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March 2012 Archives


Sometimes being an adult undergraduate student leaves little time to get involved on campus. Many adult students have family and job responsibilities outside of class. But, adult student Melissa Tanguay '14 found a way to bring her outside interests to campus. She recently started "Fit at Simmons," an organization aimed at encouraging students to incorporate health and fitness into their every day lives. We sat down with Melissa to pick her brain about what it's like to be an adult student and what she hopes for for "Fit at Simmons."

Why did you decide to return to college as an adult student, and why Simmons?

Before coming to Simmons I worked for 10 years in animal welfare, but several years ago I discovered a love for running and triathlon. With that came a genuine excitement for trying to help those around me integrate fitness into their own lives to help with their heath and wellness. For example, at my last job, I formed a running group to help my coworkers tackle their first 5K road race.

This encouraged me to pursue a degree in Exercise Science to launch myself on a new career path. Being an adult returning to college for my second degree, I ultimately chose to attend Simmons College because the Dix Scholars program seemed like the perfect fit for students like me.

Continue reading Adult student starts organization to encourage exercise and health at Simmons.


Meet Professor Wanda Torres Gregory. Professor Gregory is chair of the Philosophy Department and her passion for the Simmons vision and women's empowerment makes her a perfect fit to feature during Women's History Month! She has been the recipient of the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching and has taught over fifteen different courses at Simmons.

What is your favorite class to teach?
I love teaching the Seminars in Philosophy, where I've taught Heidegger, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein--my favorite philosophers.
What book are you currently reading?
Une mort tres douce (A Very Easy Death) by Simone de Beauvoir. I've read it in English, but I wanted to practice reading French literature as I prepare for my Existentialism course in which we will discuss this book.
What's your favorite book?
Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges. I love it so much that I don't own a copy presently because I'm always giving mine away to others who have not read his stories!

Continue reading Know Your Professor: Wanda Torres Gregory.

In honor of Women's History Month the Simmons Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization (CEO) and the Class of 2012 hosted "A Day of Empowerment" featuring Sierra Bender, an expert in helping women find their voice. More than 120 women from Simmons and the Boston community gathered at Simmons College to learn how to take steps towards positive change.

"We were excited about bringing an event to Simmons that would have an impact on a large scale," says Vice President of CEO Blair Griffin '12. "Given the Simmons mission and the societal pressures on women, we all felt this event would be tremendously beneficial in reinforcing the power women hold and our ability to make a difference."

The day, which included yoga, discussions, and group work was an excellent way to wrap up Women's History Month and to reflect on the importance of women finding their personal voice.

CBurrisColor.jpgWhat if we told you there are schools where all of the Black, Latino and low-income students are enrolled in an honors curriculum? What if we told you there was a school where all 11th graders are enrolled in International Baccalaureate English?

Dr. Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York State, is coming to Simmons College as part of the Simmons College/Beacon Press Race, Education & Democracy Lecture and Book Series to share with educators her dramatic stories and data on closing the race achievement gap at her own school, where all students are provided with the highest-level of education.

We talked with Dr. Burris about the race achievement gap, why she publicly voiced her concerns about the education system to Education Secretary Arne Ducan, and her view that evaluating teachers based on test scores is the wrong way to increase student achievement.

Your high school is a success story because of its ability to close the achievement gap among students of various races and socioeconomic backgrounds. What do you attribute to the school's success?
The school's multiple-year detracking reform that resulted in the integration of classrooms while providing all students with a high-track curriculum.
You've been a vocal opponent of evaluating teachers based on the test scores of their students. What is wrong with this practice?
The use of student test scores to evaluate teachers will work against equity reforms such as ours. Even as we encourage all students to take our International Baccalaureate courses, teachers will worry that students who struggle will bring down scores, thus affecting their evaluation number and their job. We know from research that putting students in challenging classes is the best strategy we can use to prepare them for college. Evaluating teachers by test scores, will, in my opinion, encourage tracking and other inequitable practices.

Continue reading Race, education and democracy: Closing the achievement gap.


