Community Involvementhttp://www.simmons.edu/Community Involvement{6E5FEB8E-DAFA-4146-8728-B20B86AEDEA6}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/campus%20life/2018/november/make%20a%20difference%20this%20thanksgiving3 Ways to Make a Difference This Thanksgiving<p>Whether you're looking forward to a few days of relaxation with friends and family or you'd like to give back this Thanksgiving &mdash; there are plenty of ways to make a positive impact in your community! From volunteering your time, to reducing your food waste this holiday, you can easily make a difference.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <h5>VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME</h5> <p>Volunteering your time and skills is a great way to give back to your community and build your own local network. According to Professor <a href="http://www.simmons.edu/Faculty/Kristina-Pechulis">Kristina Pechulis</a>, a great place to volunteer is <a href="https://www.servings.org/" target="_blank">Community Servings</a>&nbsp;&mdash; a not-for-profit food and nutrition program providing services to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. Community Servings is one of the largest volunteer programs in the area with plenty of ways to get involved.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re looking for something a little different, several websites can match you with volunteer opportunities in your local area:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.idealist.org/en/?type=VOLOP" target="_blank">Idealist</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://www.volunteermatch.org/" target="_blank">Volunteer Match</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.pointsoflight.org/" target="_blank">Points of Light</a></li> </ul> <hr /> <h5>BE MINDFUL OF FOOD WASTE</h5> <p>Food waste is already a pervasive problem in the United States, and food waste on Thanksgiving is no exception. Thankfully, with a little advance planning, avoiding excess waste can be an easy task. Although many of us look forward to Thanksgiving leftovers, try preparing your dishes with a specific headcount in mind &mdash; chances are, you'll still have enough for the next day.</p> <p>Speaking of leftovers, get creative! You might get sick of turkey sandwiches after a few days, so don't be afraid to try something different. There are <a href="https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/15335/holidays-and-events/thanksgiving/leftovers/?page=2" target="_blank">countless recipes</a> that will inspire you to reassemble your leftovers in new and interesting ways.&nbsp;</p> <p>Still have leftovers of vegetables you didn't finish in time? Or food scraps from your Thanksgiving prep? Consider composting, it's easier than you think and the <a href="https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home" target="_blank">Environmental Protection Agency</a>&nbsp;(EPA) has great tips on how to get started.</p> <hr /> <h5>AVOID SINGLE USE TABLEWARE&nbsp;</h5> <p>Let's be honest, no one wants to tackle a mountain of dishes after eating an enormous meal. Sadly, most of this single use tableware ends up in landfills &mdash; in fact, paper products make up 28% of all trash sent to landfills each year according to the <a href="http://www.dempseyuniform.com/Portals/0/PDF/Brochure_PaperVsClothLinen.pdf" target="_blank">EPA</a>.</p> <p>An easy (and cheaper) solution is to use your own dishes and cutlery. If you don't have enough for everyone, ask your guests to bring some extra. Also, instead of using plastic bags or plastic wrap for leftovers, encourage guests to bring their own containers and/or invest in reusable beeswax wrap &mdash; both will help cut down on your overall waste.&nbsp;</p> <ul> </ul>2018-11-20T00:00:00-05:00{677EF645-A2EF-4CB8-B94E-D212533DE3EB}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/alumnae%20i%20and%20friends/2018/september/sophie%20hansenCampaigning for Social Justice with Sophie Hansen '16MSW<p><strong>ON THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS: </strong>Founded in 1955, the <a href="http://www.socialworkers.org/" target="_blank">National Association of Social Workers</a> (NASW) is the largest organization of professional social workers in the world, with over 130,000 members and 55 chapters. The Massachusetts Chapter of NASW (NASW-MA) is the largest professional social work organization in the state. We're committed to the mission of advancing professional social work practice and the profession, as well as promoting human rights, social and economic justice, and unimpeded access to services for everyone. Our 6,400 members work in a broad range of settings, including: hospitals and other health care settings, community agencies, government, academia, business, nursing homes, schools and private practice.</p> <p><strong>ON HER RESPONSIBILITIES AS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:&nbsp;</strong>My role has three parts: the first is to develop and foster relationships with elected officials at the State House, which enables our Chapter to effectively advocate for legislative priorities that will protect and elevate the social work profession as well as positively impact the populations we serve. The second part is to represent NASW-MA at coalition meetings where we work closely with like-minded organizations, labor unions, and professional membership associations that come together around shared key issues.<span class="image-right">&nbsp;<img height="300" alt="Sophie Hansen '16MSW campaigning" width="350" src="~/media/483AD651FF1048CDA189D634948FBFA3.ashx" /></span></p> <p>The third is to engage and mobilize our membership of 6,400 social workers to bring their expertise and experience to the State House through testimony, rallies, meetings with legislators and other forms of advocacy. By actively working in all three areas, we're able to showcase NASW-MA as a trusted and steadfast advocate for social justice in the Commonwealth, which is at the core of social work and our code of ethics.</p> <p><strong><strong>ON THE REWARDING JOB OF SOCIAL WORK:</strong>&nbsp;</strong>My job allows me the flexibility to work in a variety of settings and sit down with experts regarding different policy issues. I enjoy representing the social work field and educating others about how vital the services are that we provide. My hope is that as our membership continues to grow and more social workers are running for office &mdash; two of which recently won state elections! I hope that the Commonwealth will recognize the unique value and lens social workers bring to all areas and invest in our profession.</p> <p>I also enjoy talking with current social work students as well as established professionals to help them bridge the gap between policy and their clinical work. Our field is often presented as two tracks &mdash; clinical and macro, but in reality, both work together and inform each other. Every social worker, at one point in time, has felt like they&rsquo;ve exhausted all their resources and still found a barrier when trying to address the needs of a client &mdash; that&rsquo;s a barrier that can typically be removed by implementing good policy changes. Advocacy is at the root of the social work profession. I've enjoyed seeing the recent increase in social workers flexing their &lsquo;macro&rsquo; muscles &mdash; we have such an important and unique perspective, and we can create positive change by sharing it.</p> <p><strong><img height="300" alt="Headshot of Sophie Hansen '16MSW" width="350" src="~/media/1040E3BA3339489FA62C31CA083DF89B.ashx" />ON CHOOSING SIMMONS: </strong>Simmons' reputation for the <a href="http://www.simmons.edu/academics/graduate-programs/social-work-msw">social work graduate program</a> is unlike any other school in the area &mdash; the clinical opportunities, all-star faculty and quality job opportunities are unparalleled. Simmons gave me the clinical underpinnings needed to do this work in both the macro and micro aspects of the social work field (I also work per diem as a social worker at Boston Children&rsquo;s Hospital). The current clinical expertise that each faculty member brought to class aided me in the parallel process of my clinical placements. I feel really proud to be a graduate of the MSW program at Simmons.</p> <p><strong>ON HER FAVORITE PROFESSORS:</strong> Both of my social work practice professors, Seth Kleinman and <a href="http://www.simmons.edu/Faculty/Nora-Rushford">Nora Rushford</a>, were integral players in my development as a social worker. They started each class with such exuberance and pride in their clinical work. They also share my passion for the annual Legislative Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD) that NASW plans for first-year MSW students across the state. I value their professional expertise and appreciate the collegial friendship that we&rsquo;ve developed since I graduated.</p> <p><strong>ON HER FAVORITE SIMMONS MEMORIES:</strong> Almost every day I run into a colleague who graduated from Simmons. Even if it&rsquo;s not the social work program, it establishes an immediate connection and we're able to reflect fondly about the personalized education and tight-knit network that Simmons provided for us. I take great pride in being a Simmons alumna and deeply value that Simmons continues to offer a special place for all of its alums and current students.</p>2018-09-20T00:00:00-04:00{E1EE1165-D596-4BDB-A422-C5731EDB742E}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/faculty%20and%20research/2018/june/jo%20trigilioProfessor Jo Trigilio Named the 2018 Pride Marshal<p><em><a href="http://www.simmons.edu/faculty/jo-trigilio">Professor Jo Trigilio</a> has been an influential activist within the LGBTQ community since 1985 and is honored to be the Pride Marshal for the 48th Annual Boston Pride Parade.&nbsp;</em></p> <hr /> <h3></h3> <h3>How Pride began</h3> <p>Gay Liberation marches began in cities across the U.S. in June 1970 to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which took place in June 1969 outside of New York City's Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall Inn, frequented by working class LGBTQ people, many of whom were people of color and gender non-conforming, was a regular target of police harassment. Although LGBTQ people often fought back when gay bars were raided and all the patrons were forced into paddy wagons, the resistance at the Stonewall Inn turned into a riot that lasted for days. The Stonewall riots are used as convenient marker for the beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement in the U.S. In the '80s, as gay culture thrived in many urban centers, the political liberation marches transitioned to celebratory pride parades.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h3>The importance of Pride in 2018</h3> <p>The ongoing purpose of Pride Parades is to demand social justice and to celebrate the positive aspects of being LGBTQ. Homophobia, transphobia and anti-LGBTQ discrimination are alive and well in every corner of the U.S. Hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people are on the increase. LGBTQ youth have one of the highest attempted suicide rates. LGBTQ people who experience multiple forms of oppression face serious forms of social injustice. Pride is a good time for non-profits and community groups to raise awareness, educate people and solicit volunteers.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Pride is also about fun, solidarity and community. For most people, their first Pride is an awesome and unimaginably empowering experience. For one day a year, thousands upon thousands of LGBTQ people congregate in the city. I went to my first Pride march 33 years ago, and I'm still thrilled and awed every year.