Asiyah Herrera '25 is a 2023 recipient of an Ifill Scholarship.
Why did you choose Simmons?
I chose Simmons due its proximity to my family. My youngest sister had just been born and I didn’t want to miss out on her growing up. I've had lots of ups and downs while at Simmons, but I am confident in my decision and have met some amazing people here!
What professors have helped you reach your goals?
I have many thanks to both Professor Daren Graves and Assistant Teaching Professor Farooz Rather. Professor Graves has been a family friend for a long time. I took a class with him my first semester of freshman year and I haven’t stopped thinking about the things I learned about the American education system. It literally blew my mind and has encouraged me to do independent research.
Dr. Rather deserves the world of praise. I also took a class with him my first semester of freshman year. I looked forward to going to class because the discussions were rich and always had space for differing perspectives. By the end of the semester I had so much respect for my peers and knew a lot about them as people. Dr. Rather also implemented aspects of history and culture throughout the course. I’ve been so lucky to take more than one class with both of them, and hope to take more before I graduate!
What does the Ifill Scholarship mean to you?
I remember looking at the profiles of previous Ifill scholars and being so awed by their commitment to her legacy while simultaneously blazing new paths. To me the Ifill scholarship is just that: the inception of an amazing legacy and the prospect of a radical future.
How do you hope to connect your passion to a lifelong purpose?
I wear many hats, but all of my roles are about helping and serving others. My passion truly lies in all forms of altruism. My purpose is something ingrained into everything, even the name I carry: "Asiyah" means, “One who tends the weak.” I started the petition for the institution to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. While certainly not easy work, it is beyond rewarding.
In the future I hope to start my own non-profit community organization to help young people get the access to opportunities and knowledge they need not only to succeed but make real change in the world.