Entered Simmons: Fall 2007
Graduated: May 2010
Faculty Advisor: Professor Valerie Leiter
Education prior to Simmons: Bethany College in West Virginia, 1973- 1974 and Katherine Gibbs in Boston, 1975-1976
I was able to transfer in 26 credits, and I earned 20 credits through the Credit for Prior Learning program.
What were doing before Simmons? I worked as a secretary for about five years, got married in 1978 and was blessed to be able to work as a stay-at-home mother while I raised my three daughters.
What triggered you to consider Simmons? After almost 30 years of marriage, I got divorced and decided to go back to school to obtain my Masters in Social Work so that I could work in the field of hospice care. I became passionate about end of life care after the death of my own mother in 2005 and had been a hospice volunteer for three years before applying to Simmons. All three of my daughters received their college degrees prior to my starting at Simmons, and they encouraged me to continue my own education.
Why did you choose Simmons? I had heard from one of my daughter's friends that Simmons had a wonderful program for the "non-traditional" learner that provided support for women returning to college. With the encouragement of my daughters, I applied to Simmons and was accepted--I did not apply to any other schools.
What do you remember about the application process? I was scared to death to fill out my application and write my resume--what was I going to put on it? I hadn't worked at a paying job for almost 30 years, but I had raised a family and done a great deal of volunteer work. My daughter and I sat down one snowy February day and, much to my surprise, my resume looked rather impressive when it was complete!
"All three of my daughters received their college degrees prior to my starting at Simmons, and they encouraged me to continue my own education."
"I loved everything about my Simmons experience and found the faculty and younger students to be very supportive and encouraging of Dix Scholars."
What did you fear most about returning to school? Writing a research paper! Turns out I am pretty good at it.
What did you like best about Simmons? I loved everything about my Simmons experience and found the faculty and younger students to be very supportive and encouraging of Dix Scholars.
What was your support system like at Simmons? A wonderful faculty, my advisor, classmates who quickly became friends, and a very helpful library staff!
Tell us about your experience in the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) Seminar: This seminar was an amazing journey, which provided an opportunity to examine the value of my many years as a mother, volunteer and artist. The CPL director Terry Mueller challenged and encouraged me to articulate the college level learning that my life experience provided. I have shared my portfolios with family and friends, and they are something that I truly treasure.
How did you fulfill the experiential learning requirement? I worked as an intern at the Sawtelle Family Hospice House in Reading, Massachusetts, where I have been a volunteer for the past five years.
During this experience, what was your biggest surprise? I love being a student!
Biggest challenge? Learning to navigate websites and do online research. The technology courses at the library were invaluable to me.
Best class? This is a hard question - I really enjoyed all of my sociology classes. I also took several art history classes with Professor Hanni - they were very challenging, but enriched the way I enjoy art.
Most powerful Simmons experience? Working on the No One Leaves Foreclosure Task Force as part of a Social Justice class with Professor Jill Taylor.
Tell us something you completed at Simmons that you are most proud of: My Credit for Prior Learning portfolios
Academic accolades? I graduated magna cum laude!
Were you very involved in the College during your time here? I enjoyed the Dix Scholars events but found that with an internship and community-based learning projects, I did not have time to be involved in college clubs.
What's next? I am currently working towards my Masters of Social Work from the School of Social Work at Simmons. After I receive my MSW, I hope to work as a social worker in the field of hospice care, but I am open to other possibilities as well.
What takeaways from Simmons are you already putting to use? My experience helped me to discover that I am a very strong woman who can face challenges with courage and determination.
How did you celebrate graduating? My daughters gave me a wonderful graduation party and invited all of my family and friends who had been supportive of my journey as a college student!