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <h3>How to be an ally</h3> <p>This is not a special month. I'm queer, gender non-conforming and an LGBTQ activist every day of the year. The worst mistake that allies can make is thinking that they only need to do something during Pride month. Being an ally to a group of people that faces systematic discrimination and social injustice is a full-time job with no vacations. Social justice is about doing the ethically right thing. Doing nothing, acquiescing to the homophobic, transphobic, sexist and racist status quo, is unethical. Allies to any oppressed group can do the following:</p> <ul> <li><span>Continually, proactively educate yourself about different forms of oppression. Many people experience multiple forms of intersecting oppressions, so it&rsquo;s important to learn about all forms of oppression.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></li> <li><span>Listen to the voices of those from oppressed groups. What are they saying they need?&nbsp;</span></li> <li><span>Be humble. Don&rsquo;t be paternalistic, and don&rsquo;t pat yourself on the back for doing the right thing.&nbsp;</span></li> <li><span>Reflect on your own privilege and work to change the systems that prevent others from having the same access to the goods and services of society.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <h3>The role of Pride Marshal</h3> <p>I like to joke that I am a professional queer. I've been an activist in the LGBTQ movement since 1985. I've been deeply immersed in LGBTQ community and culture for just as long. I've been teaching courses in LGBTQ studies for over 30 years. I served on the executive organizing committee of the Boston Dyke March for 14 years, growing the march from 300 participants to over 2000. Much of my scholarship focuses on LGBTQ issues. For someone like me, being elected the Marshal of Pride is an incredible honor.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <div> <p><span>But, the real truth is that I was nominated by the 2017 Grand Marshal to use my position to help address the growing tensions between some community groups and Boston Pride. I </span>campaigned and was elected as an activist. Being the Pride Marshal is mostly a ceremonial role, but that is not my interest. Many community groups are unhappy with the rampant commercialization of Pride and the failure to address intersectional oppression at a deeper level. In this political climate, we cannot afford infighting. Simmons colleague, Sasha Goodfriend, and I have been meeting with community groups in an effort to help the Pride committee better understand the nature of the growing complaints.</p> <hr /> <p><em><span class="image-left"><img height="171" alt="Headshot of Jo Trigilio" width="200" src="~/media/F679F00168E24DE996880AC0C1F72185.ashx" /></span></em><em><span class="image-left"> </span></em></p> <em> <br /> <br /> <p style="display: inline !important;">Jo Trigilio is a Senior Lecturer and Program Director of Simmons' <a href="http://www.simmons.edu/academics/graduate-programs/gender-cultural-studies-ma">gender/cultural studies</a> program. Jo Trigilio received a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a concentration in Feminist Theory from the University of Oregon.&nbsp;</p> </em> <p><em></em></p> <p><em></em></p> <em> <p style="display: inline !important;">Professor Trigilio has a special interest in the intersection of theory and practice, specializing in oppression/liberation theories, including feminist and gender theories, race theories, and queer theory.</p> </em> <p><em></em></p> </div>2018-06-07T00:00:00-04:00{1DB45D65-CAE9-40D1-87F3-45C12E7D0A9E}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/alumnae%20i%20and%20friends/2018/april/kaitie%20chakoian%20lifvergren%2009Simmons Alumna Financially Empowers Women<p><strong>ON BUDGET BUDDIES:</strong> <a href="http://www.budgetbuddies.org/" target="_blank">Budget Buddies</a> is a non-profit organization that promotes financial literacy and confidence among low-income women. We envision a world in which all women are financially empowered and seek to reduce the disproportionate number of women and women-headed households that live on the economic margins. Through a curriculum of financial skill-building workshops and a 1:1 coaching/mentorship model, we support women who can then support their families and communities.</p> <p><strong> ON HER POSITION WITH BUDGET BUDDIES:</strong>&nbsp;In my role I manage program partnerships as well as volunteers. I&rsquo;m usually out recruiting or training volunteers by leading information sessions and orientations. I'm also traveling all over the city meeting with organizations that support low-income and/or homeless women, meeting with banks and financial educators, or meeting with professional groups who might become future volunteers.&nbsp;</p> <p> My favorite part of this position is facilitating trainings for volunteers. We train our coaches in best practices for mentorship and confidentiality. I get to facilitate learning moments when people think about, sometimes for the first time, what it's like to be in the shoes of another woman. We talk about issues of poverty and gender equity, and I get to guide those conversations. These are the moments when I feel like I&rsquo;m making the greatest impact&mdash;helping people think about the world in new ways and giving them the tools to effectively partner with women in our programs. I really see my role as bringing people from different walks of life together.</p> <p><strong> ON WOMENS-CENTERED ORGANIZATIONS:</strong> I've had the joy of working for organizations that focus on girls and women in each of my professional roles. I started as an AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow and later became Program Director at <a href="https://www.girlsleap.org/" target="_blank">Girls&rsquo; LEAP</a> Self-Defense. Girls&rsquo; LEAP is a non-profit that teaches social emotional skills and physical self-defense to girls throughout the city of Boston. Later I moved to New Hampshire and worked at <a href="http://www.wiseuv.org/" target="_blank">WISE</a>, a domestic and sexual violence crisis center working to end gender-based violence.&nbsp;</p> <p> I love working in organizations with an explicitly feminist culture. I've met the most incredible, powerful, progressive teams of individuals&mdash;I'm so grateful to have these networks of people in my life. Working for feminist organizations has provided me an opportunity to put my values into practice.</p> <p><strong>ON CHOOSING SIMMONS:</strong> I was actually a <a href="http://www.simmons.edu/admission-and-financial-aid/undergraduate-admission/for-transfer-students">transfer student</a> to Simmons. I had enrolled at a large state university for my first year and learned really quickly that it was not the right fit for me! I did an online search for schools in Boston and must have forgotten to click the box that said &ldquo;co-ed&rdquo; in the search engine, because Simmons popped up for the first time in my entire college search. I remember coming for a college tour and having that magical moment where you step onto the residential quad and all the noise from Brookline Ave. disappears&mdash;I knew right then that it was the right place for me.</p> <p><strong>ON HER FAVORITE PROFESSORS:</strong> Professor <a href="http://www.simmons.edu/Faculty/Gregory-Feldman">Greg Feldman</a> in the Psychology Department was one of my mentors and is such an excellent instructor&mdash;really breaking down complex concepts in ways that are meaningful and relevant. He also helped me navigate my senior internship and my ultimate career path. I went back to him a few years after graduating and he sat down with me again to consider career options. He, like so many of the professors at Simmons, made me feel that he was genuinely invested in me as a person&mdash;so different from my experience with professors at the larger university.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>I also have to mention is Professor Emeritus Steve London. He was a sociology professor who directed the <a href="https://www.simmons.edu/student-life/activities-and-organizations/community-service/scott-ross-center">Scott/Ross Center</a> while I was a student. His passion and commitment to the Center, combined with his teaching, made him a truly remarkable person and role model. I've stayed in touch with him over the years and have partnered with him, and with the Scott/Ross Center in my professional roles. The network of people that I've connected with through Simmons has stayed with me for the past 12 years.</p> <p><strong>ON HER SIMMONS MOMENT:</strong>&nbsp;Recently I was sitting in a meeting and before we started, one of the four women at the table mentioned that both of her daughters attended Simmons. The woman sitting across from her exclaimed that she was a Simmons alum. Then the woman sitting across from me, in disbelief, shared that she TOO was a Simmons alum. When I shared my story, everyone was in disbelief!&nbsp;</p> <p>This reminded me of <a href="http://www.simmons.edu/news/messages-to-the-simmons-community/2017/november/simmons-to-name-college-of-media-arts-and-humanities-after-late-gwen-ifill">Gwen Ifill's</a>&nbsp;commencement address at my Simmons graduation. She said that no matter where she went, when she shared that Simmons was her alma mater, she would be received with a hug and an outburst of &ldquo;I went to Simmons!&rdquo; or at the very least, &ldquo;My aunt went to Simmons!&rdquo; This part of the commencement address has stuck with me, and it's true. No matter where I&rsquo;ve gone&mdash;from Washington State to New Hampshire&mdash;I've found other Simmons alums. Because of this community, I'm now connected to a network of amazing, powerful individuals&mdash;that's the lasting impact that Simmons has had on my life.</p> <div><br /> </div>2018-04-19T00:00:00-04:00{A808B60D-5B9A-4CFE-BD73-B4072F995EBB}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/alumnae%20i%20and%20friends/2018/march/renata%20buleSimmons Alum Gives Girls the Tools to Succeed<p><strong>ON CHOOSING SIMMONS:</strong>&nbsp;I come from an immigrant family with 4 daughters and incredibly strong parents. Because I've been surrounded by strong women my whole life, I've always felt comfortable standing in my own strength. However, outside of the safety of our home, I was constantly told that I was too much, too aggressive and too opinionated. I wanted a place that challenged me to find new and meaningful ways to use my voice, and encouraged me to use it in service of the things I believed in. I knew that Simmons' urban setting and women-centered focus was exactly where I needed to be.</p> <p><strong>ON STRONG WOMEN, STRONG GIRLS:</strong> <a href="http://swsg.org/" target="_blank">Strong Women, Strong Girls</a> (SWSG) is a mentoring organization that provides after school programming for 3rd through 5th grade girls. Our mission is to empower girls to imagine a broader future through a curriculum grounded on female role models delivered by college women mentors, who are themselves mentored by professional women. We operate in 42 sites (elementary schools and community centers) in the Greater Boston area, and our volunteers come from 6 college chapters in the area. There is a Simmons Chapter of SWSG which has about 25 mentors who deliver our programming! Simmons has been a key partner for SWSG since we started a chapter there in the early 2000s.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ON THE SIMMONS SWSG CHAPTER:</strong>&nbsp;I'm an alumna of the program! My involvement in this chapter was one of the most formative experiences of my time at Simmons. I worked directly with the incredibly powerful youth of Boston and benefited from really strong peers (who became my mentors). When I graduated, it was really difficult to leave SWSG because of the support I was able to offer girls in Boston, as well as the support I received from the greater SWSG community. When a job opened up on the Program Team at SWSG, I knew I needed to come and work towards making this amazing organization even stronger.