for Simpson Students. Our main goal is to share the many personallities of our student body and vice some of our perspective in regards to the world around us. We want to maintain an aesthetic that appears to our young people. Of course we want to be taken seriously, but this is not your mother’s magazine.
27 09 31 15 10
05 Staying LIT[erate]
What’s in the Box?
Sticking With It
A Day Trip on Interstate 80
Kip Janvrin: Olympian, Coach and Simpson Alum
Queen of Drag
Embracing the Unexpected
Staying LIT[erate] Story by Daria Mather Design by Jayde Vogeler
As summer rolls quickly upon us, it is always a good idea to keep a book with you no matter if you’re sitting on a beach or waiting for a bus to work. Here are four books that are good reads for the summer ranging from fantasy to history to science. No matter what you like to read, one of these books satisfies your story cravings.
Girls Burn Brighter ➤
Astrophysics for ➤ People in a Hurry
by Shobha Rao
by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Published in March this year, “Girls Burn Brighter” is a very strong women’s literature book about a girl name Poorina who lives in India and encounters a forever friend. Poornima’s mother passed away and now takes care of her siblings while she waits for her father to arrange a marriage for her. Savitha comes into Poornima’s life and changes it for the better as they become friends. When Savitha is driven away, Poornima takes off on a cross-country adventure to find her friend. While finding each other, these two friends discover the fire within themselves.
Tyson released his short explanation of astrophysics book in May of 2017 and became a #1 New York Times Bestseller. For people who want to know more about the universe or are fans of Tyson, this is the book for you. He guest-starred on many popular television shows like “Big Bang Theory” and “The Simpsons” and stars in his Netflix series “Cosmos”. In this 224-page overview, Tyson breaks the complex ideas of astrophysics down into easier, understandable ideas so people who don’t understand science can follow along.
The Odds of Loving ➤ Grover Cleveland The Radium Girls ➤ by Rebekah Crane
by Kate Moore
Released in December of 2016, “The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland” is a coming-of-age story about a sixteen-year-old girl named Zander Osborne. She goes to Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens. Zander learns many new things about herself and about her newfound friendships, especially when things take a turn for the worse. It is a great read that you will want to devour all at once. Get ready to camp out with this one.
“The Radium Girls” is a historical novel about a group of women using radium to make watch faces glow in the dark in the early twentieth century. People believed their jobs were the special and great ones. They began to fall ill due to the radium and were ignored when it was brought up to be an issue. They fought to be noticed for workers’ rights with many of their coworkers. While this book was released in April of 2017, it is a story about powerful women that should not go unnoticed.
Story by Zoe Seiler Photo and design by Jayde Vogeler
Remember when your mom told you not to drink coffee because it would stunt your growth? Well, drinking three to five cups of black coffee is associated with these five health benefits:
Moderate coffee consumption has been linked with longer lifespan
The University of Southampton conducted a study on the impact of coffee on the body. They found that people who drink three cups of coffee a day had the largest decrease in the risk of dying young.
Coffee may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
Drinking coffee is consistently tied with a lower risk of dying from heart disease and stroke by 19 percent. Heart experts say these benefits come from the effect coffee has on keeping blood vessels flexible and healthy.
Coffee may reduce the risk of cancer
Coffee beans have antioxidants that are thought to be protective against some cancers, such as liver cancer. Drinking one cup of coffee reduced the risk by 20 percent, two cups by 35 percent and five cups by 50 percent, according to the University of Southampton study.
Coffee lowers the risk of neurological conditions
Studies have found drinking coffee has reduced the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe some chemicals in coffee may reduce inflammation, which has been found to play a role in dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Coffee may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes
Coffee’s ingredients can affect hormone levels involved in metabolism, which decreases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 11 percent, according to Time Magazine.
President Simmons is hiding among the
student trying to bl end in. Can you pick out the real Jay Si mmons?
by Sam M
Summer boozin PiĂąa Colada
Winding down in the summer heat with a drink and fruit is an easy way to cool down. Why not combine the fruit and drink to a smoothie and add the bonus of booze to the mix? Combine the ingredients into a blender to try these three recipes this summer.
Recipes and photos by Jayde Vogeler
8-9 chunks of pineapple 2 oz of coconut rum 1/2 c of cocunut water/milk handful of ice
5-6 strawberries 8-9 raspberries 2 oz cherry vodka 1/4 c of plain yogurt handful of ice
5-6 chunks of pineapple 1/2 mango 2 oz of rum 1 cup of OJ handful of ice
What’s in the Box? Stories by Morgan Frideres and Johanna Beierle Photos and design by Jayde Vogeler
Besides the bills, receiving mail is pretty exciting knowing it’s something you’ve ordered. With subscription boxes, it’s like getting a gift delivered at a precise moment. With so many different options, narrowing down what kind of subscription box can be tough. ID Magazine checked out five different options, just scratching the surface of the subscription box world.
