The Ottumwa Courier


April 17, 2014

Pursuing opportunities

OTTUMWA — Joe Tafta follows the rules. The Simpson College junior hopes to be a U.S. marshal one day, so he’s careful about what he says and does.

But not always.

On the afternoon of April 1, Tafta says, he nearly got booted out of Dunn Library for making too much noise.

The reason: Tafta had received an email informing him that he had been accepted as an intern this summer in the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Two thousand young people applied. Tafta was one of only eight who were accepted into the prestigious internship program.

“I yelled,” he says, “I was pretty excited. I almost got kicked out of the library, but it was definitely worth it.”

In Tafta, the Miami-Dade Police Department will be getting a 6-foot-3, 250-pound young man from Ottumwa who has set his sights on law enforcement since he was a boy.

That’s one of the reasons he was drawn to Simpson, where he is a double major in criminal justice and business management.

“It’s one of the better colleges in Iowa for criminal justice,” he says. “I decided to come to college for that reason alone.”

Tafta says he has not been disappointed. Specifically, he credits his advisor, Fred Jones, professor of sociology and criminal justice; Constance Kostelac, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice; and Samantha O’Hara, also an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice.

“Working with Joe has been a rewarding experience,” Jones says. “Joe is one of those students whose efforts to prepare himself for a criminal justice career go far beyond what is expected. Joe has actively pursued opportunities that will draw a distinction between himself and others entering his chosen field.”

Tafta says his Simpson professors helped show him what was possible as far as law enforcement careers, he says.

Text Only
  • IHCC buildings.jpg Grant helps Hills keep students on track

    OTTUMWA — Thanks to a grant designed to improve graduation rates, Indian Hills Community College now has even more tools in its campuswide effort to help students with needs and give them the resources they need to stay in class. Indian Hills is one

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0710 OTT Bulldogs update color photo -L -M High school students lead Bulldog charge

    OTTUMWA — Two Ottumwa High School students gave their very first press conference Wednesday morning to share their progress on decorating Ottumwa with large bulldog statues. Alyssa Cash and Madyson Feather joined Main Street Ottumwa Executive Directo

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0710 OTT Smart snacks color photo -M -L Schools adopt new food regulations

    OTTUMWA — This fall, students across the country will find big changes in the cafeteria, but Ottumwa kids may find they approve of the changes. The new "Smart Snacks in School" standards from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) went in

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Survey finds math, science grads earn top dollar WASHINGTON (AP) — It seems to matter less whether your alma mater is public or private than what you study — math and science in particular — when it comes to finding a high-paying job after college, according to a report released Tuesday by the Educ

    July 8, 2014

  • Pekin and Tri-County to share superintendent PACKWOOD — Both Pekin and Tri-County Community School Districts have voted to approve Operational Sharing Incentives for superintendent during the 2014-15 school year. During the 2014 legislative session, the Legislature passed and the governor signe

    July 2, 2014

  • Teaching the teachers

    OTTUMWA — The community has formally advised the school district that strong teachers lead to strong students. Now Ottumwa teachers have "coaches" to help them boost educational muscle. Though the idea is now formalized under a Legislative state plan

    May 29, 2014

  • 0525 OTT OHS graduation web-color photo 3 OHS seniors say farewell OTTUMWA - Sunday marked the end of high school for all the graduating seniors from Ottumwa High School. Family and friends of the students packed the Bridge View Center, leaving standing room only for late-comers. You could feel the excitement in the

    May 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • Slideshow: OHS graduation

    May 25, 2014

  • 0524 OTT OCS graduation web-color photo 3 Small ceremony for big achievements OTTUMWA - Saturday was a special day for the four seniors graduating from Ottumwa Christian School. This small graduating class is double the size of last year's class and illustrates the small-group learning style of the school. Family and friends o

    May 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Slideshow: Ottumwa Christian graduation

    May 24, 2014

AP National