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong> ON HER POSITION WITH SWSG: </strong>As Program Manager, I oversee our entire program by ensuring that the proper supports are in place for our volunteers, sites and girls so we can deliver the best programming possible. I spend my days working closely with the college-aged women in our program, providing guidance, training and support. I also plan a number of events, develop parts of our curriculum and I'm currently revamping our monitoring and evaluation systems so we can better track our impact.&nbsp;</p> <p> Sometimes I'll go on site visits where I participate in the SWSG program sessions and get to see our current&nbsp;SWSG mentors&nbsp;in action! As a mentor alumna, engaging and interacting with the girls is where I'm most comfortable. Every time I do a site visit, I'm reminded of the purpose of our organization and that we exist to serve youth, first and foremost. It's a great way to stay energized around our mission and a reminder to keep on going, even when things get messy!&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ON EMPOWERING WOMEN: </strong>At SWSG, we say that our model is based on cycles of mutual empowerment&mdash;so our college volunteers, the girls in our program and the professional women in our program&mdash;all benefit from a really strong community of all ages. Our multi-generational mentoring model is a key factor in our mission&mdash;we're working to build a community of strength around each girl so she can achieve her own version of success.&nbsp;</p> <p>In a world that tells girls and women to do one thing or be one thing, it's really rewarding to assure these girls that it's okay to take up space.&nbsp;</p>2018-03-20T00:00:00-04:00{33615800-FA17-46CF-9174-C1C622D5B1EC}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/campus%20life/2018/march/international%20womens%20daySpeaking Up and Out: Women Reshaping the Media Narrative<p>On Friday, March 16, <a href="https://www.simmons.edu/about-simmons/why-simmons/community-engagement">Simmons Community Engagement</a> hosted the panel discussion, "Speaking Up and Out: Women Reshaping the Media Narrative" in honor of International Women's Day.&nbsp;</p> <p>"At Simmons we are raising the voices of women and ensuring that these voices are heard," said Diane Hammer, Director of Community Engagement, as she kicked off the event. This apt statement laid the foundation of the overall discussion, which focused on the challenges that women continue to face in today's media and the increased need for female change agents within the industry.&nbsp;</p> <p>Karen Holmes Ward, Director of Public Affairs and Community Services as well as host and executive producer of WCVB-TV's <em>CityLine</em>, moderated the discussion. A well-known journalist and community advocate, Ward stressed the importance of becoming an "informed consumer" of the news, rather than a "passive viewer."&nbsp;</p> <p>Other panelists included Dr. Nada Mustafa Ali, Visiting Associate Professor in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston; Jaclyn Friedman, a veteran activist, author and founder of Women, Action &amp; the Media (WAM!); and Danielle Johnson, Broadcast Manager at GRLZ Radio, a Dorchester based program for middle and high school girls where broadcast journalism is used as a catalyst for social change.&nbsp;</p> <p>Dr. Ali, author of <em>Gender, Race and Sudan Exile Politics: 'Do We All Belong to this Country?</em>, spoke about the need for diverse female representation in all aspects of the media industry, from onscreen portrayals to the technology behind it. She also stressed the importance of thinking critically about these portrayals in order to become fully informed about the spaces women inhabit within the media.&nbsp;</p> <p>Friedman echoed Dr. Ali's statements and urged consumers to "give your attention purposefully." She explained that media mergers are becoming increasingly prevalent, therefore only a small number companies control the outgoing messages. In order to ensure that all voices are heard, Friedman encouraged attendees to push for a more balanced media ecosystem. "Your clicks [online] are your vote," she said. "Are you giving your attention to the thing you want to see more of?"</p> <p>In addition to consuming media with purpose, Johnson recommended that women create their own content. "Young voices are shaping today and tomorrow's media," she explained. "By encouraging women to continue to create the content on their own platform, they will have full control."&nbsp;</p> <p>As the event came to a close, Friedman offered attendees a practical application of the event's discussion: "If reshaping the media seems too large, narrow it down until you have a small slice that doesn't feel overwhelming. Movements need followers too. Paralysis is the enemy here."&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <em>Pictured from right to left: Dr. Nada Mustafa Ali, Jaclyn Friedman, Danielle Johnson and Karen Homes Ward</em>2018-03-16T00:00:00-04:00{6711C265-5918-417E-95E3-58B894FAE6F1}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/student%20stories/2018/march/mary%20soares%2019Alternative Spring Break Takes Mary Soares '19 to South Carolina<p><strong>ON PURSUING NURSING:</strong> For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a nurse. My biggest role model is my mom and she's been a nurse for 25 years. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a young age and vividly remember the commitment, compassion and honesty that I received from the nursing staff during my one week stay at the hospital. Following my discharge from the hospital, I met frequently with the school nurse, who became an integral part of my diabetes management. I knew then that providing that care for others and putting that passion and integrity into my work is what I'm meant to do.</p> <p><strong>ON CHOOSING SIMMONS:</strong> I chose to attend Simmons after visiting the campus during my senior year of high school. The Simmons <a href="https://www.simmons.edu/academics/undergraduate-programs/nursing">nursing major</a> is one of the top programs nationwide and the close proximity to Longwood Medical Center provides me with incredible clinical opportunities. I also love the small, supportive atmosphere and the way the building placement around each quad provides a safe, community and home-like feeling.&nbsp;<span class="image-right"><img height="300" alt="Mary Soares" width="350" src="~/media/79D535E592BC4BF7958AF74B21CA5617.ashx" /></span></p> <p><strong>ON ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK:</strong>&nbsp;<a href="https://www.simmons.edu/student-life/activities-and-organizations/community-service/scott-ross-center/get-involved/alternative-spring-break">Alternative Spring Break</a> (ASB) is a student-led program that partners with Habitat for Humanity to provide students with opportunities to build and restore homes within the United States.</p> <p>I started participating in ASB during my sophomore year. I was seeking an opportunity to become more involved on campus and wanted to meet people outside of my major and friend groups. I'd heard about previous trips through mutual friends, saw pictures around campus and was working in the <a href="https://www.simmons.edu/student-life/activities-and-organizations/community-service/scott-ross-center">Scott/Ross Center</a> at the time. I applied and was chosen to be part of the 2017 team! My participation in ASB is truly the best decision I've made since attending Simmons.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ON HER LATEST ASB EXPERIENCE: </strong>This year the team traveled to Clemson, South Carolina where we worked on a reconstruction project for the Pickens County Habitat Chapter. During our time on site, we did minor demolition projects, interior painting, placement of hard wood floors, and some singing and dancing too!</p> <p><img height="300" alt="Mary Soares" width="350" src="~/media/71027FBFCD304EE19883F7BFE20AA551.ashx" />ASB has taught me so many incredible life lessons. It's provided me with opportunities to grow as a person and make friendships that will last a lifetime. This year we had the chance to meet Habitat homeowners and view the interior of their homes. It was really powerful to see how the work we're doing is impacting individuals and their families. All of the homeowners were welcoming and expressed the upmost appreciation to our team.</p> <p><strong>ON HER FAVORITE ASB MEMORY:</strong>&nbsp;My first Habitat experience traveling to Valdosta, Georgia in 2017 is my favorite ASB memory. I felt myself step out of my comfort zone, learn new tasks, grow individually and make many new friendships. During our week of building, we completed all of the interior and exterior walls and placed them on the foundation of the home. It was incredible to obtain new skills and submerge myself in a new community and culture.</p> <p><strong>ON HOW TO GET INVOLVED WITH ASB: </strong>The application process begins in early October when the trip leaders will advertise around campus and on social media. Written applications are then accepted in the Scott Ross Center. Following the written application process, the leaders will conduct group interviews and the team will be chosen. Keep an eye out for flyers regarding the trip and our applications next fall!</p> <hr /> <p><em>Second photo: Mary Soares '19 and John, a volunteer with the Pickens County Habitat for Humanity Chapter</em></p> <p><em>Third photo: Mary Soares '19 and Hannah Hast '17</em></p>2018-03-15T00:00:00-04:00{2078E911-2A00-4C0D-B75D-9E919595B702}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/leadership%20and%20change/2017/august/science%20club%20for%20girls%20introduces%20young%20women%20to%20stemScience Club for Girls Introduces Young Women to STEM<p>"To work with all women is empowering,&rdquo; said seventeen-year-old Juliana Vazquez of the Young Leaders in STEM Program held at Simmons this summer. &ldquo;They are doing amazing things in the science field. When you are actually here you can see them in action. To come here and get the support you need from women is a great experience."</p> <p>Vazquez, a rising senior at East Boston High School, was one of 11 participants in the 2017 program which is run by <a href="http://www.scienceclubforgirls.org/" target="_blank">Science Club for Girls</a>, a Cambridge-based non-profit co-founded by Mary McGowan &lsquo;75LS that fosters young women&rsquo;s interest in science, technology, engineering and math, particularly those from under-represented communities. The six-week program includes hands-on experiments and group discussion in the areas of chemistry, neuroscience, computer science and synthetic biology. &nbsp;</p> <p>Simmons professors <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=1679831EC2844BE4AD5CAC794B662376&amp;_z=z">Nanette Veilleux</a> and <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=8CDE33BE78904584832B5BED7040ACF3&amp;_z=z">Jennifer Roecklein-Canfield</a> and assistant professors <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=2078E9112A004C0DB75D9E919595B702&amp;_z=z">Mariam Ismail</a> and <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=8D46C2F33CA044B8A0BA75A94A4C6BC9&amp;_z=z">Amber Stubbs</a> served as mentors along with Harvard Medical School Professor Maria de la paz Fernandez. This year the program included a combination of lab work and leadership training as well as curriculum development for elementary school children. Each Friday, participants shared what they learned with rising first graders at a day camp at the Amos Lawrence School in Brookline. Students also received a modest stipend through the support of the City of Boston&rsquo;s summer jobs program and the town of Brookline&rsquo;s Steps to Success Program. &nbsp;</p> <p>On Thursday, August 17, participants showcased their work to an audience of professors, program organizers and family. Tables in the Linda K. Paresky Center featured projects in the four areas of study.