For the Eco-Friendly Save the world – one subscription box at a time. MightyNest was created by a couple who wanted to reduce the use of products with harmful chemicals in them when they had their first baby, according to their website. The couple did extensive research to cut back on harmful chemical products, and they wanted to help those who don’t have the time but still care about the health of their family. All of MightyNest’s products are healthy, green and affordable, helping in five key areas of the home: cleaning, disposables,
*Towel not included
skincare, breathing and food. These products help the subscriber ditch plastic wrap and chemical dryer sheets, try natural deodorant and more. The founders already tested products and did the research for you – all you have to do is subscribe. MightyNest has two subscription box options: Mighty Fix, which helps people transition to healthier and greener living for $10 a month, and MightyBody, which contains natural skin care products for $12.99 a month.
MightyNest also offers products to buy without a subscription. Delivered in March’s MightyFix box, there werethree wool dryer balls made out of 100 percent premium New Zealand wool. These handmade dryer balls replace dryer sheets containing synthetic chemicals and decrease drying time significantly. To start building up your ec0-friendly product collection, visit mightynest.com
For the World Food Traveler Yümmy Bazaar If wanderlust and traveling is on your mind, this subscription box brings tastes from around the world to your front door. Yümmy Bazaar aims to bring authentic, locally grown food, according to their website. A team picks the highest quality and most delicious food, which they claim is “the most delicious assortment in the world.” The company has two choices for monthly subscription boxes – a world sampler box for $9.95 a month, or the full experience box for $35.95 a month. Yümmy Bazaar’s world sampler box contains samples of food from multiple countries. Each box comes with five to six snacks, seasonings, candies and other assortments of food to try from around the world. The full experience box focuses on a different country each month. Each box has full sized cooking ingredients, desserts, spices and more – arguably the most authentic experience. Both box subscriptions have one, three, six or twelve month subscription options. March’s world sampler box featured food items from Japan, Korea, Thailand, Turkey and Italy. Items included were roasted coconut chips, Tavuk Harci, seaweed sheets, pomodoro flavored crackers, melon candies and a green tea Kit-Kat. All these products are sold in full-size on their website yummybazaar.com.
For the Stylist FabFitFun
You’ve seen it all over Instagram and especially on ex-Bachelor contestant’s social media accounts. With a variety of makeup, accessories and trendy items, FabFitFun is the subscription box you didn’t know you needed. Originally a lifestyle brand only producing online content, co-founders Daniel Broukhim, Michael Broukhim and Katie Rosen Kitchens saw the potential in a curated lifestyle box. The box is modelled after VIP gift bags given out at press events. In every box you get $200 worth of full-sized beauty, fitness and lifestyle products. With your FabFitFun box, you also get access to FabFitFunTV, exclusive member sales and a private FabFitFun community. Each season, FabFitFun also donates a portion of the proceeds to a charity of their choice.
FabFitFun subscribers get the choice of paying a quarterly subscription ($49.99), renewing after each paid period, or a one-time annual subscription ($179.99). With any subscription, you can pick and choose between products, but with the annual subscription, you not only save $20, but are allowed even further customization picking and choosing the designs and colors of certain products. You also get access to seasonal add-ons and early shipping. A $10 student discount is also available for first-time buyers to try. Discover how to access the discount, what past boxes were offered and learn more about the stylish subscription box on fabfitfun.com.
Spring Season Box Rachel Pally Clutch Retail: $60 Maya Brenner Love Bracelet Retail: $65 Free People Cooling Eye Mask Retail: $40
Physique 57 Massage Roller Retail: $20 KNC Beauty Collagen Infused Lip Masks (5) Retail: $25 (all)
Spongelle Body Wash Infused Buffer Retail: $16 Dove Exfoliating Body Polish sample Retail: $6 (10.5 oz, Target)
Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion Retail: $40 Dermelect Makeover Concealing Ridge Filler Retail: $18
ISH Beauty Lip Statement Palette Retail: $42
For the Beauty Guru Beauty subscription boxes have been trending for years like Ipsy, Birchbox and most recently Sephora Play. But did you know that even your favorite one-stop shops like Target have beauty boxes as well? The Target Beauty Box is unique because it’s technically not a subscription box. On the first day of each month, Target releases their new Beauty Box online and in select stores. These boxes sell out fast, so you need to get your hands on them quickly.
