Simpson University for Seniors Makes Plans for Spring Classes

REDDING, Calif.—Simpson University for Seniors is gearing up for spring classes on a variety of topics, including the ancient Mediterranean, Christian faith in American history, aviation history in the U.S., and the Protestant Reformation.

Two on-campus courses are scheduled each month in March and April, subject to Shasta County COVID-19 restrictions.

Simpson University for Seniors, in its 11th year, is designed for adults of any age who love learning. The hourlong classes meet three days a week and are taught by university professors or professionals in their field of expertise. There is no required homework for these non-credit courses.

If Shasta County’s case rate and/or positivity rate are still in the purple tier on Feb. 15, the March classes will be cancelled, due to restrictions on in-person learning. If either number is still in the purple tier on March 22, the April classes will be cancelled.

The following courses are scheduled to start March 1, meeting Monday, Wednesday and Friday:

10:20-11:20 a.m. – The Ancient Mediterranean: Myth and Empire This course explores the origins of western civilizations in the cradle of the Mediterranean. It looks at the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia all the way up to the Roman Empire. It also explores some of the myths that shaped these Empires, like Gilgamesh, the Odyssey, and Romulus and Remus. Presenter: Dr. Timothy Orr 

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – “Here I Stand!”—The Protestant Reformation An overview of the spiritual reformation that swept Europe in the 16th century. Emphasis will be placed on the triggering conditions, the rapid development, and the worldwide impact of the powerful movement that was based on the teachings of men such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrich Zwingli, Thomas Cranmer and John Knox.  Presenter: Don Claspill 

To express interest in a course or receive more information and notification about class status, email gschaefer@simpsonu.edu.

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Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding in 1989 and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 20 traditional undergraduate programs, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. The university has a highly ranked Veterans Success Center and partnership with the Army National Guard. Simpson has launched new programs in digital mediacomputer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team ranked No. 1 in California and No. 52 in the nation. Simpson University contributes an estimated $50 million annually to Redding’s economy. It offers aggressive scholarships and is working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu

Simpson University Alumna Leads STEM-Focused Femineers Chapter in North State

REDDING, Calif.—Simpson University alumna Rochelle Barajas loves the moment when she sees young women in her classroom work through an engineering challenge, whether it’s programming a robot or adding lighting elements to clothing and accessories.

“The biggest joy I have as a Femineer teacher is watching that ‘ah-ha’ moment on the faces of young ladies,” she said. “It’s the joy of figuring something out, building something from scratch and making it work, and helping a fellow Femineer with a problem.”

Barajas, who graduated from Simpson University’s School of Education in 1999 with a Master of Arts in Education, has taught at Red Bluff High School – her alma mater – since 2000. She is department chair for the Industrial Arts Department and has taught electronics, computer repair, and is developing the school’s computer science program.

In 2018 she also trained and secured a grant to start a chapter of the Femineers at Red Bluff High School. Started by Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Engineering in 2013, the Femineer program is designed to encourage more girls to pursue education and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

More than 90 schools across the country (mostly in California) participate in the program, which provides K-12 students with creative, hands-on, project-based learning; female mentors in the engineering field; and opportunities to visit Cal Poly Pomona. The Red Bluff chapter is the northernmost program in California.

Barajas learned of the program when she attended computer science training at San Diego State University, where she saw a presentation on the Femineer program. It captured her interest; and two years later, at another STEM conference, she attended a session on the Femineers and began corresponding with the presenter.

She was invited to attend Femineer instructor training in summer 2018 and at the same time applied for a grant to start the program in Red Bluff. The grant paid for all the tools, programmable boards and other items needed to start a Femineer chapter.

Last year 24 girls participated in the Red Bluff program, completing a curriculum on Creative Robotics and starting one on Wearable Technology. Though the pandemic has slowed efforts to recruit and meet regularly this year, participants are still meeting when they can, Barajas said. The third Femineer course is Pi Robotics, for which Barajas received training in fall 2019.

The Red Bluff High School Femineers have worked with the Tehama County Department of Education to help with STEM camps during the summer and hosted small STEM workshops during the school year. In addition, the Femineers have presented to after-school programs in the North State and are working with Reeds Creek Elementary School and Berrendos Middle School, both in Red Bluff, on after-school activities to extend the Femineer program.

In March 2020, the Red Bluff Femineers presented at an AAUW Women in STEM conference for middle school girls held at Simpson University. They showed participants how to program a microcontroller to make lights come on in different sequences. While there, Barajas met university President Norman Hall and learned about Simpson’s new STEM programs in engineering and computer information systems.

Barajas said she selected Simpson University for her graduate studies for several reasons. Simpson’s School of Education offers a program that combines work on the master’s degree with work on the preliminary teaching credential (or preliminary administrative services credential), and she wanted to obtain both.