</p> <p>Rakiesha Gay, a recent graduate of Boston Latin School (BLS) and soon-to-be Northeastern University freshman, hosted the synthetic biology table with BLS rising sophomore Christy Nguyen. Their job was to explain the &ldquo;Burnt Pancake Problem,&rdquo; a method of manipulating and tracking the survival of E. Coli bacteria using a combination of engineering, math and biology. Gay and Nguyen agreed that the program gave them the opportunity to use their creativity to solve scientific problems. Gay, who plans to become a pediatrician, added, &ldquo;It was a good way to get experience in all of the different fields of STEM.&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Roecklein-Canfield, who serves on the <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=64BFB9A979FB48578E7A526293AE4B1E&amp;_z=z">Massachusetts Governor&rsquo;s STEM Advisory Council</a>, said having the girls work with the elementary school children strengthens participants&rsquo; connection to the scientific concepts they&rsquo;ve learned. &ldquo;Developing that scientist identity early is so important for retention in STEM fields.&rdquo; She said.</p> <p>Rising Simmons junior Rosa Moya is majoring in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=0F32E41D18234C9E9B36FE320719A278&amp;_z=z">biology</a>, and served as a student mentor for the program. She said participants learned to turn difficult concepts into lessons that young children could understand. &ldquo;The experience affirms their leadership skills and helps them to organize an idea."</p>2017-08-31T00:00:00-04:00{286D9ABF-BD54-4415-B329-E063303CB903}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/student%20stories/2017/april/katie%20mcdonough%2017Katie McDonough '16 '17SW On Empowering Students<h4>What program are you in at Simmons?</h4> <p> I'm in the&nbsp;<a href="~/link.aspx?_id=E149D58DC97148CBA9E5C26B9D6E4390&amp;_z=z">Education 4+1</a> program. I graduated with my BA in English in May 2016 and in May 2017, I'll graduate with my MA in elementary education. I'm also getting a dual licensure in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=759170CF99F1402984DCBD800BF9EB30&amp;_z=z">general elementary education and moderate special needs education</a> for grades 1-8. </p> <h4> What drew you to your program?</h4> <p> I've known that I wanted to be an elementary school teacher for pretty much my whole life. This program allows me to get my MA in a much shorter time frame. It also allows me to get a dual certification in general education and special education. Having both certifications will make me a more skilled, flexible and engaging teacher.</p> <h4> What made you make the move to come to Simmons?</h4> <p> I knew I wanted to be in Boston, and I was really impressed with the education program at Simmons. I liked that Simmons was a small school, and I could tell from my visits that it had a really open and welcoming community. It had the atmosphere I was looking for.</p> <h4> Tell us about your role with Education Sparks.</h4> <p> I worked with Education Sparks for three years, which was an after-school program that serviced students at the Mission Hill School in Jamaica Plain. The program was run as part of the&nbsp;<a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Scott/Ross Center for Community Service</a>. I worked as the program director, so each year, I hired a group of students from Simmons and other Colleges of the Fenway to provide homework help for students in grades K-6 every afternoon.</p> <p>My job was to manage schedules, track student and tutor attendance, order supplies, and plan and implement activities for different groups. I would meet regularly with the directors and other administrators of the Scott/Ross Center to discuss how the program was going, how the students and tutors were adjusting, and how the students were progressing towards their goals.</p> <h4> What are some lessons you've learned from your community service?</h4> <p> Patience and perseverance. It takes a long time and a lot of attention to detail&nbsp;&ndash; but&nbsp;seeing even the slightest bit of progress in a student or tutor is indescribable. Because I stayed at this program for three years, I got to know some students very well, and I saw them undergo immense long-term growth. From day one, it was clear to many of them that education was a privilege, but I don&rsquo;t think the students ever realized how much of a privilege it was for me to watch them grow.</p> <p>I went into this job hoping to empower students to be their best. Reflecting on my experience, I look at how much of myself I invested in this service and how it helped me become a better version of myself.</p> <h4>What's your Simmons moment?</h4> <p>My Simmons moment comes in small bursts, a little bit each day.&nbsp;</p> <p>It comes when I hear an administrator or teacher from a school rave about teachers who graduated from the program I'm in. It comes whenever I feel like I am not cut out to be an elementary school teacher and then suddenly realize that one of my students has started to write his 9&rsquo;s the right way after writing them backwards for three months straight, despite constant reminders. There is at least one tiny moment about everyday in which it hits me that I am part of an exemplary teacher preparation program.&nbsp;</p> <p>It's all of these little moments where I realize that Simmons is where I am supposed to be. Thanks to Simmons, I'm cut out to be teacher.</p>2017-04-20T00:00:00-04:00{CF6F3162-71F1-482A-BEB5-A74D71F44A5B}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/student%20stories/2017/march/amanda%20leoneAmanda Leone '17 Travels for Alternative Spring Break<h4>What's your major at Simmons?</h4> <p>I'm majoring in&nbsp;<a href="~/link.aspx?_id=DE2E53589E1241AEA3BF2FC031D31CEE&amp;_z=z">data science</a> and <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=CD310DF535F54269B29AD861C6743ECA&amp;_z=z">sociology</a>&nbsp;and minoring in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=CF0BE23FC5C84836AE39B7C709AE27CD&amp;_z=z">social work</a>.</p> <h4>What made you choose Simmons?</h4> <p>The moment I stepped on the Simmons campus I knew this would be my home for the next four years. It's not a feeling I can really explain, but I know a lot of my friends have had similar experiences. We used to call it 'Simmonsness' &mdash; a&nbsp;sense of home even though you just got here.&nbsp;</p> <h4>Tell us about your experience with community service.</h4> <p><a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Community service</a> has been a part of my Simmons career since first year orientation when I got involved with&nbsp;<a href="https://www.jstart.org/" target="_blank">Jumpstart</a>. As a first generation college student, Simmons has given me so many opportunities. Taking that privilege and using it towards righting some serious wrongs is my way of reciprocating. I'm immensely fortunate to be in the position I'm in today.&nbsp;</p> <p>I've been involved in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Alternative Spring Break</a> (ASB) all four years at Simmons, and I've been a co-leader these past two years. ASB has been my rock &mdash; something constant to look forward to and learn from. I'm always amazed at how we carry our community from Simmons to wherever we travel. The level of respect our team members show toward each other and the people who welcome us into their churches, workplaces and homes makes me so proud to say I'm a Simmons student.&nbsp;</p> <p><img height="300" alt="Alternative Spring Break 2017" width="350" src="~/media/CE344C0A1CA94C0CBB87A74BA8C1A31E.ashx"></p> <h4>Where did Alternative Spring Break go this year?</h4> <p>We went to Valdosta, GA to work with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.valdostahabitat.org/" target="_blank">Valdosta-Lowndes County Habitat for Humanity</a>. Along with a group from Georgetown University, we built the frame of an entire house from the ground up. There were plenty of hammered thumbs and sunburns, but the sense of accomplishment at the end of the day made every sore muscle worth it. We had the privilege of meeting multiple Habitat homeowners, including the family who would be living in the house we were building.&nbsp;</p> <p>As a team we had difficult conversations on the trip about our roles, white saviorism, and balancing our own personal beliefs with those we are working with. Most of these conversations were sparked by students who were on ASB for the first time. The strength and humility of my peers never ceases to astound me. I'm just so grateful to have been a part of it.</p> <h4>What are some lessons you learned from Alternative Spring Break?</h4> <p>ASB has taught me is humbling resilience. ASB has made me question my own strength &mdash;&nbsp;mental and physical &mdash;and my teams have helped me push through those moments and become even stronger. I know who I am, what is important to me and what will give me a sense of peace and accomplishment at the end of the day.&nbsp;</p> <p><img height="300" alt="Alternative Spring Break 2017" width="350" src="~/media/3259C620745B407E9D30139F16BFEF22.ashx"></p> <h4>What surprised you most about Alternative Spring Break?</h4> <p>I think people have misconceptions of what it means to be a Habitat homeowner. It's not a free house. The homeowners pay a monthly mortgage and utilities. They put in sweat equity hours during construction. Habitat gives people who are systematically oppressed a real chance to own a home. It gives families and children consistency and stability. &nbsp;</p> <p>It's not perfect &mdash; a Habitat employee once told me that the work they do is like pouring a bucket of water on a burning building. ASB is just a drop in that bucket, but it's a start. I hope in coming years to see an expansion of our ASB programs at Simmons and more diversity in our teams to better reflect Simmons and the communities we serve.</p> <h4>How can students get involved with Alternative Spring Break?</h4> <p>Get involved through the <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Scott/Ross Center</a>!</p> <h4>What's your Simmons moment?</h4> <p>I came to Simmons as a shy first year. I found my voice on ASB and realized my leadership potential &mdash; these experiences have made me who I am today.&nbsp;</p> <p>My Simmons moment was watching others have that same experience. Particularly one of my co-leaders this year. Being a part of someone else's leadership journey and personal growth, especially someone you really care about, is transformative. Seeing our little community come together to help total strangers gives me hope.&nbsp;</p> <p>Every day I spend with these leaders is a lesson in humility. I'm immensely fortunate.</p> <hr> <p><em>Main photo: Abby Willis and Amanda Leone</em></p> <p><em>Second photo: Hannah Hast and Amande Leone</em></p> <p><em>Third photo: Amanda Leone, Alex Itasaka and Hannah Hast</em></p>2017-03-16T00:00:00-04:00{0498AEAC-C8E9-4D4D-930D-4186E7D912C6}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/student%20stories/2017/march/lisa%20naultLisa Nault '17: Community Service Enhances Lives<h4>What's your major at Simmons?</h4> <p>I'm a double major in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=1803A83F1C684899B6CE726722474FC9&amp;_z=z">psychology</a> and <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=3F6F1A7EF22C4EE3B87D80A8641C3CCB&amp;_z=z">communications: media arts</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h4>What made you choose Simmons?