Target Beauty Box
what you are getting before you order that month’s box. Check out Target’s website and search beauty box for more information on each month’s box. In March, they released four beauty boxes and we were able to get our hands on “Define and Shine”. Inside were six products for people with curly hair:
June Carter Curls To Go Un-tangle Me, Camilie Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter Gel, Camilie Rose Naturals Aimond Jai Twisting Butter, TGIN Honey Mask, MIELLE ORGANIC Detangling Co-Wash, and MIELLE ORGANIC Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner.
Each box costs either $7 or $10 depending on the month and the products inside. The products are also listed online each month so you know
For the Happy Feet Socks are not just a boring present from your grandparents on your birthday. They don’t have to be boring at all. More than a necessity, socks should be fun. With Sockwork, subscribers can get cool new socks each month. Sockwork was founded by a veteran, and 10 percent of profits are donated to a different veteran charity each month,
according to its website. The founder looks to support a good cause and give people great prices on a fun mix of socks. Subscribers start by picking their subscription type – His Socks, Her Socks, His & Her Socks, Athletic Socks, Men’s Boxer Briefs or a combination of briefs and socks. After selecting which type of sock, you can pick which style
and frequency you want. Each subscription is around $20 for a month-to-month subscription or a three, six or twelve month prepay subscription – all with free shipping. Want to give it a try? Visit sockwork.com to start your sock journey.
Want to be a part of a great organization like ID Magazine? Contact ID Magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out idmagsc.com to look at other great content.
STICKING WITH IT Walk into the library, Kent or any classroom and at least one studentâ€™s computer is covered in stickers. Ordering them from Redbubble or Etsy, stickers are a cheap, fun way to dress up a personal computer. While people do get stickers because they are cute, some studentâ€™s stickers have an extra meaning behind them and represent who they are as a person.
Story and photos by Madison DePover Design by Jayde Vogeler
Carter Stacey LFK (Lawrence Fucking/Freaking Kansas): “I am from Lawrence, Kansas and this a saying we have. It is all over and everyone says it in some form.”
I Love You Most Ardently: “This is from my favorite book, “Pride and Prejudice”, and I really enjoy having this small, simple sticker that not many people understand so people have to ask about it.”
Boji: “I have been going to Okoboji in the summer since I was a baby with my family at my grandparents’ condo. So when I found this cute simple Boji sticker, I got it for the sentimental value.”
Riley Brennan Equality oneiowa.org: “I think it’s important to represent that the LGBTQ community is important and that One Iowa is an organization. I think a lot of people don’t really know about it but is a great resource out there for people needing extra support or connecting them to other recourses to help them through the coming out process, transitioning, or advocacy against decimations or even just sexual health and awareness.”
Planned Parenthood: “These are important to me because I love Planned Parenthood and really support the work that they do.”
Will Seiler Ted Cruz: “My sister got that for me for Christmas. I judge a lot of debate rounds and we have our computers open for it. It initially looks like I am a Ted Cruz supporter, but if you look closer its clear I am not, so it really throws them off. But it’s just a fun sticker and a conversation piece.”
King: All in Merch: “I got this when I was in high school, and I used to be more involved in punk rock music and that music scene. I put one on because it reminds me of that age of music for me.”
I listened to N.P.R. before it was cool.: “My father got this for me because we grew up listening to N.P.R. I think that it’s true, and it is an easy way to say I am an N.P.R supporter. But I am also a narcissist and a hipster, so it really gets it all encompassing.”
Jacob Bruns “For all the stickers on my computer, none of them touch each other because I like to keep it very orderly. I can’t stand when stickers touch each other or when people put stickers directly on their computers because I am terrified of ever trying to take a sticker off and leave residue on my computer.”
The Prindle Institute for Ethics: “I got this sticker at APPE (Association of Practical and Applied Ethics) to remind me of something that I can do with my philosophy degree beyond college.”
Catan: “I got this sticker in the board game Solos of Catan. I really like the game and I think it’s a pretty sticker that is different with the negative space it incorporates.”
Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) Logo: “I wanted this sticker to show my support for this organization when I found out about them supporting a fight in Des Moines to protect people against housing discrimination based on sources of income. Along with other groups, there are issues I agree with.”
Brooklyn Hunter “Stickers are a permanent thing because once I put one, on I can’t get it back. So I have a collection of stickers that I have bought or been given but cannot commit to putting on my computer yet.”
