REDDING, Calif.—Weed resident Eva Escatel-Pimentel knew she needed to complete her bachelor’s degree in order to be more competitive in the job market.
Simpson University’s School of Adult Studies ASPIRE program offered her a way to accomplish that goal in just a year.
Eva was one of about 130 students who graduated from Simpson University on April 27, including 30 from ASPIRE. ASPIRE, which offers evening and online classes, allows busy adults to complete a bachelor’s degree in 12 to 16 months.
Eva majored in liberal studies, one of four majors offered in ASPIRE. The others are business management, organizational leadership, and psychology. The psychology and organizational leadership programs can also be done online.
“ASPIRE allows you to quickly and efficiently complete your degree and work or take care of your family during the day,” Eva said. “All of the instructors and advisers are helpful and understand the needs of a non-traditional college student.”
Eva attended College of the Siskiyous in Weed after high school and earned an associate’s degree in natural science. She took some time off and began working for the U.S. Postal Service—a job she continued throughout her time in the ASPIRE program.
Managing the demands of home life, work and school was challenging, she said. “Making the drive home from Redding late at night and having to work the next day was hard, but it was worth it in the end,” Eva said.
The most rewarding part of the program, she said, “was being able to learn in a classroom filled with like-minded students in similar stages of life. Even though our class was diverse, I knew that we were all serious about our education and eager to participate.”
ASPIRE’s structure of completing a course every five weeks was also rewarding, Eva noted. “It makes you feel accomplished and like you are progressing quickly.”
As part of the ASPIRE coursework, students take two classes that explore the Bible and world religions. “I learned about the Christian faith from a more academic perspective,” Eva said. “I really enjoyed this aspect of the ASPIRE program and learned a lot.”
Eva chose the liberal studies major to give herself the option of pursuing a teaching credential. “I am hoping to find a more stable and fulfilling career now that I have earned a B.A.,” she said.
Learn more about Simpson University’s School of Adult Studies at simpsonu.edu/aspire.
Simpson University, founded in 1921, moved to Redding almost 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 12-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is recognized by Colleges of Distinction.
Simpson is launching new athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements, and it is offering new scholarships.