</h4> <p>Simmons wasn't on my radar when I first started applying to colleges. When I was accepted I toured to see what Simmons was like and instantly fell in love. It had everything I wanted from a college: small but not too small, a great student-to-teacher ratio and a thriving community atmosphere.&nbsp;</p> <h4>Tell us about your work with <a href="https://www.americalearns.net/" target="_blank">America Learns</a> at Mendell Elementary.</h4> <p>When I was a first year I applied for a tutoring position for 1st-3rd graders through the <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Scott/Ross Center</a>. The children were incredible &mdash;&nbsp;so much personality and charm. Even on days where they struggled, I could see how hard they were trying and it was inspiring. After a year of being a tutor, I was promoted to student facilitator. Towards the end of that semester, the director of the Mendell program told me that she was leaving and suddenly I became the director. I learned leadership skills that will be applicable in any career setting.</p> <p>Applying to the America Learns program is one of the best decisions I've made at Simmons.</p> <h4>What's your favorite part of your work with America Learns?</h4> <p>The children! They are so smart and I know they're going to do great things. I love it when they solve a problem they've been stuck on for a while.</p> <h4>What are some lessons you've learned from community service?</h4> <p>I've learned what true dedication looks like: in my students, my peers and myself. I've seen children continue to work hard on their homework even when they want to hide under a table. I've seen peers remain patient and calm in difficult situations even when they're stressed.</p> <h4>Why is community service so important?</h4> <p>In a world where there are so many atrocities it's important that people still come together to help one another. The efforts can be small or large but either way the community benefits as a whole.&nbsp;</p> <p>Community service gives people a chance to enhance the lives of others as well as their own.</p>2017-03-09T00:00:00-05:00{EC930DC9-8741-4C7C-8D72-07E0BDAC6192}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/leadership%20and%20change/2017/january/volunteers%20learn%20to%20mentor%20young%20girls%20at%20scfg%20trainingVolunteers Learn to Mentor Young Girls at SCFG Training<style> </style> <p>Forty-five new Mentor Scientists and Junior Mentors gathered at Simmons College for the <a href="http://www.scienceclubforgirls.org/">Science Club for Girls</a> (SCFG) annual spring volunteer training, Jan. 28. </p> <p>SCFG&rsquo;s volunteers are primarily women working and studying in the STEM fields, with a passion for making the world of science accessible and exciting for the next generation of women. </p> <p>&ldquo;We are honored to support SCFG,&rdquo; says Director of <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Community Engagement</a> Diane Hammer, &ldquo;an organization making sure the next generation of women have the skills and tools to explore the mysteries of our world.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Cambridge-based nonprofit strives to foster STEM literacy and confidence in girls, grades K-12, by providing hands-on, experiential, free after-school programs in underrepresented communities.</p> <p><em>(Photo credit: Diane Hammer)</em></p>2017-02-03T00:00:00-05:00{840BF479-6F1D-4F7B-9C3C-D187EE2892FA}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/student%20stories/2017/january/alyssa%20wadlinAlyssa Wadlin '17 Empowers Women and Girls<h4>What's your major at Simmons?</h4> <p>I&rsquo;m a double major in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=CD310DF535F54269B29AD861C6743ECA&amp;_z=z">sociology</a> and <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=05229EB401D243DCBBA2BC9DAFBC158B&amp;_z=z">political science</a>.</p> <h4>What made you make the move to attend Simmons?</h4> <p>I chose Simmons because of its <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=B46AC58A696B45BAA6731DFAF4ECE4B5&amp;_z=z">mission</a>&nbsp;to link students&rsquo; passion with purpose. My high school principal is a Simmons alumna and she was a highly influential figure in my life. I knew that I wanted to be part of a community of people like her, who empowered one another and encouraged success.</p> <h4>Tell us about your work with Strong Women, Strong Girls.&nbsp;</h4> I&rsquo;ve been a mentor with <a href="http://swsg.org/" target="_blank">Strong Women, Strong Girls</a>&nbsp;(SWSG) for four years and a chapter director for three years. During my time as chapter director I&rsquo;ve had the opportunity to grow as a leader. I've supported planning for four field trips for over 100 girls to come to Simmons, multiple bake sales and campus fundraisers, social media outreach, chapter bonding and more elements of SWSG that have all served as invaluable learning experiences for me. <h4>What are some lessons you've learned from community service?</h4> <p>It's not a one way street. I don&rsquo;t describe my work with SWSG as me helping the girls I mentor or giving something to them. The girls that I mentor don&rsquo;t have any deficiency that I'm looking to fill.&nbsp;</p> <p>Community service is about standing in strength and solidarity with one another and growing together. The girls that I mentor have taught me important lessons that will stick with me &mdash; and the relationships that we've built have been mutually beneficial.</p> <h4>What's your favorite part of your work with Strong Women, Strong Girls?</h4> <p>The bonds built over time. I've spent the past three years mentoring at the same elementary school in Jamaica Plain and there are many girls that I've mentored for all three of those years. The bonds I've created with those girls, and all of the new girls each year, are something I'm truly grateful for. I&rsquo;ve gotten to know their educational and career aspirations, their strengths and their personalities. Each girl is unique and I appreciate the opportunity to get to know and learn from them each year. </p> <h4>Why are organizations like Strong Women, Strong Girls so important?</h4> <p>Organizations like SWSG that work with girls are influential in combatting gender inequality from an early age. Research shows that girls' self-esteem peaks for life at age 9. SWSG works to empower girls to imagine a broader future through a curriculum grounded on female role models. By providing girls with role models that they can relate to and using a strengths-based approach, girls are encouraged to believe in themselves and their goals.</p> <h4>What's your Simmons moment?</h4> <p>My Simmons moment is always the Fall Connections Carnival. Each year, we receive nearly 75 applications to join Strong Women, Strong Girls and our table at the Connections Carnival is always buzzing with excited students. It represents the dedication that Simmons students have to empowering future generations of girls and working to create a more equitable society. In reviewing applications and interviewing new mentors, I get to know the stories of so many Simmons students in a way that focuses on the reasons why they are strong. It reflects the strength of Simmons students and the mission of Simmons to use our passion and purpose to do good. </p>2017-01-13T00:00:00-05:00{E56EE0FD-E5BD-4E11-B0D9-5B19B2F599A8}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/alumnae%20i%20and%20friends/2016/november/michelle%20geoffroyMaking a Difference with Michelle Geoffroy '11<h4>Was your major at Simmons and what's your current job title?</h4> <p> I majored in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=779E6F3D5F1A44D19515FD9F0E7D86A8&amp;_z=z">English</a> literature and minored in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=F51197C6682C4215A43FB20810172446&amp;_z=z">leadership</a>. I'm the Agency Training Coordinator at <a href="https://www.foodbankwma.org/" target="_blank">The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts</a>.</p> <h4> What is a typical day like at your job?</h4> <p> One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that every day is different. I plan several workshops for our member agencies &mdash; the food pantries and meal sites we distribute food to &mdash; across our service area each quarter. These can be anything from best-practice sharing discussions on how to run a client-choice pantry, to formal trainings on grant-writing and volunteer recruitment. Geographically our service area is quite large, so I do a lot of driving, but I don't usually mind, it's just so pretty to drive around out here!</p> I also do a lot of advocacy work on state-level policy related to food insecurity, so I get to spend a lot of time calling and emailing and meeting with our state legislators to ask for their support for our priorities. I'm a former legislative staffer, so I'm very comfortable with this kind of work, and it's actually really fun! It's very fast-paced and exciting, and I feel like the work that I do really makes a difference in the lives of the people that we serve.<br /> <h4> What was the job application process like for you?</h4> <p> My first job I kind of stumbled upon by chance, my college internship supervisor told me that she knew of a staff opening in a State Senate office, so I applied. When the offer came it was kind of a surprise, given my level of experience, but I think a confident interview, a strong writing sample on a topic of interest to the Senator and a good recommendation from my internship supervisor helped a lot. I had that job for three years, and it gave me the knowledge and experience to do the advocacy work I so enjoy in my current position. My former boss and co-workers are still good friends.</p> <p>My second job search was harder. I moved to Western Massachusetts with no job lined up and no connections, but I knew I wanted to work in the non-profit sector, so I networked my heart out both before and after my move. I scoured <a href="http://www.idealist.org/">Idealist</a>, researched organizations, volunteered &mdash; and after being intermittently employed through a temp agency for about a year, I finally landed a position as an Americorps VISTA at The Food Bank. When my VISTA term ended, they hired me for a permanent position, and let me tell you, after a year of poverty-level wages, when I got my first paycheck, I cried.</p> <h4> What is your favorite part of your job?</h4> <p> All of it! There is literally no part of my job that I do not enjoy. I love the people I get to work with, the impact of my advocacy work and getting to know our member agencies and see how different programs operate. I even love learning the technical stuff about agency contracts and compliance and how to use our internal database. I feel very lucky to have found a position that I find engaging and challenging in a field that I'm passionate about.</p> <h4> How did you know the organization was a good fit for you?</h4> <p>When I moved to Western Mass., The Food Bank was on my shortlist of target organizations and I started volunteering there on a regular basis. When I got the interview for my VISTA position, I remember being asked if I understood that this would mean a year of poverty-level wages and whether I was ready to commit to that. I told my interviewer that I was "pretty sure" this was what I wanted. Then I looked her in the eye and corrected myself. "Let me rephrase," I said. "This is what I want."</p> <h4> How did Simmons help prepare you for your career?