Alaska: “I was born in Alaska, so when I went and visited my first time since I was a baby, I got a sticker while I was there from my hometown.”
Not all who wander are lost: “This is my favorite quote by J. R. R. Tolkien, and it is a running joke with my dad. He would always say it backwards, ‘Not all who are lost wander,’ and my dad ended up buying this for me.”
A Day Trip on Interstate
In exactly two hours you can get from Simpson College to Iowa City on Interstate 80– home of the first Panchero’s, the original state capitol building and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. On this day trip you can eat breakfast in bed, go on a great adventure and still make it back before dinner time.
On a weekend when a college kid has nothing to do, grab a friend or two and take a day trip to Iowa City to make some stops off the beaten path. Story and photos by Emma Schlenker Design by Jayde Vogeler
Stop first at the Outlets of Des Moines in Altoona, one of Des Moines’ most recent outlet malls. With brands on extreme discounts, it’s the perfect place to shop for a professional look on a student budget. Express, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and Michael Kors all offer discounted products and frequently have sales. Have your co-pilot in the passenger seat look up the directory on the way to see what is going on the day you are there or look early and plan your adventure around future sales.
The Sitting Man
Keep an eye out for the Sitting Man statue located in northeast Iowa City.
Minutes south of I-80, drive down Harvest Road to get a quick look of the 20-foot tall, 110-ton limestone statue of a fat man sitting on a bench that is hard to miss. Built on private property, you can’t stop to see it without prior permission from the land owners (call 319-337-4883 for details) but is worth driving by. It is extraordinarily impressive, even from the road. Adventure to Formosa, an awardwinning sushi restaurant in the downtown area. A lunch option on the weekend and dinner choice during the week, they offer signature sushi rolls to a sushi burrito named after California to stir fry options. You are in for a unique experience. Exclusive to Formosa, they also have a Dance Marathon Roll. Each roll purchased donates $2 to University of Iowa Dance Marathon funding the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
and art galleries to visit. You’ll also drive past Kinnick Stadium, home to the Iowa Hawkeyes, on the way out of town. This is the same one where the introduction of the famous Hawkeye Wave is and you can see the children’s hospital they wave to right next door as well.
goods. From local wines, homemade jams, candies and chocolates, to the coolest room dedicated to year-round Christmas, the Amana Colonies are an adventure around every corner. Careful though, most of the roads don’t show up on Google Maps and it’s not too hard to get lost in the colonies.
Save time on your way home for a piece of rural Iowa history. The Amana Colonies are former communal communities founded in the tradition of German Pietism who were persecuted in their homeland. If you’re not interested in the history lesson, check it out for the delicious food and beautiful handmade
Depending on how long you spend in each of these places, or if you find any other stops along the way, you could spend an entire day out and be home for dinner or at least before midnight. It’s totally up to you and how much time you allot to each activity.
Take a pit stop to take a selfie with the capitol building located on University of Iowa’s campus. There is also a museum
Amana Colonies history and The Christmas Room
Kip Janvrin : Olympian, coach and Simpson alum
Story and design by Jonathan Facio
A graduate in 1988, Kip Janvrin competed for Simpson College on the track team in the decathalon. Making his dream a reality, Janvrin made the 2000 Olympic team to compete in the decathalon despite multiple failed attempts and teammates teasing him saying a Division III athlete could never make it. In this Q&A, Janvrin reflects on his journey from childhood to the present in track and field.
What was your relationship like with sports growing up? My dad was a coach and athletic director at Panora- Linden, which is now Panorama, west of Des Moines about 40 miles. I was basically, I don’t wanna say drug (into sports), because I enjoyed it, but he coached almost every sport at one time or another at that school. I can remember going to football practices, basketball practices, to track practice, and if there was free time, I’d be trying to shoot a basket from the corner at a time when I could barely get the ball to the rim. I can remember jumping on the high jump mats when I was itty bitty, running on the track and going with my mom when she’d go bowling. I always had sports around me so it was something that was a part of my life. With all those sports growing up, when did you know that track was going to be your sport? Well in high school, I played football for one year then ran cross country the next three, played baseball, basketball and track through high school, but I probably enjoyed basketball the most. But by the time I got through junior year of high school I kind of realized that track was what I was best at, what I had the most potential at. Another thing that drew me to it (track) was it was basically me against the event. The more I worked at it, the harder I tried, the more results I got. It helped to not rely on anybody else. So I would say that at some point after my junior year of high school I realized track was probably what I had the most potential at.