In addition, she liked the flexibility and convenient schedule. “They offered classes at night and weeklong classes during the summer,” she said. “This made it possible for me to go back to college and still work full time.”

After graduating from high school in 1988, Barajas earned an associate’s degree in electronic engineering from ITT Technical Institute in the Sacramento area and a bachelor’s in automated manufacturing and robotics from ITT in Portland, Ore. She then worked for Sun Electric, focusing on diagnostic equipment used in the automotive industry, before deciding to pursue teaching.

Barajas said her education at Simpson University was personalized and practical.

“Simpson University provided me with fantastic professors and a class setting that made me want to learn,” she said. “Each professor brought their own professional experiences to the classroom, and faculty walked me through the entire path of my education and made calls to open doors for job interviews for me. I was never a number or dollar sign to any of my professors.”

Faculty modeled compassion, respect, and showing love to others, she said. “I believe they wanted to teach as Jesus taught,” she said. “That philosophy was passed to me. There is power in knowing that your teaching is praying with you and for you.”

Barajas said she is excited to see her graduate-school alma mater expanding in STEM-related programs and hopes to develop a partnership between Simpson University and the Femineer program in Red Bluff.

“I come from a STEM education and career, so I try to encourage all my female students to pursue STEM careers,” she said, admitting there are still obstacles for women in a traditionally male-dominated field, and much hard work is required.

“I share my experiences with them and seek to be a role model,” she said. “It is hard work, but the reward is so worth it. The opportunities for women in the STEM industry are incredible.”

Click the links to learn more about Simpson University’s programs in biology, computer information systems, engineering, kinesiology, and mathematics

Learn more about the Femineer program here.

Photos and slides courtesy Rochelle Barajas

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Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding in 1989 and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 20 traditional undergraduate programs, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. The university has a highly ranked Veterans Success Center and partnership with the Army National Guard. Simpson has launched new programs in digital mediacomputer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team ranked No. 1 in California and No. 52 in the nation. Simpson University contributes an estimated $50 million annually to Redding’s economy. It offers aggressive scholarships and is working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu

Simpson University Launches Spring Semester with Day of Learning

REDDING, Calif.—Welcoming students back to campus after winter break, Simpson University launched spring semester with a common day of learning in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Guest speakers joined morning classes via Zoom to discuss topics related to racism, hope, and how Dr. King’s dream and legacy can be applied today. An evening panel discussion was also held online.

“We are all aware that Dr. King’s legacy is carried forward through each of us, and as a Christian educational community we are called to reveal, release and restore unity and peace over our nation,” members of the Simpson University Diversity Committee shared via email. “So what does this look like for the citizens of Redding? What does this look like for Simpson students? What does that look like for each one of us?”

Speakers included Dr. Lea Tate, clinical psychologist for Veterans Affairs and associate administrator for Patient’s Hospital; Larry Olmstead, president and CEO of United Way of Northern California; and Michelle McIver, former Department of Homeland Security executive and founder of The Hope Mantle. University board member and alumnus Dave Richey spoke in an evening class, and other university staff members joined Olmstead and McIver for the evening panel.

Evening panelists responded to questions about what the day represents to them; how they think Dr. King would respond to current events; what progress they have seen in Redding or at Simpson University toward Dr. King’s dream; and what steps can be taken by individuals to get closer to that dream.

On Jan. 20, President Norman Hall addressed students during the first chapel of the semester, held via Zoom. He thanked the Diversity Committee for its work on the day of learning, which was themed “Releasing Hope.”

“You called us to examine ourselves and our thoughts and live into the dream of Martin Luther King,” he said. “Simpson University certainly stands for that dream.”

Simpson University welcomed students back to campus Jan. 16-17. As was done in the fall, all students were required to provide a recent negative COVID-19 test result in order to gain access to campus. All students will be tested again the first week and then on a monthly basis. Safety protocols, including mask wearing, physical distancing, hand-sanitizing stations and plexiglass shields, remain in place.

Dr. Hall and José Palos, director of spiritual formation, talked during chapel about hope and the good things taking place on campus.

“There is enormous momentum at Simpson University,” Dr. Hall said, noting that academic programs are running strong; and athletics, which were largely postponed during the fall, have begun competition in basketball, wrestling, and swimming, with rigorous testing requirements in place.

Other accomplishments include:

  • Recent Simpson University nursing graduates are helping at Mercy Medical Center in Redding this winter, enabling the hospital to better serve the community during the pandemic. The Betty M. Dean School of Nursing remains the seventh-highest ranked nursing school in California.
  • The bass fishing team, ranked No. 1 in California, was named the Western Conference School of the Year.
  • The board has approved a $15 million capital campaign for Simpson’s centennial this year, with funds to go toward a new academic building, student scholarships, and an events center that will also benefit the North State.