</h4> <p> The critical thinking skills I learned as an English major were a big help, especially when applied to social justice issues like poverty and food insecurity &mdash; and Simmons definitely made me more aware of those issues. In terms of job searching, my Humanities 370 class was a huge help. It was basically a whole class on writing your resume and cover letter and practicing interview skills. We did informational interviews, a skill that came in handy when I moved to Western Mass. and was trying to get the "lay of the land" regarding the non-profit sector. There was also my food pantry internship, another part of Humanities 370, which led me to discover my passion for food security, and thus, my current career. </p> <h4> Tell us about your experience with the <a href="http://www.gsema.org/" target="_blank">Girl Scouts</a>.&nbsp;</h4> <p>It was actually a Girl Scouts conference, held at Simmons, that led me to Simmons in the first place. I knew right away that Simmons was right for me.</p> <p>Girl Scouts was my introduction to service. Through the projects my troop did for our community and the values I learned as a Girl Scout &mdash;&nbsp;being honest and fair, friendly and helpful, kind and respectful, and making the world a better place &mdash; have stuck with me my whole life. I think my experience at Simmons reinforced those values, because that's what Simmons women do, right? That's part of what being a Simmons woman is about.</p> <p> Both Girl Scouts and Simmons helped give me the sense of confidence and empowerment that I now have as a young professional. My entire career has been in government and non-profits and I cannot conceive of any professional path that doesn&rsquo;t consist chiefly of a life of service to others. And I have both Girl Scouts and Simmons to thank for that. </p> <p> </p> <h4>What's your Simmons moment?</h4> <p> Walking across the stage at my graduation. The sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing how hard I worked to get there, feeling the support from my family and being surrounded &nbsp;by so many incredible women. The future stretched out before us, all that possibility, and knowing that we would all go on to do such incredible things... that's my Simmons moment.</p>2016-11-21T00:00:00-05:00{97DEAF6E-C7B7-4F3D-A754-3A02A99E51B5}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/community%20involvement/2016/november/get%20involved6 Ways to Get Involved<h5>MASSACHUSETTS WOMEN'S POLITICAL CAUCUS&nbsp;</h5> <p><a href="https://www.mwpc.org/get/volunteer.php" target="_blank">The Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus</a> is a non-partisan organization founded to maximize the participation of women of all ages in the political process and to increase the number of women appointed and elected to public office and public policy positions.&nbsp;</p> <h5>COMMUNITY CHANGE, INC.</h5> <p><a href="http://www.bigsister.org/become-a-big-sister/apply-today" target="_blank"></a></p> <a href="http://www.communitychangeinc.org/support-us/" target="_blank">Community Change, Inc.</a> (CCI)&nbsp;was born out of the Civil Rights Movement and in response to the Kerner Commission which named racism as "a white problem." CCI has done what few organizations are willing to do: shine a spotlight on the roots of racism in white culture with the intention of dealing with racism at its source, as well as with its impact on communities of color. <h5>BOSTON AREA RAPE CRISIS CENTER</h5> <p><a href="http://www.barcc.org/active/awareness/" target="_blank">The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center</a> (BARCC) is committed to ending sexual violence through healing and social change. Sexual violence may be all too common, but it is preventable. An individual or group of people working together can change the world &mdash; one person at a time, one organization at a time, one religious institution at a time, one community at a time, one law at a time.</p> <h5>STRONG WOMEN, STRONG GIRLS</h5> <p>Through <a href="http://swsg.org/adult-volunteer/" target="_blank">Strong Women, Strong Girls</a>, committed college women, trained as mentors, utilize a research-based curriculum that incorporates the study of contemporary and historic female role models, skill building activities and strong relationships with mentors and peers.</p> <h5>GLAD</h5> <p>Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, <a href="http://www.glad.org/help/volunteer-events" target="_blank">GLBTQ Legal Advocates &amp; Defenders</a> (GLAD) works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.</p> <h5>MASS NOW</h5> <p><a href="http://www.massnow.org/get-involved" target="_blank">Mass NOW</a> advances intersectional justice for people who identify as women and girls in the Commonwealth. Their six priority issues are ending violence against women, racial justice, reproductive rights and health, economic equality and labor rights, LGBTQ equality and civil and constitutional rights.&nbsp;Through legislative, educational and political work, Mass NOW works to create change in many different ways, on many different levels.</p> <h5>MASSACHUSETTS IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE ADVOCACY COALITION</h5> <p><a href="https://www.miracoalition.org/get-involved" target="_blank">The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition</a> is the largest organization in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees. They serve the Commonwealth's one million foreign-born residents with policy analysis and advocacy, institutional organizing, training and leadership development, strategic communications, citizenship assistance and AmeriCorps initiatives that provide capacity-building for community-based organizations. </p>2016-11-18T00:00:00-05:00{C169DBBE-6094-488E-85DF-68AC5D5FCA8C}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/leadership%20and%20change/2016/november/aspire%20roundtableASPIRE Roundtable Inspires Community Building<p>On Saturday Nov. 5, <a href="http://www.girlsaspire.org/index.html">Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence</a> (ASPIRE) held a roundtable discussion, &ldquo;What's the Importance of a Community of Asian American Women Leaders?,&rdquo;&nbsp;attended by approximately 40 high school, college, and professional women.</p> <p>During the Community Engagement-hosted roundtable, attendees discussed best practices in mentorship and the importance of building and nurturing a supportive community for Asian American women leaders.</p> <p>&ldquo;I know how important it is to build and empower Asian American women within the community,&rdquo; said <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=BCAAB4CAA015462E9E4A5684CFCCF313&amp;_z=z">Angela Huang</a>, president of the Asian Students Association at Simmons, during her welcome speech. &ldquo;This roundtable [is] a wonderful opportunity for us to network with other like-minded individuals.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Community Engagement</a> Director Diane Hammer believes events such as the ASPIRE roundtable are critical to developing and sustaining supportive communities. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an opportunity to encourage each other to be change agents and take on leadership roles,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;and if you&rsquo;re going to get up and use your voice, it&rsquo;s important to know there&rsquo;s a community that&rsquo;s got your back.&rdquo;</p>2016-11-08T00:00:00-05:00{E312259A-E16F-446A-AB21-BE003DA68CEE}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/leadership%20and%20change/2016/september/mentors%20learn%20to%20share%20enthusiasm%20for%20science%20with%20young%20girlsMentors Learn to Share Enthusiasm for Science with Young Girls<p>For more than 10 years, Simmons College has partnered with <a href="http://scienceclubforgirls.org/">Science Club for Girls</a> (SCFG) in support of their mission to foster excitement, confidence, and literacy in STEM for girls. </p> <p>This past Sunday, Simmons <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Community Engagement</a> welcomed more than 70 women to campus on Sunday for <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=7C77AE64E21F4DD391757CBAEB47F2A0&amp;_z=z">another</a> SCFG Volunteer Training. </p> <p>Attendees participated in workshops focused on the inquiry method of teaching, supporting girls using the &ldquo;nurtured heart approach,&rdquo; and reflecting on <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=23BDB3EDDEED46DEA7746EA9DCC37C39&amp;_z=z">diversity and inclusion</a>. This unique training teaches volunteers how to mentor, teach, and share their enthusiasm for science with K-12 girls.</p> <p><a href="~/link.aspx?_id=6CE1760258E34827B04A22ECDFE6BB1C&amp;_z=z">Kimberlee Hixon &rsquo;17</a>, a student in the biochemistry program, kicked off the Sept. 18 event speaking about her experience and the encouragement she&rsquo;s received at Simmons. She affirmed the work of the volunteers by reminding them, &ldquo;We are all here for the same purpose: to share knowledge, be good role models, and provide examples of mentorship and leadership.&rdquo;</p> <p>Co-founded in 1994 by Mary McGowan &rsquo;75LS, SCFG works with girls to open their eyes to the world of science by bringing them together with women who have a passion to teach and inspire girls in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=90099AF2A5AC467FA9E1CBC3FD2D865C&amp;_z=z">STEM</a> fields.</p> <p>&ldquo;Science Club for Girls is an important partner for Simmons,&rdquo; says Director of Community Engagement Diane Hammer, &ldquo;we are proud to work with an organization with <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=B46AC58A696B45BAA6731DFAF4ECE4B5&amp;_z=z">core values</a> so aligned with our own.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><em>(Top: Kimberlee Hixon '17 speaks at SCFG training. Photo credit: Diane Hammer)</em></p>2016-09-20T00:00:00-04:00{DEE9DD1E-6CE5-4958-B20A-B4BF6EB5A8EF}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/leadership%20and%20change/2016/september/nbws%20summit%20positions%20emerging%20women%20of%20color%20for%20success%20and%20leadershipNBWS Summit Positions Emerging Women of Color for Success and Leadership<p>On Saturday, the <a href="http://www.nbwsinc.org/">National Black Women&rsquo;s Society</a> (NBWS) held its 5<sup>th</sup> annual Next Generation Women of Color Summit, hosted by Simmons College <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Community Engagement</a>. This is the third year Simmons has hosted the Summit.</p> <p>The Summit is a day for women and girls of color who are today&rsquo;s and tomorrow&rsquo;s leaders to be inspired and impacted in their personal and professional lives.</p> <p>Approximately 70 attendees were welcomed to the Sept. 17 event by Assistant Director for Service Learning Shauna Rigaud, who spoke of her history in sisterhood and mentorship. Riguad&rsquo;s welcoming remarks highlighted the importance of &ldquo;bringing women of color together to form relationships to feed their passions, build their careers, and support their growth&rdquo; and the critical role sisterhood and mentorship plays in local communities. </p> <p>The day-long event featured an inspirational address from Councilor Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman elected to Boston City Council; a fireside chat with Vice President of News for Interactive One <a href="http://www.jamilahlemieux.com/">Jamilah Lemieux</a>, an outspoken advocate for women and girls of color considered by many to be the voice for millennial black women; and a discussion with Simmons Social Work Professor <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=16074906C9B74C509C6183E0D9E06EA0&amp;_z=z">Gary Bailey</a> and former Massachusetts senator Dianne Wilkerson.