2017 W&M Graduation Series: Susanna Simmons

Susanna 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: Newport News, Va.

Major: Psychology

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

It is my goal to take the educational foundation I have been given at William & Mary and continue to graduate school. My career aspiration is to develop a more effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. It is my dream to be able to return to our veterans and military members a piece of the normalcy that they lost while serving our country.

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

I plan to continue to graduate school in clinical psychology and eventually dedicate my life to research.

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

William & Mary taught me confidence. I have learned to embrace my weaknesses, allow my amazing peers to help me, to give back, and help others in every way I can. I have learned to be gracious. I have learned to explore, and always ask questions. I have learned to take pride in everything I do. Above all, I think the most important thing I learned here is how to be humble. It is not me against the world, but us fighting for a better world in our own unique ways. I am confident that I was gifted an education that stands up among the best. I am, we are, and always will be one Tribe and one family.

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.)

I will always be a part of the Tribe. The tradition of family, and unity is something that I will always love. We are all part of something amazing, and I can never fully express the gratitude I feel for all of the amazing people who gifted the Tribe to me. I loved getting to work in the labs with my professors on actual research, and the opportunities they gave me to grow. Dr. Joanna Schug, in particular, was always available to listen and provide guidance both personally and academically. I will miss working in her lab.

How did scholarships impact your William & Mary experience?

As a non-traditional student, scholarships made William & Mary a possibility. I could never afford to attend an institution like this one and honestly never even dreamed this would be a reality for me. To this day, I still cant believe that I am part of the Tribe.

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

I am a first-generation college student who is a divorced single parent of three. The trajectory of my life was a low socioeconomic status, and dreams that would never be fulfilled. It is because someone believed in me and my value that I can say, without question, that my life is forever changed. I was given a second chance at being someone, and that is afforded to so few. I plan to dedicate my life to giving back in every way I can. I no longer fear the future because I know that I can be, and will be, successful because of the Tribe. There is no way that this would have been possible on my own. I could never repay the value of a second chance, but I can give back to our community to make this country better for all of us. Thank you for believing in me.

Note to donors

It is because of you that I can be everything I dreamed of being. You changed my life. You gave me a chance to be more than my circumstances would have allowed. You have shared with me a gift that is valuable beyond measure. You are amazing and you are the good in the world.Your kindness is a catalyst that has triggered a ripple which extends far beyond the Tribe. I promise to spend my life helping everyone I can so that our ripple will help as many as possible. Thank you.