Dr. Hall’s message focused on the pursuit of hope and shalom in daily life.  He talked about “microprogressions” – finding ways to unexpectedly bless people and giving them freedom to “live into the best version of themselves.”

“We have that available to us every day, every moment, through Christ,” he said. “What could more authentically represent the hands and feet of Christ in motion?”

He challenged the university community to continued service, worship and scripture reading together. “I’m calling us to be a community of prayer,” he said.

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Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding in 1989 and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 20 traditional undergraduate programs, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. The university has a highly ranked Veterans Success Center and partnership with the Army National Guard. Simpson has launched new programs in digital mediacomputer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team ranked No. 1 in California and No. 52 in the nation. Simpson University contributes an estimated $50 million annually to Redding’s economy. It offers aggressive scholarships and is working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu

Simpson University Nursing Students Help at Local Hospital During Pandemic

REDDING, Calif.—Simpson University nursing students are partnering with a local hospital to help provide additional patient care during the pandemic, while also gaining valuable clinical experience.

Five graduate students and one nursing student from the Betty M. Dean School of Nursing were selected for the short-term program at Mercy Medical Center in Redding. The program is designed to offer additional patient care training for nursing students, where they are able to experience a variety of clinical settings, including surgical, oncology, and telemetry. Students will not be providing direct care to COVID-positive patients but will enhance Mercy’s COVID-19 response to serve medical needs in the community.

All the Simpson University graduate students who applied to this program received scholarships from Mercy. Shasta College nursing students are also being offered the same opportunity via the Rural California Nursing Program.

“Students are excited for the opportunity to be considered for the scholarship and to help Mercy Medical Center and the community at large,” said Misty Smith, dean of Simpson University’s School of Nursing. “This experience will provide them with wonderful learning opportunities.”

This program was already in place at Simpson University. Mercy reached out to partner with the school to offer a winter program option for their graduating students, since COVID-19 had disrupted training for the students earlier last spring.

“We are exceptionally proud of all the students who have shown determination and perseverance to practice nursing during this pandemic,” said Allison McHugh, Chief Nursing Executive Officer at Mercy Medical Center Redding. “Despite the challenges ahead, our future nurses are rising up – answering the call to meet the patient care needs of our community.”

The Betty M. Dean School of Nursing operates two cohorts each year, capping each at 27 students. Students must meet rigorous entrance requirements to get accepted into the baccalaureate program, which is nationally accredited. Before graduating, students must complete more than 800 hands-on clinical hours in various healthcare facilities throughout the community. The university partners with more than a dozen North State facilities in this capacity, including Mercy.

The fall 2020 cohort of nursing students from the Betty M. Dean School of Nursing at Simpson University. The school operates two cohorts each year. // Simpson University file photo

This is not the first time Simpson nursing students have been able to help locally in connection with the pandemic. During the early days of the crisis, students volunteered at Shasta County Public Health to answer phone calls flooding the department from concerned residents. This effort was highlighted by national radio station K-LOVE.

The Betty M. Dean School of Nursing, which is ranked No. 7 among California nursing schools, recently received a 10-year renewal of its national accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. It is also accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.

Simpson University has graduated more than 200 four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students since the program launched in 2011. In addition, more than 175 students have graduated from the university’s RN-BSN program.

Learn more at simpsonu.edu/nursing.

Photos courtesy Mercy Medical Center Redding

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Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding in 1989 and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 20 traditional undergraduate programs, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. The university has a highly ranked Veterans Success Center and partnership with the Army National Guard. Simpson has launched new programs in digital mediacomputer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team ranked No. 1 in California and No. 52 in the nation. Simpson University contributes an estimated $50 million annually to Redding’s economy. It offers aggressive scholarships and is working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu

Redding Community Mourns Loss of Simpson University Alum, Homeless Advocate

REDDING, Calif.—The Redding community and Simpson University are mourning the loss of an alumnus known for his dedicated service to people experiencing homelessness.

Bill Hartman, who graduated with a bachelor of arts in organizational leadership from the School of Adult Studies degree-completion program in 2018, served as guest services manager at the Good News Rescue Mission in Redding. He was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 on Dec. 18 and passed away on Dec. 23. He was 57.

Friends and family started a Facebook page requesting prayer for Bill when he became ill, with hundreds of comments shared by those who knew and loved him.

“This man had a very humble ministry, helping others,” wrote Tim Crow. “What’s unique about this is that he taught many to help themselves. When the gospel is preached, often we think of a sermon behind a pulpit … some preach through the steps they take and the hearts they touch.”