</p> <p>The Summit also included workshops on health, finance, and positioning oneself for success and leadership. <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=2DE41A0D6A6B48C093F78217ED1B3030&amp;_z=z">Alicia Canady Adamson &rsquo;03</a>, NBWS founder, encouraged participants &ldquo;to walk in their truth and purpose.&rdquo;</p> <p>The NBWS was founded in 2005 to empower girls and emerging women of color to seek leadership roles in the city of Boston. Now the organization seeks to improve leadership opportunities for women of color around the country.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>(Top: Jamilah Lemieux speaks at NBWS Summit. Photo credit: Diane Hammer)</em><br> <br> </p>2016-09-20T00:00:00-04:00{CB201C3D-61C6-4DBC-BC51-3E66745E65BD}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/campus%20life/2016/september/daly%20field%20opensDaly Field Opens<p>This weekend, after five years of planning and construction, we celebrated the grand opening of <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=E91F2A1EB85940E88A4A1F0F4A9894F2&amp;_z=z">Daly Field</a> &mdash;&nbsp;the&nbsp;new home of the Simmons <a href="http://athletics.simmons.edu/sports/fh/index" target="_blank">field hockey</a>, <a href="http://athletics.simmons.edu/sports/wlax/index" target="_blank">lacrosse</a>, <a href="http://athletics.simmons.edu/sports/wsoc/index" target="_blank">soccer</a>, <a href="http://athletics.simmons.edu/sports/sball/index" target="_blank">softball</a> and <a href="http://athletics.simmons.edu/sports/wten/index" target="_blank">tennis</a> teams.&nbsp;</p> <p>At Simmons, we're proud of our <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=F709464C97614BF5ABD6C23B3250F0D4&amp;_z=z">commitment</a> to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-heath/for-women-athletes-the-ro_b_11390396.html" target="_blank">leadership development</a> for girls and women, and to community engagement more broadly. Daly Field also serves the diverse athletic and recreational needs of the Allston-Brighton community.&nbsp;</p> <p>On Friday, September 9, Brighton's football team, The Brighton Bengals, hosted their first home game in over <a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/08/31/more-than-years-later-brighton-high-football-returns-its-former-home/QSLKMspGMscL6SEddSo1aN/story.html" target="_blank">25 years</a>. in his welcome, Dan Cuddy, Senior Career Specialist with the Boston Private Industry Council and community activist, explained what this state-of-the-art field means to the Allston-Brighton community.</p> <blockquote> <p>What a historic night for Brighton High and our entire community! For the first time in over 25 years, our football players are hosting a home game, and it feels great.&nbsp;And look at our home field! This is state-of-the-art, the finest in New England!</p> <p>Simmons committed tremendous resources to Daly Field &ndash; including all the necessary funding. Simmons also devoted extraordinary amounts of time, expertise and leadership to make Daly usable again as our home field. We would not be here tonight without Simmons.</p> </blockquote> <p>Before cutting the ribbon at Daly Field on Saturday, September 10, President <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=78AE8F7006AD4533BAC27B910E349D57&amp;_z=z">Helen Drinan</a> shared her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helen-drinan/how-colleges-and-universi_b_11796654.html?" target="_blank">thoughts</a> on the opening of Daly Field:</p> <blockquote> <p>We are so proud of this amazing facility. For those of you who had a chance to see what this site looked like before Simmons College and the <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=BA79D7981D4240C28F8C43298F2C68A8&amp;_z=z">Friends of Daly Field</a>&nbsp;stepped in, you can fully appreciate the magnitude of the transformation.</p> <p>And transformation is an excellent word to use when considering Daly Field. We have transformed a worn out, derelict, neglected field, unfit for play, into what you see today: A modern, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rich-gurney-phd/why-we-need-real-environm_b_10858980.html?" target="_blank">environmentally sound</a>&nbsp;athletics complex that will serve Simmons student-athletes, Brighton High School student-athletes, the Allston-Brighton Little League, the neighborhoods of Boston, Newton, Watertown and the general public for the next 30 years. It is truly a wonderful gift we give to the people of Massachusetts.</p> <p>Daly Field also enables our young women to serve as role models for the young people of Brighton High School. As our student-athletes display skill, teamwork, and leadership, they will inspire other young women to be the best they can be &ndash; on and off the field of play.</p> </blockquote> <h4>Check out the social media interactions from this amazing weekend!</h4>2016-09-12T00:00:00-04:00{003FBBBD-7A6F-4AB0-82F1-6A0F84AB30B1}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/leadership%20and%20change/2016/august/simmons%20hosts%20science%20club%20for%20girls%202016%20young%20leaders%20in%20stem%20summer%20showcaseSimmons Hosts Young Leaders in STEM<p>&ldquo;Poo knew?&rdquo; asked Toluwalpe Moses, Annie Miall, and Hermella Kebede as part of their presentation at the 2016 Young Leaders in STEM Summer Showcase, held on August 11 at Simmons College.</p> <p>Operated by <a href="http://www.scienceclubforgirls.org/">Science Club for Girls</a> and now in its fourth year, the program engages young women from Boston and Cambridge in six weeks of hands-on life and computer science work in MIT laboratories. With the support of both mayor&rsquo;s offices, Simmons College, EMC, and other benefactors, 15 high school-aged women earned weekly stipends for their participation. </p> <p>In addition to learning that the wombat produces square-shaped poop, and that geese poop once every ten minutes, Miall, 16, says &ldquo;We made unbreakable bonds with each other. I really loved the lab experience.&rdquo;</p> <p>Participants learned new subjects each week, and then performed a hands-on experiment at the end of the week. They studied such topics as bacteria in micro-organisms and diverging microbes in relation to moisture in the environment.</p> <p>Lonsdale Koester, Executive Director of Science Club for Girls, the sponsoring organization for the Young Leaders in STEM program, believes the program impacts participants in many important ways.</p> <p>&ldquo;They get an expanded sense of what they can do and what they can be,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;They begin to see how broad the STEM field is&mdash;it&rsquo;s not just goggles and lab coats. This experience instills a curiosity to learn more, and it connects them with mentors to help with that learning.&rdquo;</p> <p>According to Simmons Professor and Chair of Chemistry and Physics, <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=8CDE33BE78904584832B5BED7040ACF3&amp;_z=z">Jenna Roecklein-Canfield</a>, the Young Leaders in STEM program in many ways mirrors the way the sciences are taught on campus. Young Leaders are mentored by MIT graduate students, and then they in turn mentor 5 to 8-year-olds, leading them through scientific experiments. &ldquo;Their &lsquo;Teach Back&rsquo; method is similar to our tiered mentoring philosophy,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;This program completes the tiers at Simmons, ensuring we reach all the way down to the 8th-grade level.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;This program has a consistent track record of success, and their mentorship model resonates with our own mission at Simmons: recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in STEM,&rdquo; Roecklein-Canfield continues, &ldquo;Any program that puts a pipefitter in the hands of young people works.&rdquo; </p> <p>Dina Benayad-Cherif, 20, is living proof of the impact this program can have. Having just returned from Cupertino, Ca. where she completed a hyper-competitive internship at Apple working on the Apple watch, Benayad-Cherif took time out to attend the Young Leaders in STEM Summer Showcase before she returns for her junior year at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. A computer science major, she intends to enter the field of wearables and health technologies after graduation.</p> <p>She says the experience was invaluable. &ldquo;It is an amazing program. I attribute so much of my success to Science Club for Girls.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;We want it to be fun,&rdquo; says Koester, &ldquo;but we also want them to connect with each other. Science is hard, and it can be lonely. We want them to know they are part of a sisterhood.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I learned a lot about speaking up for myself and gained my confidence,&rdquo; says Benayad-Cherif. &ldquo;I met a lot of mentors, who taught me to fight for what I want. These are incredible women who are changing the world.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 13px;">From left: Saadya Raymond, 14; Stephanie Grassi, 14; and Tsion Biruk, 15, present the findings from one of their summer experiments at the 2016 Science Club for Girls Young Leaders in STEM Summer Showcase. Photo credit: Jeremy Solomon.</span></em></p>2016-08-16T00:00:00-04:00{B0223226-49CC-46D6-A94E-E8CA89ACA3AD}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/student%20stories/2016/july/kathleen%20melendy%20and%20allie%20lambStrength & Empowerment: A Chat About Girls' LEAP<h4>What's your major at Simmons?</h4> <p><strong>Kathleen</strong>: I'm majoring in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=271B24AF00324A29BD5F5C1F579F405E&amp;_z=z">women's and gender studies</a> and minoring in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=F51197C6682C4215A43FB20810172446&amp;_z=z">principled leadership</a>.</p> <p><strong>Allie</strong>:&nbsp;I'm in the <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=482F1AC2DB744215BA7FC85FE4E7DA95&amp;_z=z">3+3 Exercise Science and Doctorate of Physical Therapy</a>&nbsp;program.</p> <h4> What made you choose your major?</h4> <p><strong>K</strong>: Women's and gender studies is so interdisciplinary &nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;pulling in <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=9EDB8FCD9E464179A7B805FA0DBD49E8&amp;_z=z">economics</a>, <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=FE3154C72FF247D986635E539195ACF2&amp;_z=z">history</a>, <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=095354E9A1154576BE06E25132A559FB&amp;_z=z">public health</a>, <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=05229EB401D243DCBBA2BC9DAFBC158B&amp;_z=z">political science</a>&nbsp;and so much more. I'm super passionate about the ways in which structural and institutional misogyny still permeates society. I feel lucky that I frequently get fired up in class. </p> <p><strong>A</strong>: I'm passionate about being active and want to share that with other people. I was drawn to physical therapy after seeing how detrimental injuries could be. I wanted to be able to help people recover.</p> <h4> Tell us about your role with <a href="http://www.girlsleap.org/" target="_blank">Girls' LEAP</a>.</h4> <p><strong>K</strong>: I'm the Recruitment and Reflection Coordinator for the <a href="http://www.girlsleap.org/#!collegewomen/cmrk" target="_blank">Simmons Chapter</a> of Girls&rsquo; LEAP. In our weekly meetings, I lead the social justice-themed curriculum which asks our teachers to think about the identities and privileges they hold that help and hinder their ability to connect with program participants. I'm also in charge of recruiting and interviewing new Teaching Women!