Redding Counselor Earns Degree Through ASPIRE Program

By Jacelyn Wedman

REDDING, Calif.–Richard Martin, Redding resident, completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology after one year of study in Simpson University’s School of Adult Studies ASPIRE program.

Martin, 49, has worked as a certified alcohol and drug counselor for nine years, and has lived in Redding for five.

ASPIRE is a degree-completion program that allows busy adults to finish their degree online or during evening classes in 12 to 16 months. For Martin, this program checked many boxes, including accessibility.

“Simpson is a Christian university, has night classes that allowed me to work a full-time job, and I was able to get 84 units at community college and complete ASPIRE in 12 months,” he said.

Although Simpson allowed him to get a degree while working full-time, Martin’s education wasn’t a smooth ride.

The program challenged him, compelling him to maintain a high GPA throughout his studies and apply the knowledge gained in ASPIRE to the workplace.

“Juggling full-time work and raising a family takes up a lot of time,” Martin said, mentioning that setting aside class and study time during the weeknights was challenging.

“Time management, dedication, and a positive attitude helped tremendously, as well as the support of family to be understanding,” Martin said. He began the ASPIRE program in spring 2018, and graduated in spring 2019.

As a counselor who is fascinated by the study of human behavior, Martin chose to major in psychology.

“My goal is to become a licensed therapist, and psychology was the right track to give me a well-rounded understanding of human nature and counseling,” Martin said. He hopes to continue counseling those struggling with addiction and mental health issues. He also plans to earn a master’s degree in social work from Chico State University.

Simpson’s ASPIRE program didn’t just give Martin a chance to grow in academic knowledge.

“ASPIRE and Simpson reminded me how God can be part of professional life, even in the mental health field,” Martin said.

“I enjoyed the class interaction, instructors that were able to speak on their faith, and the well-rounded education despite short five-week classes,” Martin said, reflecting on his time in the program.

“It was a positive step in ongoing personal and professional growth,” he said.

Learn more about the ASPIRE program, which offers degrees in organizational leadership, business management, liberal studies, and psychology, at

About the author:
Jacelyn Wedman is a senior English and Communication major at Simpson University. She is the Executive Vice President of Simpson’s student government for the 2019-20 academic year. When she isn’t in meetings or in class, Wedman likes to adventure outdoors, watch “The Office,” and tell stories.


Simpson University, founded in 1921, moved to Redding 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. 8-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is recognized nationally 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.

Learn more about Simpson University at Follow university news at