that just meant something to me, it was kind of important that this guy must care about me because he came and watched me. I guess that’s what triggered it. You know, at the time I didn’t really know why I ended up there but I’m so glad I did. So in this stage, you’re still kind of in basketball mode. When did track start to play a big factor in your college athletic career? I had some success in high school, I was considered an AllAmerican just because I won a handful of events. I did a decathlon, I was the state champ at small schools. Really, my marks weren’t very good, but my success as a well-rounded athlete gave me a little bit of notoriety I guess. I think the local paper wrote an article about me my freshman year before track ever started, talking about ‘Simpson had this all-around good athlete who can do a lot of things.’ I felt like I had some shoes to fill that I needed to accomplish. I always had big goals; I wanted to be good from the get-go, I wanted to be as good as I could. Probably one of the things that hit home for me, that really gave me a desire to reach my greater ability, was during my freshman year. I got hurt
Graduating from high school, what drew you to Simpson College? To be honest with you, the only time I was on Simpson’s campus was for something basketball related. The only school I visited was Northern Iowa. It came down to between Graceland and Simpson, and I kind of went back and forth. The coach at the time at Simpson was John Curtin and he had come and watched me play a basketball game at Earlham during my senior year. I guess
Kip Janvrin (right) stands on the podium of the 2000 Olympic trials placing third.
during the indoor season, and there was some time where I was in a cast and couldn’t do anything. I had a stress fracture, and I didn’t get to go to some meets. I remember after the indoor national meet, the athletes came back and we had two national champions, Danny Bauer in the 5K, and Kirk Pederson in the 800m. They sat and told the whole team about their experience and what it was like to win a national title. I got big that day and said, ‘I want to be that. I want to be a national champion. I want to do whatever they did to be the best that I could be.’ That was an eye opener. I knew how hard those guys worked and how long they worked to be as good as they could be. That was kind of a turning point for me in that ‘Hey, I need to do all the things I can to be the best that I can be’.
year and considered transferring because I felt like I wanted to compete against better people. I thought all the Division I schools had all of the bells and whistles and all of the things that could make me great. I finally realized that Simpson was the right place because of Guy Mosher and the other coaches. I could also do all of these other events and be successful.
“I got big that day and said, ‘I want to be that. I want to be a national champion. I want to do whatever they did to be the best that I could be.’ That was an eye opener.”
That year, I had a good score at the Drake Relays, and I qualified for the U.S. Championships. Now I’m going to compete against the best. The first U.S. Championships I competed in, I was sixth place. And I said, ‘Man, these guys are just like the Division III and Division I guys. They’re just better.’ They spend more time crafting. That was another motivator. I said, ‘I’m going to spend the next three years to train for the 1992 Olympic trials, to be as good as these guys’.
We see your name around Simpson, and you graduated with five national titles under your belt. What pushed you to keep going after college ended? Did you have aspirations to go to the Olympics right away? Well, we go back to that article that was written my freshman year, I think I may have mentioned I wanted to go to the Olympics. You know, some of the kids on the team made fun of me because who from Division III goes to the Olympics? They gave me a bad time about it, but it was always in the back of my mind. I thought I could be very good, I could be successful. During my time at Simpson, initially I thought, ‘Hey, I want to qualify for the national meet, and then I want to be a national champion’. Those things did kind of happen pretty quickly. I went and visited Iowa State after my sophomore
I did a couple decathlons a year and that was where I was, but the other events is what let me continue to progress. I tried to make the Olympic trials (after graduating in 1988), and I came up short and really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to keep training though. I was going to go to the University of Minnesota-Mankato but went to Central Missouri at the last minute.