Tim talked about receiving a hug from Bill the last time he had seen him. “Bill saw me at my worst as well as my best, and both times treated me with respect and Christian love,” he said. “For a child of God, this rock we live on is only but a part of our journey. Bill knew that and lived that daily.”

TV station KRCR shared stories about Bill on-air and online, saying he had “a massive impact on our local community and a huge impact on those who are unhoused.”

Family member Tammy Fuller shared with KRCR: “His words were important, but the example of how much he loved God and was fighting for their recovery. … It’s a huge loss.”

Bill’s own struggles with addiction and recovery helped motivate him to help others, family and friends said. In a video tribute posted on Facebook and shared during chapel at the mission, Bill talked about what the rescue mission meant to him.

“This is the vehicle that God used to save my life,” he said. “When I came in, I was literally walking in circles, talking out loud, hearing voices. … God led me here – I didn’t even know the place existed. Once I walked on the property I felt so much weight released from me.”

As Bill worked through the mission’s recovery program, he felt a pull to get involved. “It came upon me that I wanted to be part of the mission for the rest of my life, whether it was to be a volunteer or employee, or through my old age retire here,” he said. “Since that time I’ve come to know and love the guests. I feel God has me here because I’ve been through a lot of the stuff they have and can relate to them.”

Flanked by his sons Josh, left, and Zack, right, Bill Hartman of Redding graduated from Simpson University’s degree-completion program in 2018. // Photo from Facebook

Bill completed his college degree at Simpson University, where others remembered his authenticity, kindness, humor and practicality as he sought to learn additional skills to help in his work.

“He was genuinely open and excited in his approach to his education, gleaning any information he could that would help him be a better mentor and leader to those he served at the mission,” said Ericka Jones, an instructor in the degree-completion program. “He was incredibly passionate about being in recovery and willing to speak into others’ lives in a way that brought so much richness in class.”

Jonathan Anderson, a Simpson University alumnus and executive director of the Good News Rescue Mission, said Bill’s loss hit the mission hard. “It’s devastating and words cannot express the sorrow and grief we feel,” he wrote on Facebook. “We are family here at the mission, and when we lose a member of our family, we feel it deep in our souls. … I’m grateful that one day, I’ll see Bill again in heaven.”

Bill leaves behind two sons and grandchildren. Plans for a memorial service are on hold due to the pandemic.

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Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding in 1989 and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 20 traditional undergraduate programs, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. The university has a highly ranked Veterans Success Center and partnership with the Army National Guard. Simpson has launched new programs in digital mediacomputer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team ranked No. 1 in California and No. 52 in the nation. Simpson University contributes an estimated $50 million annually to Redding’s economy. It offers aggressive scholarships and is working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu

Simpson University Senior Uses Training to Help COVID Patients

REDDING, Calif.–Arianna Kampton, a senior from Napa, Calif., is using what she’s learned during her time as a student in Simpson University’s Betty M. Dean School of Nursing to help people during the COVID-19 crisis.

Last summer, Arianna spent two months working as an emergency medical technician in Orange County at a makeshift hospital, spending 13-15 hours a day with COVID-19 patients. She also served on strike teams that went to nursing homes throughout California that had been impacted by coronavirus cases.

“The education I have been receiving through Simpson helped me become a leader who was able to recognize when a patient was declining and get them rapid help that often saved lives,” she said. “The amount of help I have been able to give to those who need it is at a level I never could’ve imagined a few years ago.”

Arianna, who is also a professional firefighter, was called away from her COVID-19 mission to help fight the LNU Lightning Complex fires, North Complex Fire, and Glass Fire, which raged through Northern California.

“My medical experience was utilized almost daily with both civilians and firefighters alike,” she said.

She spent her Christmas break serving on another COVID-19 mission.

Arianna’s hard work and dedication to helping others has not gone unnoticed. She is a two-time recipient of The George “Lory” Bennetts Nursing Scholarship through Simpson University.

“I am so incredibly thankful for this scholarship opportunity,” she said. “Knowing that I have someone out there investing in my future was a huge driving force to maintaining my grades and ultimately passing another semester in the nursing program.”

After graduating from the Betty M. Dean School of Nursing and obtaining her nursing license, Arianna’s career goals include working in the ER and becoming a flight nurse.

Learn more about Simpson University’s nursing program at simpsonu.edu/nursing. Learn about scholarship giving opportunities by emailing giving@simpsonu.edu.

-Article by Elise Wilson / Photos courtesy Arianna Kampton

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Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding in 1989 and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 20 traditional undergraduate programs, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. The university has a highly ranked Veterans Success Center and partnership with the Army National Guard. Simpson has launched new programs in digital mediacomputer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team ranked No. 1 in California and No. 52 in the nation. Simpson University contributes an estimated $50 million annually to Redding’s economy. It offers aggressive scholarships and is working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu