Kelly Simmons is a Sociology major. She initially wanted to be a nurse but personal challenges including the struggle to adjust to college life during her first semester at Fresno State changed her path. Simmons says it was a Sociology class she took for general education that ultimately changed her life.

“It was Fall 2016, and our country was being transformed by the election, Standing Rock, police brutality, and gun violence,” Simmons said.  “In the class, we talked about topical issues like domestic violence, sexual assault, and the criminal justice system and how they relate to intersections like race, class, and gender.  It was like nothing I had ever learned and I was curious to know more about how social factors affect us.”  

Simmons shared her academic experience at Fresno State in a Q&A

What is your career goal? 

I hope to work in an EOP advising program either at a high school or community college. As a sociology student, I know there are so many students who need academic and social support as a result of factors beyond their control.  I want to be there to provide cultural capital for students who need it the most.  I realized this is what I wanted to do after experiencing my own trouble adjusting to college as a young freshman.

What do you think about the College of Social Sciences (COSS) and our professors?

I absolutely love COSS.  The Sociology faculty are especially helpful, kind, socially conscious, inspiring, and driven. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the privilege of taking classes with every Sociology professor, but I’ve loved every class I have taken.  

Did you experience any challenges as a student?

As a freshman, I had trouble connecting to the campus and finding friends.  This changed after I attended the Emerging Leaders Retreat and connected with others who also wanted to get involved and find community on campus.  

What is your most memorable experience at Fresno State?

Screenshot_20200410-231756_InstagramMy most memorable experience at Fresno State was advising students at Dog Days and realizing that I have the capability to truly help students.  It was amazing to recognize that I had become the help that I needed as a freshman.

How do you feel about being recognized as an outstanding student?

I am so honored and grateful to be recognized as an outstanding student.  It is so nice to look at how far I have come, not just as a graduating college student, but through the lens of my education as a whole.

How has COSS prepared you for the future?

COSS prepared me for my future by shaping me into a more compassionate, empathetic, and socially-aware human being.  Learning about the social sciences, and specifically Sociology, has made me think more critically about social issues.  This has transformed me into a better person and has helped prepare me for graduate school.

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?

In ten years, I hope to be an educational counselor serving either high school or community college students in EOP advising programs.  I am thrilled to have been accepted into the Student Affairs and College Counseling Master’s Program at Fresno State.  I hope this further prepares me to be an effective and caring resource for students.  As a Sociology major, I know that there are so many students who need academic and social support.  Specifically, I have learned that first generation college students face greater challenges because college is a new, foreign experience with confusing processes.  I want to be there to provide assistance for students who need it the most.  

What is your advice for other students?

Screenshot_20190528-121839Find what you like and keep exploring what makes you happy!  If you can, adopt a fur baby because studying is much better with a cat or puppy in your lap.  

Simmons would like to thank the Sociology faculty for their guidance, instruction, and dedication to spreading social knowledge. 




“Specifically, I’d love to thank Dr. Helsel for convincing me to become a Sociology major with her hilarious and interesting lectures. Thank you to Dr. Crowell for advising me throughout my honors project, and for making statistics less scary.  Thank you to my best friend and Sociology pal, Angelica.  I would also like to thank Sophie Karas for encouraging me to get involved during the Emerging Leaders Retreat, and later being the best supervisor I could ask for!  Finally, I would like to thank my parents for their constant love and support; I could not have done this without them and I love them so much!”