How I stayed in it as long as I did, I never thought I would. 1996 was going to be really the end of it. That’s what I trained the hardest for, the ‘96 trials. I had the seventh best score in the world that year, but because I was in the U.S. and three guys got better scores, I didn’t go. I was going to be done after the trials, but once again I had qualifying marks for the ‘97 championships. Each year I kept being good, and nobody knows really how it happened in 2000 (to get to the Olympics). It was just a lot of luck because I wasn’t near as good as I was in ‘96 or ‘92 for that matter. When you missed the mark, or had teammates
saying ‘We’re DIII, it’s not going to happen’, and were competing with some of the best in the world, what was it about you that kept you going? I just loved it. I loved the competition. I loved being around those guys, the camaraderie. I loved the challenge of the daily grind. I enjoyed the workouts, I enjoyed the time in the weight room. During most of my career, we had a sponsorship deal with Visa. The top guys in the U.S. Championships every year made what’s called the Visa team. They had a couple of clinics every year, one was in the fall, one was around Christmas time. They brought us all together, and we trained together. They would bring all the gold medalists in our event, the decathlon, to come and hang out with us, try to give us the code to what made them successful. I just really loved that. I just couldn’t wait to hang out with those guys. Some of those guys are my best friends now, some of them have come and stayed at my house and I’ve gone to their house. It’s just the uniqueness of what the decathlon is. Yeah, you’re competing against each other, but really you’re competing against yourself, the scoring table and the event. When I compete against one of the guys I consider my biggest rival, I can be happy for his success and he can be happy for mine at the same time. That is very unique in our sport. After your success as an athlete, what was it like transitioning to being a coach? I saw you coached the women’s team to a national championship in 2014 and ‘15 at Central Missouri. First and foremost, I was in the right place at the right time. The head coach retired here at Central Missouri in ‘96 right after the trials. Kirk and I were able to take over the program. There were some years where I was just hanging out here, training, being an assistant but I got my feet involved enough in the coaching. I had a program in place that felt successful and knew what we were going to do training-wise. I was very, very fortunate that my
boss, the administration, the athletic director, all of them allowed me to continue to train (while coaching). Whether I needed to be gone for a week for a competition in France or wherever, Kirk covered for me. As a decathlete, someone who pretty much does all
“I just loved it. I loved the competition. I loved being around those guys, the camaraderie. I loved the challenge of the daily grind.” of the events except for the distance, which Kirk covered, it was a natural transition for me. I had credibility because of my success, so the kids on the team listened to me, believed in what I was doing. A lot of times I was doing it with them. I used to always train with our best 400m runners. ‘Hey, if coach Janvrin’s doing it, why can’t we do it?’ Same thing in the weight room. I got the kids to buy into what we were doing because of the success that I had and the knowledge that I gained from all the clinics and all the coaches that I got to be around. I still had that passion for the sport, for track and field, for developing athletes, more now than I had back then. I’m not a young guy, I don’t have that type of energy anymore but I still have that passion. The success that that women’s team had during that one year was luck. We had a lot of other teams that place third or fourth in the nation, but that year was luck. We got a couple big recruits in and kids we developed over time, and everything just came together. For us to win an indoor and an outdoor title that year, it was pretty special.
M and Drag
QU E END R AG C O M IN G O U T O N T O P P S Story by Laura Wiersema
Photos by Daryl Batt
Design by Jayde Vogeler
“It’s expensive to look this cheap,” Simpson College freshman M Leonard says as he pulls on his 10th, and final, pair of tights. Usually he needs more to make his green foam butt pads look natural. While M has plenty of opportunities to perform as a theatre major and scholarship student, no college production makes him feel quite like he does when he’s performing in drag. “I can pick the songs I want. I can pick the outfits I’m wearing. I go up there when I want,” he says. “In drag, I get to be a lot more wild than in theatre shows.” The journey began when M was in high school in Ellsworth, Wis., when he and his friends still had time to watch “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. While they couldn’t perform because they weren’t 18, M and his friends did what they could, following drag queens on Instagram for style inspiration and watching hours of drag performances on YouTube.
“It’s expensive to look this cheap.”
“One of my friends performs as a drag queen in the Twin Cities now and we both got started right around the same time and worked on it together,” M says. Unfortunately, all that inspiration had to be put on pause until M was 18 and old enough to start performing at select bars in the Twin Cities. His first opportunity after his 18th birthday? The night before his high school graduation. “I was up till two in the morning in the Twin Cities performing, got up the next day and went and walked and graduated,” he says. That night, he got on stage for the first time as Tommi Topps, a stage name voted on by his friends. “Tommi is not me, and I’m not Tommi,” M says. “We act differently. Tommi is much more confident and feminine and can dance in front of people without feeling really embarrassed.”
Unlike most drag queens, M doesn’t have a set style for Tommi. While her personality never changes, her outfits and makeup are almost never the same. Sometimes he lets her contour be natural, but other times he uses his Simpson ID card to get the harsh lines drag is notorious for.
