2017 W&M Graduation Series: Isaiah Simmons

Isaiah Simmons ’17 is one of several William & Mary seniors who will be featured in a scholarships series on our blog, The Gale, leading up to Commencement.

Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va.

Major: Psychology and education policy

What type of impact do you want to make on the world and how do you plan to do it?

I want to give opportunities to students who have never been exposed to them or have been historically denied them in order to make their lives better. I want to do this through education policy and working with districts and states.

What are your plans for the future, or in your career?

I'll be going to the University of Southern California in the fall to get my master’s in public policy and hopefully will go on to work in a school district creating opportunities for students.

What skills have you gained while attending W&M, and/or, how has William & Mary prepared you for the future?

I've learned to appreciate the beauty of nuance and to understand that people see and experience the world differently. I've learned how to become a better communicator, listener and just someone who is present for people. I honestly think taking the time to appreciate the nuances in life and with people, and collaborating based on our commonalities, could alleviate so many issues we currently have. I learned this lesson during my time here.

Looking back, what is the best thing you will take with you from your experience at William & Mary? (A favorite memory or tradition, times with your closest friends, your favorite professors, or life lessons, etc.)

The times I was able to spend investing in my friends, whether it was my residents as an RA, my club basketball teammates, or friends in my Bible study, are all examples of key experiences during my time at William & Mary.

How did scholarships impact your William & Mary experience?

It allowed me to be free to pursue the things I wanted and I didn’t have to worry about having to pay for my college education.

How has a scholarship changed your trajectory in life? Would you have come to W&M without a scholarship?

I would’ve been unable to attend William & Mary without a scholarship, so the opportunity to receive one has allowed me to attend school and devote time to my studies, friends and activities. Without a scholarship my extra time would've been otherwise spent working.

Note to donors:

Thank you all for the work that you do. You are granting opportunities to students who otherwise wouldn't have it and you're investing in the future of our society. I hope you are able to see the fruit of that investment, but even if you don't, please know it makes all the difference.