Anderson Resident Earns Simpson University Degree

REDDING, Calif.—Anderson resident Shawn Greene, 27, wants to make a difference in people’s lives.

As a step toward that goal, he enrolled in Simpson University’s School of Adult Studies ASPIRE program to complete his bachelor’s degree. In April, he was among 130 students who graduated from the university, including 30 from ASPIRE, a degree-completion program that allows busy adults to finish their degree online or during evening classes in 12 to 16 months.

“I would like to go into the field of mental health and substance abuse to make a difference in someone’s life,” Greene said. “I have been around that throughout my life, and a psychology degree offered the classes that could help me gain knowledge in that line of work.”

Greene attended Shasta College for two years after high school and earned an associate’s degree in social sciences while also playing baseball. He was preparing to transfer to Simpson but decided instead to focus on work. He did not give up on the goal of a bachelor’s degree, however, and started in ASPIRE in summer 2018.

“The ASPIRE program is set up so that you can still live your everyday life—working, taking care of kids—and still get your education in a timely manner,” he said. “I have an 18-month-old child that I care for every day. ASPIRE made it possible for me to care for my child and still go to school.”

In addition to psychology, ASPIRE also offers programs in liberal studies, business management, and psychology. The psychology and organizational leadership programs can also be done online.

As part of the ASPIRE coursework, students take two classes that explore the Bible and world religions. “Before coming to Simpson, I wasn’t very familiar with faith,” Greene said, “but the program helped me gain knowledge and guide me into doing the next right thing.”

He said he found the program very rewarding and has already recommended it to others.

“The classes are close-knit, and it was great to get courses finished in a short amount of time,” Greene said. “Getting this degree elsewhere could take multiple years.”

As the next step in his goal to help others, Greene plans to pursue a master’s degree in sports psychology or become a licensed clinical social worker.

Learn more about the ASPIRE degree-completion program at simpsonu.edu/aspire.

###

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 simpsonu.edu. Follow university news at simpsonunews.com.

Red Bluff Resident Earns Simpson University Degree

REDDING, Calif.—In her early 40s, Jessica Evans-Field decided to return to school for two reasons: to qualify for better jobs, and to set a good example to her children.

“I wanted them to be proud of me and work hard to be what they wanted to be,” said the Red Bluff mother of two. “I also wanted to work my way up and have better opportunities.”

Jessica started at Shasta College, taking general education and business administration classes and earning credits that helped her gain admittance into Simpson University’s School of Adult Studies ASPIRE program. She continued at both schools through her graduation in April from Simpson with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. She graduated with highest honors, in the top 20 percent of her class.

“This whole program was very rewarding, and I feel like I gained so much in the 16 months I was there,” she said. “I am very proud and honored to be a part of Simpson University.”

Jessica works in the medical records field and learned about the ASPIRE program from a coworker who was in the program.

“She is a full-time mother of two small children, and I figured if she could do it, I could, too,” Jessica said. “I really liked that it offered a fully online option – it gave me a chance to make my own schedule and work around my busy life.”

Simpson University’s School of Adult Studies offers 12- to 16-monthlong degree-completion programs in liberal studies, business management, organizational leadership, and psychology. The psychology and organizational leadership programs can also be done online.

“I had to travel out of state a few times during my studies, to see a grandchild born and to see my son graduate from boot camp,” Jessica said. “The great thing was all I had to do was take a laptop with me and find reliable internet and learn how to pair a laptop to my phone.”

Jessica said the support of family, friends and professors was key to her success. She found her classes immediately relevant and helpful to her job.

“So much of what I learned I could apply to my current work life, and I was able to write about real-life situations for classes,” she said. “I also noticed, along with my colleagues, how much growth I obtained. I had many ‘ah ha’ moments while reading and learning in each course.”

Learn more at simpsonu.edu/aspire.

###

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 simpsonu.edu. Follow university news at simpsonunews.com.

Weaverville Resident Earns Simpson University Degree

REDDING, Calif.—Returning to school was not on Cassandra Telles’s radar as she raised two children on her own and worked full time. But when a friend told her about the ASPIRE degree-completion program at Simpson University, she decided to give it a try.

Telles, a Weaverville resident, graduated April 27 from Simpson University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She was one of about 130 graduates, including 30 from ASPIRE, which offers evening and online classes for adults to finish their degree in 12 to 16 months.

“I did not think that obtaining my degree was possible, let alone with distinction,” she said. “However, I found the ASPIRE program to be everything recommended to me and more. This is a decision I will never regret making.”

Telles, 50, had an associate’s degree from Shasta College and worked for the Trinity County Office of Education when she decided to return to college.

“Being a single parent and working full time made it difficult to do traditional brick-and-mortar classes,” she said, noting a commute from Weaverville to Redding would also have been challenging. “Having always had an interest in psychology, I found that Simpson’s online courses would allow me to pursue my education in this field.”

Even with the flexibility of online classes, Telles was faced with challenges during her time in the program. Her father was diagnosed with cancer.

“This heartbreaking news became a significant personal struggle,” she said. “I needed to be more than just a suffering daughter and bridge the gap for my children and their grandfather. I knew my children were watching their mother handle the situations that life was dealing us.”