“Tommi is not me, and I’m not Tommi. We act differently.” “I really like to try different makeup styles,” he says. “I like to change it up a lot. It gives you a chance to be creative.” When M first came to Simpson in the fall semester of 2017, he thought his performing would be put on hold. At the time, his closest opportunity was at Studio 13 in Iowa City. Not only would he need to drive two hours each way to go, but their open stage is on a Wednesday night in the middle of the school week. Luckily, shortly after arriving on campus, The Garden in Des Moines started holding their 18 and up open-stage nights. M is also able to perform downtown Des Moines at The Blazing Saddle. While it can be scary performing on the same stage as established queens, M says the community is very supportive. “Everyone is very talented,” he says. “It’s very intimidating because I’m nowhere near as good as the queens who perform on open stages there.” M’s favorite drag queen isn’t in Des Moines, however. Her name is Utica and she performs in the Twin Cities as a comedic drag queen. “She is the nicest person I’ve ever met,” M says. “She’s always super confident and pushing people to perform better and helping people out.” While people don’t always know how to react when they find out he does drag, M says the response is generally positive. “A lot of people think it’s really cool,” he says. “Especially in the Twin Cities. It’s become a haven for really crazy experimentation in drag.”
People don’t always expect M performs as a drag queen but as a drag king. While he is early in his transition to becoming a man, M technically performs as a faux or bio queen, a female who performs as a drag queen. “All the other trans guys I knew performed as drag kings,” he says. “Personally, I felt like, since I’m a guy, I should perform as a queen. Also because I liked performing as a queen more because it’s more glamorous.”
“Also because I liked performing as a queen more because it’s more glamorous.” “I really like performing and I’d like to keep doing it for quite a while,” he says. “Continuing to perform in general is really important to me, getting better at what I do.”
In the future, M hopes to be able to be part of a stage show, appearing as one of the set queens who performs every night.
Embracing the Unexpected
Traveling 1,121 miles, senior Valería Gonzalez didn’t know what to expect traveling to Small Town, Iowa from a city of over one million people in Mexico. Story by Blake Carlson Photos and design by Jayde Vogeler
Valería Gonzalez is supposed to be at the University of Texas in El Paso studying to be a physics teacher right now. That was her plan all along, but somehow she ended up at Simpson College.
situation, she felt she would be placing a burden on her parents if she did not stay close to home.
Growing up in a city of 1.2 million people on the EasternMexican border, the thought of studying somewhere this far away never crossed her mind. Because of her family’s financial
After attending one and a half years of high school in her home city of Juárez, Mexico, the privately-owned school she was attending transitioned over to a public school, joining the
So how did she end up at Simpson?
took with professor Lisa Carponelli.
Valería had a choice: continue to study in Juárez and enter the public-school system or begin studying at the Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas.
“I remember it to this day because it helped me so much. She would say, ‘You are doing great, you are fine.’ She gave me the confidence I needed in the language, even if I made mistakes,” Valería said.
“New teachers were introduced, and it just was not the same. My mom had heard of the Lydia Patterson Institute a few months before this change happened, so I decided to attend there,” Valería said. Attending Lydia Patterson not only meant adjusting to a new school, but it also meant a different morning routine: crossing the Mexican-American border every day. Getting ready for school now involved waking up at 4:30 a.m. and starting the multi-hour process of going to class in a different country. “There would be days when the border patrol officer would just look at our passports and let us go. But there would be other times, if they were in a bad mood or something, they would make us wait for like an hour,” Valería said. Lydia Patterson Institute is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, allowing them to be an exclusive partner with Simpson College. Because of this relationship, the institute offers one student a full scholarship to come to Indianola. After being encouraged by a teacher to apply, Gonzalez was awarded the scholarship. However, it was a difficult decision to travel so far from home. But with the deadline approaching, she eventually decided to accept the scholarship. She made the journey from Juárez, Mexico to Indianola knowing very little English in her first semester at Simpson College. Being embarrassed to make mistakes, Valería said she owes her success to a public speaking class she
When she got to Simpson, she was shocked at just how many program options there were for her to explore. “I would come into my room every day in Kresge, where I had a list of the things I wanted to do. Every time I came back I would cross out one or add another,” Valería said. She traveled numerous miles, farther than she ever imagined, to her new home, studying in Iowa. But her journey would not stop in the Midwest. When she was a sophomore, she was presented with the opportunity to study abroad. Though she is already “abroad” while studying at Simpson, the opportunity to go further piqued her interest. Her three options for semester-long abroad programs were Argentina, Australia and Tahiti French Polynesia. With the application due in a week, she faced her decision of where to go. Because she speaks Spanish, she crossed Argentina off the list. Left with only two other options, Gonzalez also ruled out Australia. “For some reason, the week the applications were due I had seen a lot of videos about all of the things that can kill you in Australia,” Gonzalez said. “It is a funny decision, but I do not think I will ever go to Australia.” Her choice laid right in front of her- the
island of Tahiti French Polynesia. What also laid in front of her was overcoming one of her biggest fears. “I am terrified of islands. I feel like they are going to sink or a hurricane is going to hit and everyone is going to disappear,” Gonzalez said. Returning from Tahiti with a new sense
of independence, Valería declared a major in global management with a minor in French, later picking up a second minor in political science. Over her junior year, she took advantage of the on-campus opportunities she had previously missed out on. She was elected president of the International Students Organization, and became a student ambassador in the office of admissions specializing in tours for Spanish-speaking families. After studying abroad, Valería could not help but want to do it again one more time before leaving Simpson. Coincidentally, her adviser, professor Mark Green, was preparing to lead a semester abroad in London in fall 2017. With a year left, she was able to make it happen as she could take classes in her major while in the UK. Though she spent two semesters abroad ultimately missing out on a year of on-
campus activities, Valería is proud of her Simpson experience.