</p> <p><strong>A</strong>:&nbsp;I'm the Curriculum and Development Student Coordinator of the Simmons Chapter. I co-lead the weekly chapter meetings with Kathleen, cover the reflective curriculum we teach in programs and facilitate sessions on learning different skills that help us improve our abilities to teach the girls in programs. I'm also a Teaching Woman, which means that I help to teach our curriculum to girls in the Boston area. </p> <h4> What made you get involved with Girls' LEAP?</h4> <p><strong>K</strong>: If you couldn&rsquo;t tell already, I really love working with women and girls. So when I got to Simmons, I signed up for anything remotely related! I went to the Girls&rsquo; LEAP training and fell in love with the <a href="http://www.girlsleap.org/#!mission/cri7" target="_blank">mission</a> of empowerment. LEAP is truly unique because it combines physical and emotional self-defense while simultaneously fostering intergenerational relationships.</p> <p><strong>A</strong>:&nbsp;I <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=607F5B13332B48F2894DD79A766CE93F&amp;_z=z">transferred</a> to Simmons &mdash;&nbsp;so I attended the Connections Carnival hoping to find an organization to get involved with. I loved the mission of Girls&rsquo; LEAP to empower girls and women and give them the tools they need to keep themselves physically and emotionally safe.</p> <h4> Why are girl serving organizations like Girls' LEAP so important?</h4> <p><strong>K</strong>: We all know about the horrific statistics of gender-based violence. Less tangibly, I think that girls are not taught to value themselves in the same way boys are. At the beginning of each program, participants struggle to raise their voices, say no and hit with power. By the end, we see girls shouting no at the top of their lungs and hitting us with all of their strength.&nbsp; </p> <p>Girls don&rsquo;t believe they're strong because society tells them to shrink their bodies and minds. Girls&rsquo; LEAP &mdash; and many girl-serving organizations &mdash;&nbsp;help participants take up space and empower them to champion their own wellbeing. What could be more important than that? </p> <p><strong>A</strong>:&nbsp;I really just have to second what Kathleen said about this. When I see girls change throughout a program from being timid and afraid to standing up for themselves and being confident, powerful and ready to fight for their own safety, I know that organizations like Girls&rsquo; LEAP are necessary and meaningful. </p> <h4>What's your Simmons Moment?</h4> <p><strong>K</strong>: The&nbsp;annual <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=D2B025B50F8E45208E133C33C608B477&amp;_z=z">Bread and Roses</a> event put on by the <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=B46D314C84234540833C8C2E693DCDE6&amp;_z=z">Women's and Gender Studies Department</a>. It commemorates the 1912 women-led textile strikes in Lawrence, MA. I was so lucky to be asked to participate this year to present on Girls&rsquo; LEAP!</p> <p>This moment captured so many things that I love &ndash; the Women's and Gender Studies Department, my friends/family and sharing LEAP. I got to talk about why Girls&rsquo; LEAP is so important and why everyone else should love it just as much as I do. The passion in the room was truly inspiring and I felt reaffirmed that this is what I am supposed to be doing. </p> <p><strong>A</strong>:&nbsp;I participated in&nbsp;Simmons World Challenge my second year. The topic was centered around violence&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;an issue we talk about a lot at Girls&rsquo; LEAP. It was inspiring to see a group of people from all different majors and backgrounds working together to create ideas that addressed very different facets of violence. It was through this experience that I knew I was at a school where I was surrounded by students who want to make a difference.</p> <p><em>From left: Kathleen Melendy and Allison Lamb</em></p>2016-07-07T00:00:00-04:00{F2086064-CF68-4B37-9ACA-A0A2F48A12FD}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/leadership%20and%20change/2016/june/simmons%20honored%20by%20girl%20scouts%20of%20eastern%20massachusettsSimmons Honored by Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts<p>The <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change</a> (SILC) has been awarded the 2016 Keystone Partnership Award by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (GSEM). In notifying SILC of the award, GSEM&rsquo;s Chief Program Officer Melanie Wills-Tavares wrote of SILC Director <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Diane Hammer</a>, &ldquo;Your dedication and generous support of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts through Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change has provided girls with countless opportunities to learn, grow, and strengthen their leadership skills.&rdquo;</p> <p>SILC has collaborated with GSEM for more than 25 years, hosting the annual Girl Scout Leadership Conference, &ldquo;Lead Your Way.&rdquo; SILC has also played a key role in jointly conducting a research project with GSEM and five other girl-serving organizations, &ldquo;Dreaming Big: What&rsquo;s Gender Got to Do With It?&rdquo; The project culminated in a conference, which engaged 150 participants representing schools, funders, political leaders, and other girl-serving organizations. The subsequent release of the research findings report, titled <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=D0A6956933164310B8031ED6E15E4A93&amp;_z=z">&ldquo;Dreaming Big: Making the Case for Girls,&rdquo;</a> highlighted the importance of girl-focused youth-serving organizations sharing research findings and fostering conversation.</p> <p>SILC has forged a strong partnership with the <a href="http://www.gsema.org/">Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts</a>, enriching both organizations in the process. The Keystone Partnership Award confirms that Simmons College, through SILC, has truly impacted GSEM and its participants for more than 25 years.</p> <p>Congratulations!</p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 13px;">(From left: Lynn Saunders Cutter, Board Member, GSEM; Diane Hammer, Director, Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change; Patricia A. Parcellin, Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. Photo credit: Randy H. Goodman.)</span></em></p>2016-06-16T00:00:00-04:00{42E4C4EE-4FA0-43E1-9CC9-D3A6D58DD034}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/community%20involvement/2016/may/scott%20ross%20center%20honors%20boston%20health%20care%20for%20homelessScott/Ross Center Honors Boston Health Care for the Homeless as Outstanding Community Partner<p>Several staff members of the <a href="https://www.bhchp.org/">Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program</a> (BHCHP) gathered at Simmons on Tuesday May 10th to receive the coveted 2016 Outstanding Community Partner Award at the <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Scott/Ross Center for Community Service</a> Recognition Celebration.</p> <p>Since 1985, the organization has helped thousands of Boston&rsquo;s most vulnerable citizens get access to the highest quality health care available. BHCHP partners with more than 40 medical and community-based organizations in the city to live out their mission.</p> <p>The partnership between Simmons and BHCHP has flourished over the years. Though the Simmons annual Hats for the Homeless donation drive, Simmons faculty and staff bring more than 100 hats, gloves, and warm mittens to people being served by BHCHP. In addition, Simmons students volunteer in their hand-to-hand program, providing hand massages and stress relief techniques and activities.</p> <p>Also honored at the Recognition Celebration were:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Jennifer McKee Distinguished Student Award</strong><br> Aimee Correia <br> M Fowler</p> <p><strong>Judith Botelho Commitment Award&nbsp;<br> </strong>Sylvia Catania Desira&eacute; Simmons&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Leadership in Service-Learning Award&nbsp;<br> </strong>Deanna Cardona<br> Tenbit Mitku<br> Mary O&rsquo;Rourke<br> Theresa Reinhard</p> </blockquote>2016-05-18T00:00:00-04:00{9D73BFB3-9136-4526-9A04-A007C0ABB836}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/community%20involvement/2016/april/global%20service%20weekGlobal Service Week: 3 Reasons to Volunteer<p>At Simmons, we're all about community service. Many of our community members already volunteer &mdash;&nbsp;through our <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">student-led community service programs</a>, service-learning courses, <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=E8856E5356B74C9CBA760BBD97E352BE&amp;_z=z">student organizations</a>, <a href="http://athletics.simmons.edu/landing/index" target="_blank">athletics teams</a> and individual commitments. </p> <p>Maybe you haven&rsquo;t had the opportunity to participate in volunteering opportunities yet. Here are a few reasons to keep doing what you&rsquo;re doing &mdash;&nbsp;or add more volunteering to your life!</p> <h5>1. COMBINING SKILLS AND PASSION</h5> <p>Use your leadership, communications, problem solving, research and teamwork skills to address community needs and social justice issues that you're passionate about.&nbsp;</p> <h5>2. SPENDING TIME WITH FRIENDS AND MEET NEW PEOPLE</h5> <p>Volunteering is a great way to hang out with friends &mdash;&nbsp;and it&rsquo;s also an avenue to network and meet new people. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h5>3. STAYING HAPPY AND HEALTHY</h5> <p>There&rsquo;s a strong connection between volunteering and mental/emotional health: doing good helps us to stress less which is an important component to staying healthy.</p> <p>Learn more about the <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">Scott/Ross Center</a> and&nbsp;<a href="~/media/9D17E2F8004B4334A8CC23646B1E4380.ashx">Global Service Week</a>.<br> <br> </p> <h4></h4>2016-04-13T00:00:00-04:00{F5F50CEB-3EBB-4F53-8D6E-8239B431C06B}http://www.simmons.edu/en/news/leadership%20and%20change/2016/february/simmons%20college%20debuts%20on%20peace%20corps%20top%20volunteer%20producing%20collegesSimmons Debuts on Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges<p>Today, the Peace Corps announced that Simmons ranked No. 8 among small schools on the agency&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.peacecorps.gov/media/forpress/press/2626/" target="_blank">2016 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list</a>. There are 11 Simmons alumnae/i currently volunteering worldwide.&nbsp;</p> <p>At Simmons, service is a <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=92D2D33E7F1445B69880745FE4FC9173&amp;_z=z">College-wide commitment</a>. In her Huffington Post Blog: <em><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helen-drinan/amid-the-worlds-violence-_b_5461333.html" target="_blank">Amid the World's Violence, Hope for Women and Girls</a>,&nbsp;</em>President <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=78AE8F7006AD4533BAC27B910E349D57&amp;_z=z">Helen Drinan</a> shared her personal experience with community service:</p> <blockquote>In 1970, I was deeply moved by President John F. Kennedy's call for community service, and my husband and I joined the Peace Corps family program and spent three years in the Republic of the Philippines. Talking with the women of the WPSP project during our 2014 program, I was reminded of some of the important lessons I learned in the Peace Corps: the need for cultural understanding, the importance of treating every person with dignity and respect, and the recognition that leadership is a privilege, not an entitlement.</blockquote> <p>Alumnae/i from more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide have served in the Peace Corps since the agency&rsquo;s founding in 1961, including 143 Simmons College alumnae/i.</p>2016-02-18T00:00:00-05:00