The attention of ASPIRE faculty and staff was key in her success, Telles said. “Many of the professors went out of their way to make sure I not only completed the tasks but had an understanding of the curriculum,” she said. “What makes the ASPIRE program so unique is the attentiveness of all involved — everyone showed a genuine desire to graduate students with full knowledge in their chosen fields of study.”

Telles said she is already using skills she learned in her studies, both in her professional and personal lives.

“I plan on using my degree to advance my position in employment and then to continue my education,” she said.

Simpson University’s School of Adult Studies offers degrees in liberal studies, business management, organizational leadership, and psychology. The psychology and organizational leadership programs can also be done online. Learn more at simpsonu.edu/aspire.

###

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 simpsonu.edu. Follow university news at simpsonunews.com.

Simpson University Student Portrays Jesus in Brazil Passion Play

REDDING, Calif.—When Simpson University student Antonio Junior travels home for Easter break, his world changes.

The tall, unassuming 33-year-old gets recognized everywhere he goes. His face is on posters and signs throughout his city. He gets asked to pose for pictures with people in the mall and at the market.

Antonio, a Bible and theology major, and his wife, Bruna, are from São José dos Campos, in southeast Brazil. They moved to the U.S. in 2017, and Antonio started attending Simpson in 2018.

As other students head home or on mission trips for spring break, he and his wife fly back to Brazil. There, Antonio enters into an intense few days of rehearsals to play the part of Jesus in their church’s Easter production.

This is no ordinary Passion Play. The Auto de Pascoa, started 14 years ago by Igreja da Cidade (City Church), attracts nearly 50,000 viewers over eight performances. It takes 2,000 people and $200,000 to put it together each year. The production includes singers, dancers and actors.

elevelivre_BwU9XtkBc3t copy

“Every year I went and watched the play,” Antonio said. “It never came to my mind that I would ever be part of it.”

He returned in April for his third time in the production. He shares the role with the actor who has played the part of Jesus since the program’s inception. They each take four performances over the course of a week, playing to audiences of up to 6,000 each.

“Every year I talk to God and ask, what do you want me to show this crowd?” Antonio said. “I’m not an actor; I’m here to be used by you.”

The play results in hundreds of attendees raising their hands when asked at the end if they would like to accept Christ into their lives, Antonio said.

It’s an immensely humbling experience for a man who left Brazil’s third largest city in 2012 to start a new, quieter life with his wife.

58543510_2274015869352161_719473061497143296_nWith day jobs in electrical engineering and speech therapy, Antonio and Bruna became involved in a large nondenominational church in their new town, first attending small groups, then becoming small group leaders, serving in evangelism ministry, and then becoming church planters in 2014.

“In 2016 we have been working as volunteers on weekends planting churches, and working hard during the week,” Antonio said. “We were wanting something different. We have a heart for missions and evangelism and started thinking about learning English to be (better) able to go to the nations.”

Through prayerful conversations, Antonio and Bruna decided to sell their apartment and car, leave their jobs, and move to Redding to attend Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry.

“Life was going well, comfortable, quiet, normal,” he said, and smiled. “And then the Lord comes and messes up everything.”

Shortly before the couple left Brazil—as they were working on visas and a long to-do list—their pastor approached Antonio about playing Jesus in the Easter production. Antonio had amateur acting experience through early church evangelism ministries in schools and orphanages in his 20s. But nothing of this magnitude.

“I just start shaking,” he said. “My thought is, it’s a huge job for a little guy. I think my pastor’s lost his mind. I need to make it clear I’m not the right person to play Jesus.”

But as he met with the director and others, he realized he could not say no to such an opportunity.

“It is a chance to show the people a Jesus that they don’t know,” Antonio said. “You read about Jesus, the guy who touches people and died and was raised again. But when the words come out of the Bible and walk around on a stage, this touches people deeply.”

icsjcampos_BwVuLYSlITb

His portrayal of Jesus is an active, passionate one, he said. “I laugh, and I jump and cry and touch people.” The other actor plays the role in a more graceful, deliberate fashion, he said.

“I think Jesus was both – graceful and passionate,” he said.

After a year at BSSM, Antonio and Bruna received encouragement about staying in Redding to attend Simpson University, but with a 4-to-1 exchange rate in favor of the U.S. dollar, it was unaffordable. Simpson’s admissions counselors worked with him, and Antonio was given four scholarships and a job on campus in global impact leadership.

“It’s really a miracle,” said Antonio, who is considering shifting his major to business with a minor in Bible and theology.

Antonio’s faith and humility are evident in how he views the responsibility of playing Jesus before thousands of people each spring.

“I prayed before my test (for the role) in 2017 – I don’t want to be the guy looking for fame,” he said. “Every year I ask the Holy Spirit to protect my heart.”

Even before he stepped into the role, Antonio said he tried to “be Jesus” on a daily basis, by listening to and helping others and by being a good husband.

“When the Easter holiday finishes, I come back to my normal life, I keep being kind, keep being Jesus to people here. This is the thing that is most important – touching people day by day. That is my goal,” he said.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

###

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 simpsonu.edu. Follow university news at simpsonunews.com.