world in their own language,” Valería said.
“I love how I spent my four years. I do not think I would have changed anything,” she said.
For it is not the landscape or the culture of the world that intrigues her but the people.
The nervous freshman who came to Simpson unsure of what her future would hold now has a newfound sense of confidence and an desire to continue exploring.
“Having people feel good that you want to learn about their culture, that is just fascinating,” she said.
Gonzalez is unsure where will she go after she passes through the gates of College Hall. She will stay in the United States on a 12-month work permit hoping to find a global company that can sponsor a more permanent visa. If that doesn’t work out, she will continue to learn more about other countries and live somewhere she has always wanted to go: New Zealand. “One of my goals in life is to be able to speak to the people I meet all over the
As she reflects on where she was four years ago and how far she has come, Gonzalez believes everything fell into place for a reason. “I feel really strongly about how God sometimes has a plan for you that is nothing compared to what you had in mind. Honestly, that is what it has all been so far,” Valería said.
“One of my goals in life is to be able to speak to the people I meet all over the world in their own language... Having people feel good that you want to learn about their culture, that is just fascinating.”
SUMMER ! @ Fulfill an ECC Lighten your academic load Focus on a difficult course Get ahead or catch up No hassle with transfer credit from other institutions Study from home
SUMMER SESSION 1: May 29 to July 22, 2018 ONLINE COURSES ACCT 250: Introduction to Accounting Systems BIOL 104: Human Biology w/lab SR CMSC 220: The Social Context of Computing EV, IL MAGT 333: Organization and Behavior CL, OC MIS 145: Management Information Systems IL, QR SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology SPAN 105: Crossing Borders to Latin America GP, IC SPSC 107: General Nutrition
SPSC 253: Sport and Fitness Management CT, OC SPSC 312: Public and Community Health CL, WC FACE-TO-FACE COURSES SPSC 120: Functional Anatomy (IND) SPSC 250: Personal Health & Wellness CL, OC (IND) ACCT 359: Gov’t/Not-for-Profit Accounting (WDM) EDUC 321: Human Relations in Teaching: Diversity and Inclusion DP (WDM) REL 120: Introduction to World Religions GP, CT (WDM)
SUMMER SESSION 2: June 25 to August 19, 2018 ONLINE COURSES CJ 590/690: Special Topics Courts & Sentencing EDUC 233: Foundations of Special Education EDUC 312: Exceptional Learners (PK through High School) CL, IL GEOG 128: Regional Geography of the Developed World JPN 105: Japan: Kimonos and Blue Jeans GP, IC MIS 220: E-Commerce PHIL 235: Health Care Ethics EV, CT
PSYC 220: Psychology of Gender CT, SR SCJ 340: Race and Ethnic Relations DP SOC 260: Courts and Sentencing WC FACE-TO-FACE COURSES SPSC 273: Sport and Fitness Market (IND) COMM 275: Gender, Race, Class & Media DP (WDM) ECON 339: Corporation Finance (WDM) POSC 101: American Government CE (WDM)
SUMMER SESSION CROSS: MAY 29 TO AUGUST 19, 2018 ONLINE COURSES MATH 105: Quantitative Reasoning QR
FACE-TO-FACE COURSES ACCT 345: Advanced Accounting (WDM)
CIS 290: Business Data Communications (WDM) CIS 385/386: CIS Capstone (WDM) ECON 135: Applied Statistics QR (WDM) EDUC 573: Master’s Project (WDM)
For course descriptions and to register, visit
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In this magazine, we feature people discovering, pursuing and reflecting on their passions from Simpson College. Senior Valería Gonzalez dis...
Published on Apr 16, 2018
In this magazine, we feature people discovering, pursuing and reflecting on their passions from Simpson College. Senior Valería Gonzalez dis...