Non-profit management and entrepreneurship MBA student Obiageli Ukadike recognized a serious education gap in Ghana, Africa. People with physical disabilities are often shunned from mainstream society and denied access to quality education.

To combat this injustice, Oby co-founded The WaWa Project, a non-profit organization aimed at providing education to physically disabled children in Ghana. The WaWa Project plans to raise approximately $2.5 million over the next five years to build a handicap accessible secondary school for children grades six through twelve. The non-profit will build the school, hire local staff and administrators and create education plans to teach students skills they can use post graduation. Oby is ecstatic about the attention her cause has received.

Continue reading Simmons entrepreneur starts nonprofit to educate disabled children in Africa.

Simmons College inspires young women to become powerful leaders through education. In honor of this year's Women's History Month theme, Women's Education--Women's Empowerment, Simmons' Woman on Campus Sarah Galvez '15 asks aspiring students to talk about the women leaders they most admire. For Sarah, it's Michelle Bachelet, the first female president of Chile!

The Simmons soccer team traveled to Barcelona during spring break for the chance to compete and train internationally while also experiencing Spanish culture.

The trip was led by Head Soccer Coach Erica Mastrogiacomo and Assistant Coach Caitlin Schimmel, who took the team to Spain for the once in a lifetime opportunity to train with Spanish coach Pere Garcia, who taught the women the "Spanish style" of soccer. We asked Team Captains Justine Beauchamp '13 and Ashley Wheeler '12, and midfielder Jennie Holloway '14 to explain more.

What was it like to train and compete in a country such as Spain?
Ashley: It was a great experience, but challenging at times because we had no way of communicating with the other team or the referees. What I really loved, though, was listening to the Coach we trained with talk about the game of soccer. In Spain, soccer is not just a sport, but a lifestyle and an art. They live for the game and that is something we have never seen in the States with soccer.

Justine: It was nerve-racking, exciting, challenging, and overall very worthwhile. When training with Coach Pere, we were taught that they play the ball quick and carefully, and that movement off the ball is more important than movement with the ball. Our favorite quote from Pere was that "the ball is a jewel," and you should be sure not to "give it away as a gift."

Jennie: The game of soccer in Spain is more than a game, it is part of their culture. This is not the case in America, so going to play this cherished sport in the wonderful country of Spain was an honor, but also intimidating. It was fun to see how the game was played there and to have the opportunity to learn from and play with Spanish players.

Continue reading Simmons soccer team spends spring break training in Barcelona.

Students build homes with Habitat for Humanity during Alternative Spring Break (ASB).

Naomi Chick '14 blogs for Faces of the Future and chronicles her life as a Simmons College student. Naomi helped organize this year's Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip to Waynesburg, PA. ASB is a trip that occurs every year when students travel with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild homes in underserved communities. Rather than taking spring break to stay at school, relax in Florida, or go home to spend time with family, students choose to spend their time helping those in need. Naomi says her trip was an eye-opening experience.

"On the second to last day of work, the new owner of the home we were building, Cheryl, showed up to the site. She was in her late 60's, and had just broken her knee in the snow a few weeks earlier. Tears immediately flooded to my eyes as she struggled to walk on the gravel to bring us lunch. Talking to her during lunch made everyone smile, and made us have a greater connection for what we were actually doing for Habitat....On the last day of the trip, and while we got back on the plane to head back to Boston, each one of us had a new sense of ourselves, and of humanity, and why helping our community should be a huge part of everyone's lives."

Read more about Naomi's experience with Alternative Spring Break on the Faces of the Future blog.

The Faces of the Future blog details the Simmons College experience through the eyes of four students. The students began blogging during their second semester at Simmons and will continue to share their experiences through their four years at the College. Sandy, Andree, Naomi, and Tania are incredible women, involved in all aspects of the Simmons community, and this blog is a way for them to share their college journey.

Afaa Michael Weaver

Simmons English Professor Afaa Michael Weaver grew up in East Baltimore, Maryland and worked in a factory for 15 years. He started writing poetry to help him rise above his struggles and was awarded a NEA Literature Fellowship for poetry. He went on to earn a master's degree from Brown University and is now a world-renowned poet, often referred to as the "successor to Walt Whitman."

You can follow Professor Weaver's poetic tweets at @Afaa_Weaver.

Campus Life has joined the blogosphere by turning their old newsletter into a new, interactive blog that includes photos, videos, and feature stories written specifically for Simmons students. And for those who want to be one!

The new blog, Simmons Life, launched in January and Director of Residence Life Jessica Faulk says the blog format allows Campus Life to reach a whole new audience, and to share information quickly, as it happens.

"There are so many more possibilities for interesting content and engagement in the blog format," says Jessica Faulk, editor of Simmons Life. "We can create slideshows, post videos, and add links to all of our posts. Students also can share specific posts with their friends through social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. We're also excited that the blog format allows us to reach a larger audience. Potential new students, Simmons staff, and current student parents can more easily access the blog and see the amazing vibrancy on campus."

Simmons Life currently has 10 Campus Life staff members as contributing bloggers. It plans to add several student bloggers, including two commuter students, one resident advisor, one graduate student, and one first-year student.

Be sure to check out Simmons Life! You also can meet and talk to current Simmons students and Campus Life staff on the Simmons College Campus Life Facebook page.

Many students say they decided to attend Simmons because it just "felt right" when they first visited the campus. It's often hard to communicate that feeling, so it's important to come and visit Simmons to experience it for yourself. Meeting professors, talking to current students, and seeing what it's really like to attend a women's college in Boston will have a major impact on your decision. Here are four reasons to come visit the Simmons College campus:

Get to know Boston.

Boston is a big city with more than 40 colleges and universities. Many students choose to come to Boston because of the vibrant college life. But, it's important to see where in the city you'd be living. Get to know the Fenway neighborhood. Walk down the street to Fenway Park or next door to the Museum of Fine Arts. Take the T to the Prudential Center and do some shopping. Decide if you can picture yourself living here for the next four years.

Meet the professors.

If you come visit Simmons, you have the option to sit it on a class and see one of our amazing professors in action. Simmons is a small college with a 13:1 student to faculty ratio. Our professors really get to know their students and care about their academic performance. Get to know Simmons professors!

Get a sense of the community.

We know there are many preconceived notions about women's colleges. Come see for yourself what it's really like. See if you get that "just right" feeling like so many other students do when they experience Simmons-ness for themselves.

See the campus.

Moving out on your own for the first time can be scary, especially moving to a major city. The Simmons campus takes every precaution to keep you safe. The residence campus is a gated community with nine residence halls, an athletic center, and a dining hall. Take a tour and test out the food. Talk to students about what campus life is like and see the dorms.

You can plan your visit to Simmons online. In the meantime, contact your admission counselor with any questions, and be sure to Like Simmons on Facebook and follow the College on Twitter to hear from and interact with other prospective and current students.

Happy Women's History Month! During March, Simmons College celebrates the accomplishments of the extraordinary women who have made the world a better place with their activism, courage, and determination.

Women's History Month began in 1987 when the National Women's History Project petitioned Congress to officially recognize women's history, which at the time was largely missing from the general public consciousness.

This year's theme is "Women's Education--Women's Empowerment," which undoubtedly is a topic the Simmons community can relate to. In a recent op-ed in The Boston Globe, Simmons College President Helen Drinan talks about the importance of women's education:

"At women's colleges, women are the ones receiving their university's top prizes, prestigious graduate fellowships, or holding major campus-wide leadership roles. This experience rang true for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Wellesley graduate, who said her all-female college experience "guaranteed a focus on academic achievement and extracurricular leadership we might have missed at a coed college...Women not only ran all the student activities - from student government to newspaper to clubs - but we also felt freer to take risks, make mistakes and even fail in front of one another."

Simmons is celebrating Women's History Month with the following events:

Continue reading Simmons recognizes the importance of Women's History Month.

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